Lancaster City boss Mark Fell has called for non-league powers-that-be to make definitive plans for next season

Mark Fell reckons non-league managers will be tearing their hair out as they await news on when football will get the go-ahead to start again.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 8:00 am
Mark Fell

While the Premier League and the Championship are playing the 2019-20 season to a conclusion behind closed doors, every level underneath the top two divisions have had their campaigns cancelled.

For clubs like Lancaster City who play in the NPL Premier Division, the focus now is preparing for the start of next season. However, clubs at semi-professional level are still awaiting for confirmation as to when the new season will start.

The Football League have bandied dates of the end of August or early September as to when football will resume in League One and Two and Fell believes that could be the time when non-league football gets back up and running too.

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However, nothing is set in stone at the moment and the Dolly Blues boss revealed that he has heard a whisper that it could be as late as December before the game gets under way again.

What he does know is that the league have put forward proposals for the FA, and ultimately the Government, to look at. The Northern Premier League have also asked for fans’ views and concerns about watching their team next season.

“I am hearing that many contradictory stories at the moment,” said Fell. “The rumour mill is just ridiculous.

“I know the Northern Premier League have put forward proposals to the FA, who in turn have passed it on to the Government.

“I don’t know what’s actually in the proposals, but I know a taskforce has been set up and they met earlier this week to try to drive forward these proposals

“Apart from that, there is not much else I know. It’s just ridiculously frustrating.

“Obviously what’s happened with the virus has been awful and it has with the number of people who have died. But you look at the pictures from Saturday night – all the people who were out.

“I drove past a couple of pubs, they were absolutely wall-to-wall with people and I was thinking we can do that but we can’t put 250 people, socially distanced, inside a big football stadium like the Giant Axe.

“It just doesn’t make any sense so I think they have let enough happen in the country now to start really driving football forward.”

“It’s a personal view and some people may disagree with me.

“I think we need to get cracking. I think we can stage football safely by taking precautions.

“But at the very least, they need to give us a notional start date for the season.

“We can then organise some friendlies and start doing more than we have been doing in terms of training.

“I am still hopeful that we will start at some point in September, but I got a phone call on Sunday saying that we could be looking at December.

“I am hearing that many different stories at the moment it is hard to know which information is accurate.

“All our plans are in place but they just need to be moved into the right timescales.

“Everything is done and it’s just a case of dropping it into a framework .

“My only fear was that they were going to say we will keep to the original date of August 15 which will have us all scrambling around and won’t give us enough time for pre-season.

“I don’t think that will happen – but it could happen.”