Northern Premier League season was doomed months ago, says Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan

The announcement this week that the Northern Premier League campaign has been curtailed was the worst kept secret as far as Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan is concerned.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 8:00 am
Brig boss Jamie Milligan (photo: Ruth Hornby)

The FA revealed this week that the non-league football season at steps three to six would be declared null and void with immediate effect due to the ongoing consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With clubs in the National League North and South voting to scrap their seasons last week, there was an inevitability that all the

divisions underneath would follow suit.

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But Milligan believes any hope of finishing the season in the NPL Premier Division – the one in which Brig ply their trade – disappeared a long time ago.

The men from Irongate only managed to play nine games in the league and have not kicked a ball in anger since losing 2-1 to Morpeth Town at the beginning of November.

Having not played in almost four months, the Brig boss was at a loss to see how his men could fit in their remaining 33 games over the next few months.

And the possibility of splitting the division up into some kind of mini-season seemed unfeasible to him.

“I am not too sure why it’s taken the authorities so long to decide,” said Milligan.

“Months ago the season was done, wasn’t it? We were never going to be able to catch those games up.

“I heard about the possibility of splitting the division up, but I just could not see how that would have worked.

“I just don’t know why they have taken this long.”

Milligan has already set the wheels in motion in planning for next season, but has wondered how teams can start preparing for a campaign, which under normal circumstances would start in late August.

He would like to see the 2021-22 campaign start earlier and has even broached the possibility of starting in July – even June – depending on the situation surrounding Covid-19 and whether clubs can let fans back in the ground.

He believes an earlier start would mean fewer midweek games which would cause less strain on already stretched clubs and their players.

“The big question is when do we re-start?” said Milligan.

“August seems miles away and I said what about June or July starts. The lads are desperate to get back playing and an earlier start would cut out a lot of the midweek games.”

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