FARNHAM Town’s promotion campaign has been left in tatters by the FA’s ruling that this season doesn’t count any more.
As far as the FA is now concerned, all non-league football – apart from the three National League divisions – never took place, and all results have been expunged.
It also means the non-league restructure which was to take place across the south has been delayed by a year.
The decision was a financial disaster for Town, who were well placed to reclaim a place in the Premier Division.
Clubs across the country had already been asked their thoughts on three possible outcomes to the season cut short by coronavirus:
* The season to end immediately and the tables to remain as they are now;
* Calculating an average of poiints gained per game so far this season, and redrawing tables;
* Call the whole thing off and pretend the season never happened.
“We appreciate promotion was not a guarantee for us, but we felt we were well placed to get back into the Premier, which has been our aim all season.
“It’s not difficult to see how the clubs would have voted on those three alternatives. The teams in promotion places, or near the top of the table, would vote for points per game, those at the bottom in danger of relegation would want the season scrapped, and those in the middle of the table with nothing to play for don’t mind either way.
“I felt really numb when I heard the decision. It’s like a kick in the teeth for us.
“This whole season was geared towards finishing in the top four and gaining promotion – it was never about winning the league.
“We have lots going on behind the scenes, with our ground and doing more with schools and the community, and that was all linked with us getting back into the Premier. We’ll still go ahead with the ground improvements – the planning application has already gone in – but it’s as if we have lost a year.
“We’ve had such a good season this year and I know from my time as a player that it’s very difficult, after a successful year, to keep that momentum going for a second successive season.
“But we’ll just see what happens in the summer and go again.
“It’s difficult to plan with so much uncertainty. We don’t know when next season will start, we don’t know if we’ll have time for a pre-season or go straight into it – no-one knows what’s going to happen.
“We hope most of the players will still be with us, but at our level we can never be sure.
“A few years ago, when we won the League Cup, the following season we lost nine players – other clubs saw how many good players we had, and made them offers and signed them.
“We have a team of players who, in their minds, were already looking forward to Premier football next season. We can’t offer that now – but I do know there are Premier clubs who have been looking at our players.
“We feel bad about this – but just think how Jersey Bulls are feeling at the moment.”
Farnham are one of about 100 non-league clubs who have written to the FA asking it to “urgently” reconsider the decision, which has yet to be ratified by the FA Council. Some MPs have also joined the fight.