Just when the Guernsey Football League Management board thought they had another good plan brewing, in swing the English FA with the axe that leaves hundreds of teams and many thousand players and officials up and down the land with their hopes and immediate ambitions up in smoke.
Expunge they could and expunge they did as they sought the most legally tight definition they could find to leave them in the financial clear when the lawsuits come heading their way from ambitious clubs stymied in their pursuit of glory and their business plan.
Locally, no blame should be aimed at the GFLM, the body who run our leagues and cups and have had the season from hell to deal with.
They were still working on a plan to satisfactorily end the 2019-20 season on the field of play when, like the Sword of Damocles, in came the FA decision to end the season below National Leagues.
For the record, GFLM were looking at an option of running back-to-back seasons when football finally got the green light to get going again.
While at least one senior club would happily have the season ended right now and it be declared null and void, most wanted it to be finished on the field.
How they did that when, quite possibly, the sport might not resume until July was problematical, but there was a way around it and one of the best thoughts Inside Track had been made aware of was a suggestion to resume the current campaign in July and during an eight-week conclusion to the 2019-20 campaign play all outstanding matches as well as the inter-insular showdowns and cups, then, after a short break, head straight into a trimmed 2020-21 schedule starting mid September.
Sounded good to me, although two questions came to mind.
How would you satisfactorily split the campaigns when the split will be so short and, secondly, how trimmed should the new one be, bearing in mind that we have to finish promptly in 2021 to allow for pitch preparation ahead of a Guernsey Island Games?
Of course it is irrelevant now, but as the game now goes into an official rest period, all football should take a long, hard look at itself and the way it operates.
If this enforced break has one benefit for sport, is that it offers time and space for all team sports and league organisations to indulge in some serious self-analysis and return stronger, more financially viable and stable.
The latter will surely be a factor for Guernsey FC’s opponents in the Isthmian League and, likewise, Raiders in the RFU pyramid.
From this chair, the view is that the time surely has come for both sports nationally to cut their cloths accordingly and take a step or two back towards more amateur days.
Domestically, football really needs to look at its senior league and cup schedule and, personally, I would not lose a second of sleep in ditching the FA Cup – our current ‘History of Club Football’ series reminds us all what a great competition it originally was, but which now sadly has become mundane and unappetising.
The Stranger Cup could stay as a January-February group competition at the KGV, while either side of that, clubs can concentrate their efforts on a workable 16-match home and away league programme that gets finished on time and leaves groundsmen every opportunity to get pitches in the best order for the Island Games. Some will want it all – all the cups and 24-match league programme – but we’d suggest it is just too much.