The latest episode of Non League Podcast is now available to listen to online or download. Titled “Root of all Evil”, the main talking point is the clubs currently in financial meltdown. Eastwood Town and Bashley feature prominently, while Stockbridge also get a mention as we look at the impact the weather has had on clubs.
Also in the show:
- Relegated in February
- The 53 year old goalscorer
- Team of the Week
- Managerial Merry-go-Round
- Hattrick Watch
- And Finally
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The show: @NonLeaguePod
Episode 24 of the Non League Podcast is available to download now. On it, Kristan Rob , Tom and myself discuss the following:
- Eastwood Town’s ground closure
- Hereford United avoid winding-up petition
- Goole captain attacks fan
- Barnet’s “new” managers
Plus lots more, including regular features Hattrick Watch and Managerial Merry-Go-Round. This week’s And Finally could only feature one story this week; the goalkeeper who went up a tree and came down injured!
You can listen online, or download the audio file from the podcast’s website, or subscribe on iTunes. If you enjoy the show, then please take the time to rate us on the iTunes store, as this will really help the show get noticed. If you have any issues or suggestions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and they can be addressed.
If there are any sound issues this week, then apologies, my internet connection was a bit wobbly!
You can follow the show, along with all the presenters and researcher Libby, via the links below.
Eastwood Town have been plunged deeper into crisis after the local council closed their Coronation Park home. The bailiffs were sent in due to reported debts of £45,000, with Broxtowe Borough Council stating that the club had failed to pay its rent since 2011. The closure of their ground leaves the very existence of the club hanging in the balance, with The Badgers scheduled to host Kidsgrove Athletic this Saturday (January 25th). It looks highly unlikely that the game will now take place.
Eastwood are rock bottom of NPL Division One South, and have been on a downward spiral for a while now, enduring back-to-back relegations already with a third on the cards, assuming they even see this season to a conclusion. The only options now for the club are to either pay the outstanding bills, or to try and arrange an emergency groundshare at three days notice before this weekend’s game. This is something that the league would have to sanction, which in my opinion is very unlikely to happen.
In a statement, the council say that the club owe £45,135 with £26,000 of that being business rates. These debts date back nearly three years which, to be fair to the council, show a willingness on their part to give the club every opportunity to continue operating. It seems they have given Steve Lynch – the club’s owner – more than enough time to sort things out.
This whole mess is completely unforgivable. The fans don’t deserve to see their club humiliated like this. For Steve Lynch to seemingly completely ignore his financial commitments as the club’s owner is arrogant in the extreme. Why does he think he can get away without paying the bills? The fact that the council have been so lenient is testament to their commitment and efforts in trying to keep the town’s football club going, but enough is enough. They have every right to take action against the club, but it is not the fan’s fault. And yet it is always the fans that have to live with the actions of careless owners and chairpeople.
A groundshare for me is out of the question. For a start, why would any club agree to allow one that has not paid its rent for three years play at their stadium? They would – probably rightly – fear that they would never see a penny of the agreed fees for such a co-habitation. And why, for similar reasons, would the league sanction such a move? Unfortunately, I can only see this ending one way for Badgers fans, and that is with their club being expelled from the league. If they fail to fulfil their match with Kidsgrove, then a fine will be imposed (although it probably won’t be paid!), and with four home games scheduled for February, things are not going to get any easier.
We have seen far too many of our nonleague clubs die because of owners and chairmen that just don’t give a damn about running them properly. The list goes on and on.
Unfortunately, I think we could well be seeing the name of Eastwood Town added to that list.
There’s been plenty happening in nonleague football this week, so here’s a look at some of the stories that are making the headlines.
Harrogate Town Deducted Three Points
Conference North side Harrogate Town have been docked three points for fielding not one, but three ineligible players in a match against Oxford City. In what the club has described as “an unfortunate clerical error”, the trio – Shane Killock, Craig MacGillivray and Adam Bolder – had not been registered with the league despite being contracted to the club. All three played in the opening day victory at Oxford City, which they won 2-1. The club have also been fined £300 and the club secretary has resigned. The deduction sees Town drop one place to twelfth in the league table.
Hawkins Quits Badgers
Nick Hawkins has stepped down as manager of Northern Premier League Division One South club Eastwood Town after their 3-1 defeat at home to Loughborough Dynamo. Hawkins had, until last week, been part of a joint management team with Chris Shaw. However, Shaw departed last week to join Heanor Town, leaving Hawkins in sole charge. After two defeats, to Carlton and Loughborough, Hawkins followed his ex-colleague out of the Coronation Park exit, citing a lack of trust in those that run the club as his main reason for departing.
Caskey Joins Heed
Darren Caskey, the ex-Tottenham player, has joined Conference Premier Gateshead as Gary Mills’ assistant. Caskey was assistant to Kevin Wilson at Northern Premier side Ilkeston FC, but has jumped at the chance of moving up to nonleague’s top flight. Caskey was an important player for Ilkeston, helping the club win promotion in their first ever season after reforming, and he is sure to be missed at the New Manor Ground.
Cup Brawlers Kicked Out
Both Sleaford Town and Huntingdon Town have been removed from this season’s FA Cup and fined £150 for the mass brawl which occurred towards the end of their First Round Qualifying tie on September 14th. The tie descended into violence after the Huntingdon manager was alleged to have deliberately blocked the taking of a throw in. He was subsequently pushed by the player he blocked, and this sparked the disturbing scenes, said to involve all twenty two players and members of both management teams.
The tie was abandoned after 87 minutes with Sleaford leading 2-1, a score line which would have put them into the Second Qualifying Round for the first time. As a result of the FA’s decision, AFC Sudbury, who were awaiting one of the teams in the next round, receive a bye.
With a programme curtailed by the FA Cup, there were just five games played in the Conference North. These games did entertain though, with fourteen goals shared between the clubs, and no goalless draws.
Leaders Stalybridge maintained their three point lead at the top of the division with a 2-0 win over Worcester City at Bower Fold. The visitors themselves are currently chasing a playoff place, but two goals from striker Connor Jennings sealed the points for the home side. The young striker now has thirteen goals in the league this season. Second placed side Hyde also won, with a convincing win at Harrogate Town. The result was made all the more striking as all three goals came from defenders. Andrew Pearson, Danny Hall and Gianluca Havern netted the goals that keep up the pressure on the leaders.
Boston United missed the chance to rise into the playoff places as they could only manage a 2-2 draw with Colwyn Bay. Jason Lee put the hosts in front, but it was the visitors who went in ahead at halftime. Two goals from Lee McEvilly in stoppage time at the end of the first period turned the score on it’s head. In fact, it wasn’t until the eighth minute of added time at the end of the game before a thunderous thirty yard effort from Ben Milnes meant the spoils were shared.
In the other two games, Histon recorded a much needed win, beating Workington 2-0 thanks to second half goals from Daniel Sparkes and Dan Holman. The result saw Workington drop to second bottom, as Eastwood Town got themselves a fine 2-1 atVauxhall Motors thanks to goals from Jake Sheridan and Jarrod Westcarr. The home side had led through a McGivern penalty, but that lead lasted just two minutes.
There is another game on Halloween night, as Hinckley United host Solihull Moors. Both sides find themselves in a scary position in the league, and will be hoping to find the ghouls, sorry goals, to climb the table.