The new season has started (except for some reason in the NPL), and that means a new season of Non League Podcast. There’s plenty to talk about too, and not one but two rants from Rob! #RantyRobo
On the show then this week:
- Vanarama put the Conference back into nonleague
- Save Grassroots e-petition
- Salisbury City debacle rages on
- 3G to be allowed in Conference – apparently
- #hattrickwatch (a bit bare this week. Come on lads start scoring!)
- And Finally (courtesy of @NonLeagueCrowd)
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The first podcast ahead of the new season is now available to download. There is only one news story to cover, as we try and get our heads around the debacle at Salisbury City. I’m not sure we do a great job of it to be honest!
Elsewhere, it’s that time of year; predictions. Myself, Rob and Kristan predict (guess) who will win the titles from Steps 1-4. We shall revisit these ill advised psychic episodes at the end of the season to see who was least useless!
To download this episode or any of the previous forty, or to listen online, simply follow this link to the podcast website.
If you have your own predictions for any of nonleague’s divisions, get in touch and let us know. And if you like the show, please leave a review on iTunes, as it really does help bring the show to the attention of new ears. Or better yet, tell a friend or colleague about us.
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This summer has been one of the messiest I can remember. Clubs folding, reprieves, relegations and transfers between divisions have all meant that the situation has got muddier and muddier, and the kerfuffle surrounding Salisbury City just adds to that.
Everything seemed to be going pretty well down at The Ray Mac. A good young manager in Mikey Harris, and a team that was arguably punching above its weight in the top flight of nonleague football. However, that has all now turned to dust as the club currently face up to an uncertain future. And for once, that uncertain future lies on the pitch. No manager, no players and a transfer embargo all put the very future of the club in jeopardy.
Following last season’s solid twelfth place finish, the supporters have had the rug pulled from under them, as they watch helpless while their club is embroiled in scandal before being demoted and then ultimately thrown out of the Conference structure. And it all boils down to one man; former owner Medy Outail Touzar. The Dubai based business man took over the club in May 2014 along with Mark Winter – one of the consortium that has now taken control of the club after successfully taking legal action to remove Mr Touzar from the board. The club allege that Touzar did not put a single penny into the club since taking over, leading to the legal challenge against him.
The club had come out of administration in December 2013 after five years of financial turmoil which culminated in a double demotion in 2010, but have been under a transfer embargo since April over failure to pay creditors. Reports say that players have not been paid for two months, leading to the Conference board taking action.
Their first demotion occured on June 13th, when The Whites were relegated to Conference South for failing to meet a deadline for clearing outstanding debts. This led to reprieves for Chester FC in the Premier, and Hayes & Yeading United in the South. And remember, Hayes & Yeading were already embroiled in controversy as they were already appealing for a reprieve due to the Worksop Town/Vauxhall Motors scenarios!
Then, on July 4th, it was announced that Salisbury City were to be thrown out of the Conference altogether for again missing a payment deadline. The Conference also announced that the South would carry on a club short, rather than go through the turmoil of reprieving clubs again. The club, though, were severely angered and distressed by the Conference announcement. And rightly so it might turn out.
On their official website, the club released a statement on July 4th, stating that the Conference had gone back on their original promises. The club claim that they were told that if they could pay off the debts (in excess of £91,000) and safeguard the future of the club, then they would be allowed to continue in the South. They had the money ready to transfer to the Conference account, but were told at around 3pm that day not to transfer the funds as they would be non-refundable. The announcement then followed that they were to be turfed out – to all intents and purposes – into no man’s land.
The problem for City now is: where do they play their football? With the decision taken not to reprieve a team in Conference South, that means there is nowhere for Salisbury to go. That to me seems ludicrous. Surely it would be better to try and accomodate them somewhere, even if it did mean a second double demotion in four years?
I do, however, understand that it would be extremely difficult to issue reprieves at this late stage in proceedings. The Conference fixtures are out, clubs up and down the pyramid have set budgets and started building squads accordingly, so to start rearranging now would be unhelpful in the extreme. Considering they turned down Lowestoft Town’s request to shift back to the North – where they were originally placed before everything kicked off – then reprieves were never going to happen.
That then, surely leaves only one solution: allow Salisbury City to take their place in Conference South, and thus returning the division to a full compliment of participants? I know that rules are rules, and that they are implemented to try and ensure clubs are run properly, but it does seem City have been treated harshly. They have already – justly – been demoted one division due to unpaid debts, but they are now under new ownership, and they had the monies ready to meet the Conference’s concerns, so why did the Conference then do such a spectacular u-turn?
Again, as is always the case in such situations, it’s the fans who suffer. Yes, the club have been run shoddily in the past and have endured years of ignominy and uncertainty, but it seems as though they are now on a firmer footing under new owners, and yet still there seems to be people not wishing to see the club move on. If the club are not reinstated into the Conference South, then the club could feasibly go out of business altogether. With no games – and therefore no income – for at least the next year, surely the troubled club can no longer operate. Even if they are reinstated, that doesn’t leave much time to assemble a squad and appoint a new manager. Veteran Football League striker and former Weymouth manager Steve Claridge has been sounded out regarding the managerial vacancy, but this would be a monumental challenge for the TV pundit to take on, with the new season just weeks away and no plans in place as yet.
The Conference have virtually condemned Salisbury to relegation anyway now, as even if they are reinstated, building a competitive squad at such short notice would be nigh on impossible, but it’s better that than the alternative for fans of The Whites.
The latest episode of Non League Podcast is out now.
In Episode 18, myself and Kristan discuss the spot fixing and betting scandals that have hit nonleague football in recent times. Also, regular features hattrick watch and managerial merry-go-round, and a new feature called Team of the Week. Not a best XI, but the team that got the result of the day in our opinion.
Also, FC United’s issues prior to their 2-0 win at AFC Fylde, good news for Salisbury City and Gloucester City, and the goalkeeper who’s turning his talents from the pitch to the squared circle!
As always, a huge thank you to Libby Clark for her research for the running order and hattrick watch. You can follow Libby, Kristan and the podcast on twitter:
Libby – @libsterclarke
Kristan – @kwisstan
Show – @nonleaguepod
Another unhappy night for the team as Salisbury managed to convert the precious few chances they made, the second goal wasn’t even a proper shot but in the end not even Dean Inman’s 3rd goal of the season in stoppage made much of a difference, writes Rob Overfield.
The Beavers started the better and on 18 minutes, Tarpey managed to get through; turning inside and beating two defenders, but Salisbury keeper Puddy was equal to it and tipped it wide. More of the chances were coming the Beavers way; Tarpey had another shot blocked, Simmonds header ballooned over and it just looked a matter of time before they took the lead. Nathan Collier looked to have created a good chance with a mazy run into the box, but when he got there, the ball suddenly developed a mind of its own and got caught under his feet, giving the Salisbury defenders a chance to clear the ball. The first half was drawing to its close when, against the run of play, Salisbury took the lead. Lossasso collected the rebound fromGriffin’s attempt and accurately placed a bobbling shot past the diving Ross into the corner of the net. The frustration in the team was beginning to show and the half time break looked to be much needed but in the last action of the half, Salisbury freakishly doubled the lead. Danny Webb chased a loose cross, catching up close to the by-line, and more in hope than expectation, lobbed the ball back into the goalmouth. It looped high and slothfully into the air, looking like it was going over the bar but it quickly dipped and dropped into the opposite side of the goal, to everyone’s shock and amazement. HT HRBFC 0 Salisbury 2
The second half turned into Beavers dominance; Tarpey had two clear opportunities within 5 minutes of the restart, hitting one shot at Puddy and then only managing to direct a simple header into Puddy’s hand after a neat cross from Reece Jones. Tarpey was the recipient of most of the chances but the touch that had seen him score 24 goals deserted him; put through by Powell, his shot was blocked by Puddy and Reece Jones could do nothing with the rebound. James Simmonds wasn’t to be ignored and with just 20 mins left on the clock, his attempt went wildly over after Darren Powell had created the opening. Time was running out for the Beavers, and Salisbury nearly caught them on the counter with 5 minutes to go but the shot was scrambled wide. Hampton fought back, Karle Andrews playing a delightful pass through the Salisbury defence but Tarpey had the ball taken off his feet by Puddy in a desperate dive. One of the chances was sure to be converted and as stoppage time began, some 5 minutes in total, the Beavers finally did get that goal. A corner had been forced and the box was crowded with Powell and Inman taking their places; the cross was only half cleared to Inman who with his back to goal, lifted it over his head past Puddy for the best goal he’ll get this year. It was late but was it too late? With time almost up, another corner to the beavers was awarded, and Inman again came storming in at the back post to meet Ferrell’s cross; his powerful header was on target but was straight at the flying Puddy, who clawed the ball away, saving the win for the Whites. This was a winnable game but the efforts of Puddy in the Whites’ goal meant it was not to be.
Hampton now have just three games left to preserve their Conference South status, starting with a home game against high flying Welling United this Saturday.
Many thanks to Rob Overfield for this report. Rob is the Press Officer at the Beveree Stadium, and he can be found on twitter here. The club are also on twitter, and you can visit their website by clicking here.