At some stage this week, the National League will make a decision on their competitions above tier seven of the pyramid system. It is to be hoped they make a better job of it than the Football Association.
Tier six comprises National League’s North and South, tier five is the National League. All leagues above are still in abeyance, all leagues below have been cancelled — and not entirely fairly. Jersey Bulls have had the worst of it, but there are others.
It isn’t easy being a football club with ambition on Jersey. The island had its own 13 team league split into two divisions, but was refused entry as a separate national entity by FIFA in February 2018.
The National League will decide on their competitions above tier seven of the pyramid system
First Tower United once enjoyed the benevolence of Jack Walker, owner of Blackburn Rovers and a Jersey resident, but only ever entered English cup competitions, such as the FA Vase.
It meant Jersey Bulls’ successful application to join the Combined Counties League this season was a first. No club from the island had ever been part of England’s pyramid.
It was agreed the Bulls would fly into Gatwick Airport for away matches — the CCL is made up of teams in the south of England — and would pay the travel and accommodation costs of all visiting clubs. They were entered in CCL Division One.
And as can sometimes happen when a team starts out at the bottom, it was a mismatch. Jersey Bulls have, to date, won their first 27 league games, straight.
They lead Farnham Town by 20 points and on March 9, with a 2-0 victory over British Airways, won promotion with 11 games to spare. And then they didn’t. On March 26, the FA made the decision to cancel the 2019-20 season for all clubs below tier six.
Jersey Bulls’ 27 wins ceased to exist. So did the promotion already won by Vauxhall Motors in the North West Counties League Division One South.
Throughout the lower reaches of the pyramid, all achievements of worth were cancelled, including but not limited to: Leicester Road (25 points inside the promotion places, Midland League Division One), Stockton Town (23 points inside the promotion places, Northern League Division One), Risborough Rangers (23 points inside the promotion places, Hellenic League Division One East), Littlehampton Town (23 points inside the promotion places, Southern Combination Division One), Lower Breck (21 points inside the promotion places, North West Counties League Division One North) and Bugbrooke St Michaels (20 points inside the promotion places, United Counties League Division One).
And this may appear inconsequential in the grander scheme of things but you can bet that if Liverpool had already won the Premier League when it was curtailed, there would be no question that they would not be handed the trophy, the entry in the record books, and every last penny of their financial prize.
Instead, in football’s hinterland, all that remains are negatives. For while the FA…
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