NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: No satisfaction in survival for Wisbech Town chief as season is declared null and void

Wisbech Town manager Brett Whaley (right) with assistants Chris Lenton (left) and Leigh Porter (cent

Wisbech Town manager Brett Whaley (right) with assistants Chris Lenton (left) and Leigh Porter (centre). Picture: ERIN LARHAM - Credit: Archant

Boss Brett Whaley insists he will take no satisfaction from Wisbech Town’s fortunate survival.

The Fenmen have escaped relegation from the Northern Premier League after the 2019/20 campaign was declared null and void by the Football Association.

Wisbech dropped to the bottom of the South East Division standings after losing 4-0 to fellow strugglers Market Drayton in what proved to be their final outing of the season on March 14.

But they will now remain at Step 4 after all results were expunged with no promotion or relegation taking place.

“It’s certainly not the way we wanted the season to end,” said Whaley, who returned to the Fenmen hotseat for a second time at the beginning of February.

“Whichever way the FA had gone with the decision, there was always going to be unhappiness.

“A lot of people might have perceived that using PPG (points per game) to be the fairest thing, but that is not in the laws of the game and there was still a lot of football to be played.

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“It’s a very hard situation and the FA could have delayed the decision which has probably been made a month too early.

“But, on the other hand, I suspect they wanted to make everything clear quickly.

“We felt we would have got ourselves out of trouble on the pitch, but that’s obviously not something we’ll ever know.

“The fact of the matter is we were bottom of the table when the season was ended so we now have to prove we are good enough to be at this level.

“We have to lift ourselves away from the relegation zone next season and look to progress by fighting for every single point.

“We’ve got to create a settled side with two or three good additions.

“We need good footballers with strong characters to be effective in the Northern Premier League in what will undoubtedly be a difficult season again, but I came back to Wisbech Town because I wanted this sort of challenge.

“There will be clubs who struggle financially right across non-league and that’s something that we have to use to our advantage.”

A planned restructure of the non-league system, due to take place at the end of the current season, has now been delayed until the summer of 2021.

That will feature the creation of a new southern area division in the Northern Premier League which will drastically cut down the amount of travelling the Fenmen currently have.

The decision to make the 2019/20 season void has been greeted by outrage with more than 100 clubs writing an open letter to the Government – and thousands signing a petition - calling for a rethink.