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“They are punishing clubs for their own failings,” – Linnets chairman on the National League

todayFebruary 18, 2021 10

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King’s Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve has claimed clubs are being punished for the National League’s failures as the uncertainty over whether the current season will be completed or not continues.

All 66 clubs in the National League, National League North and National League South are voting on whether the season should carry on or be cancelled.

The vote came about after it emerged government funding for the rest of the season would be provided in loans and not grants.

The Walks - home of the Linnets. Picture: Tim Smith (44216863)
The Walks – home of the Linnets. Picture: Tim Smith (44216863)

But Cleeve, who has also personally written to the National League for guidance, has stated that he is not prepared to keep putting his hand in his own pockets with no income coming into the club.

“What has been served up to us is nothing better than a dog’s dinner,” he said.

“They are punishing clubs for their own failings and the way it is going many clubs will be forced into an insolvency position.

“If they force us to continue, it will be nothing more than a pure vanity project.”

As it stands, King’s Lynn Town’s crunch home games against both Barnet and Weymouth next week will still go ahead, but what happens after that remains unclear.

“It costs a significant amount of money a month to run the football club a month and this just can’t got on with no fans coming through the gates,” said Cleeve.

“For clubs who aren’t in a position to carry on, the league should expunge their results and start again next season once fans are hopefully allowed back in.

“I hope as many of our fans will support us when we need it by purchasing the streams.”

Two more National League clubs have issued public statements on what they think should happen to the season.

Wealdstone, currently 19th in the National League, have voted for the season to be made null and void.

The Stones also voted for each league to be able to decide its own fate.

“We do not believe it is appropriate for the club to take on debt to complete the season,” chairman Rory Fitzgerald said in a statement.

“The club has now incurred close to two months of costs without any meaningful revenue and this cannot continue for further months if the club is to survive in a recognisable form.

“We therefore do not feel it is possible for the board to vote for anything other than ending the season whilst there is no clarity on future financial support and what form this may take.”

Meanwhile, Wrexham say they are in favour of the season continuing but have abstained from voting because they are excluded from receiving any financial support because of their location.

“The club position was, and remains, that it does not want to impose our view on others, on a matter where all clubs are not being treated equally,” the club said in a statement.

However, the club says it has voted in favour of each division being able to decide its own fate.

The statement adds: “The club has now voted in favour of Resolution 1 but will maintain its position of abstaining on the other resolutions.

“It is our hope that the National League (Step 1) season continues.”

Chesterfield, Notts County, Sutton United and Hartlepool United have all voted to continue, while Dover Athletic and the Linnets want the season scrapped.

Grant Holt speaking to Lynn owner Stephen Cleeve and Jeff Brazier. Picture: Ian Burt. (42536437)
Grant Holt speaking to Lynn owner Stephen Cleeve and Jeff Brazier. Picture: Ian Burt. (42536437)

Lynn’s owner, who also confirmed the Linnets had successfully passed their Grade A Ground Grading for the National League this week, blasted the club’s who have yet to cast their vote.

“There’s no logical reason why some clubs haven’t even voted yet and I think that’s extremely selfish,” said Cleeve.

“If I was in their shoes, I’d be behaving a little bit better. The bigger clubs should remember that they need the smaller clubs for the season to continue.”

Linnets boss Ian Culverhouse, who has led the Linnets to back-to-back promotions, has also said that the season can’t go on without any help.

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