I don't want the play-offs part of our pre-season friendlies, says Margate boss Terry Brown
MARGATE boss Terry Brown says he will be without players whenever the Ryman Premier League play-off farce finally goes ahead.
The Kent club completed their league campaign on 25 April in third-place on 85 points from 46 games, finishing 13 points adrift of promoted champions Maidstone United.
Margate were due to take on Dulwich Hamlet – who finished fourth on 76 points – in an all-ticket match at Hartsdown Park on Thursday, 30 April.
Hamlet fans booked hotel accommodation on the Kent coast to watch their team on that night and the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters Trust contacted The Football Association to express their frustration having to cancel arrangements when the game was postponed two days prior to the original game.
Simon Bower, customer relations at The FA, said, “We can only empathise with any supporters that have been impacted by the matter and the subsequent decisions in relation to play-off timing.
“It is not the intention of The FA to disadvantage supporters of any clubs, at any level, but it is important The FA adheres to the correct processes in what is a complicated matter.
“We can, therefore, only apologise for any indirect inconvenience caused whilst The FA awaits the outcome of the Independent Appeal Board.”
But all plans were thrown out of the window when both semi-finals were postponed after Enfield Town appealed the decision to deduct them three points after fielding an ineligible player earlier on in the calendar year.
An FA Panel sat for six hours on Friday 8 May but the verdict was deferred until today, “due to the complexity of the legal arguments associated with the case,” said Enfield Town’s statement.
Enfield Town tweeted a statement this afternoon, saying, ““NO FA DECISION TODAY – The FA panel will reconvene tomorrow morning after the FA legal department submitted additional evidence to the panel.
“Despite extremely short timelines placed upon us by the FA legal team we responded to these in good time today to try to ensure progress.
“The club is disappointed at this further delay and the impact it has on us and the other four clubs involved in the play-off picture.”
Enfield Town then issued the following statement on their club website.
“Unfortunately there is to be a further delay in receiving the decision on the appeal made to the FA. The FA have now informed the Club that this will not happen until tomorrow.
“The FA made a further submission to the Appeal Board on Sunday, which the Club only became aware of on Monday morning, and took legal advice immediately.
“The Club responded to exceptionally tight deadlines to ensure that all the information required for today was with the Appeal Board. Despite this, the message received is that there will be no further Appeal consideration or decision until tomorrow.
“The delay does not assist in our primary objective of getting an early resolution to this matter for all involved.”
The Ryman League season finished sixteen days ago and Margate boss Brown revealed that 24-goal striker Ryan Moss is now on holiday.
“Ryan Moss is going to be on a beach in Dubai and there’s nothing I can do (about it),” Brown said in a video interview posted on the club’s website.
“It’s not a case of saying ‘well you can’t go!’, it’s the end of the season, it’s finished, it’s not even about him not showing any loyalty.
“He’s got time off work. He’s in a real high pressure job Ryan – he can’t have any other times off. He’s booked a trip to Dubai.
“Let me tell you, if it gets to 17th, 18th (May), which I think it will do or 16th or 17th, which it probably will do, I’ll be missing other players. If it gets to the 21st, I’m missing half my side!”
“I don’t know how The FA can explain to the Margate supporters and the Isthmian League can explain to (chairman) Bob Laslett why it’s dragging on so long.
“It’s a part-time club. I know you hear a lot about Margate are paying out soppy, soppy money, well compared to the league above (Vanarama National League South) and compared to the league above that (Vanarama National League) it’s average.
“They are part-time players. We’re a part-time club. We’re not full-time and therefore they play 38 weeks a year and Bob’s pushing the boat out even more to pay them for 40 but they’ve got families and they’ve got jobs as well.
“All I can say is sort it out as soon as you can!”
Brown revealed that he has contacted his rival managers to discuss the farcical situation.
“I’ve no doubt that Dulwich are losing some players on holiday, that Hendon are losing some players - we have to get on with it!
“We’re not the club that can be screaming about it because we’ve got a big squad. Bob’s allowed me to supplement that squad. We’ve got players on the periphery who should be good enough to come in and win the play-offs for us.
“I won’t be making any excuses about this situation we’ve got ourselves into because the play-offs are always difficult to call. We’ve got to be focused on those play-offs.
“My rant really is not based around Margate. It’s based around Dulwich, Met Police, Enfield and Hendon who all deserve better.
“Basically all the other managers were all of the same opinion that it needs to be sorted sooner rather than later! I don’t want the play-offs part of our pre-season friendlies!”
Meanwhile, runners-up Hendon and Metropolitan Police (who finished in sixth-place and could play the Greens in the play-off semi-finals if Enfield Town are thrown out of the play-offs) have at least played a competitive game since the end of the season.
Metropolitan Police beat Merstham 2-0 to win the Surrey Senior Cup at Woking on 6th May and Hendon needing extra time to beat Tooting & Mitcham United 3-2 24 hours later to land the London Senior Cup may now be a blessing in disguise for Hendon boss Gary McCann.
“My fears became reality,” McCann told www.hendonfc.net.
“It was very hard to focus on the Cup Final because everything has been focused on the play-offs. With the uncertainty of that situation, holidays and work commitments and I am not pleased to say the Cup final was an oversight on our part.
"There was no intention on our part, but it shows how much the importance of the play-offs have been at the forefront of everyone's thoughts.
“I tried to make a conscious effort not to talk about them in my team-talk, but it was almost impossible.
“Waiting to know what will happen - when they will be - has been a real challenge mentally for all of us - management and players. All the uncertainty has unsettled us.
"We will be better for having got through the 120 minutes when it comes to the play-offs, though we had five of six players who were out on their feet.
“Sometimes it is better to be playing regularly than to have a break like we had for 12 days - but we also had a number of players who were lacking in minutes for one reason or another.
"But I must say I am delighted that we have won the Cup. It does a hold a special place in my heart and I have now won it three times as Hendon manager."
Visit Dulwich Hamlet’s website: www.pitchero.com/clubs/dulwichhamlet
Visit Enfield Town’s website: www.enfieldtownfootballclub.co.uk
Visit Hendon’s website: www.hendonfc.net
Visit Margate’s website: www.margate-fc.co.uk