We’re all really angry about what happened. I’m still angry and I’ll probably be angry until the day I die, says Beckenham Town assistant Billy Walton
BECKENHAM TOWN assistant manager Billy Walton says everyone at the club still feel angry with the way the Football Association treated them last season.
The Eden Park Avenue outfit were leading the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division for a large majority of the season but all league results were declared null and void by the Football Association after the country came to a halt owing to the coronavirus health pandemic.
The sensible solution would have been to either decided all league positions by points-per-game like they did in League One, League Two, the National League and National League North & South – or play out the campaign in August and September and kick-off the 2020-21 campaign in October.
“We got robbed to be honest with you for not being champions,” fumed Walton following his side were held to a 2-2 draw by local rivals Glebe last night.
“We’ve added a few players to the squad, we’ve obviously lost a couple but this squad of players, 90% of them are still here from last year.
“We’re all really angry about what happened. I’m still angry and I’ll probably be angry until the day I die!
“There’s so many people at this club and every other club at this level who work their socks off and I just feel that we’ve had the carpet pulled in terms of what they’ve done.
“It was the worst-case scenario for me. I’d rather have played because everyone in this league must’ve played six or seven pre-season friendlies. Why couldn’t they played your pre-season friendlies behind closed doors and play the league games and then come to this time now you would’ve decided the league now, have all of September to sort out the fixtures and the promotions and relegations then kick-off in October with no cups whatsoever.
“The FA want to play their FA Cup, FA Vase and FA Trophy.”
Corinthian suffered a heartbreaking FA Vase Semi-Final exit to Hebburn Town at Gay Dawn Farm on Saturday, losing 4-3 on penalties after the game finished 2-2 after extra time.
“The cobblers they came out with Corinthians, they’ve signed players who didn’t play for them in the FA Vase and Josh James plays for them on Saturday – he should never have been allowed to play,” claimed Walton.
“Listen, I’m not having a go at Corinthians with Josh James playing for them. I’m just giving you a fact and that’s not Corinthian’s fault, that’s The FA’s fault. They changed it all and it’s absolutely ridiculous!
“The worst thing The FA did for me, I would be saying this because we were top but we were top of the league and we completed 76% of the season. That’s it. If we were second, people may not believe me but I will say we were second and we would’ve still gone up (with Corinthian). If we were third, that’s where we finished, the league was done.
“What annoyed me our people, some good football people, voted to null and void the league and East Grinstead deserved to go down (having been rooted to the bottom of the Isthmian League South East Division). They were bottom the whole season and Ramsgate. They deserved to go down.
“All The FA have done was saved them and all the hard work that people put in for success, the teams at the top of the league, The FA just said to them tough! East Grinstead should’ve got relegated.”
The same suspects (Beckenham Town, Chatham Town, Corinthian, Sheppey United and Tunbridge Wells) are expected to be challenging for the title this season with one or two other dark horses too.
Walton added: “We’ll be fine. I personally think it’s out of five teams. I’m not going to tell you which five they are – I’ll leave that for people to work out – and we’re one of them so we will be one of them.
“We will play a lot better than last night and we’ll work a lot harder than what we did against Glebe.
“In all fairness, we’ve played three games this season, FA Cup and two league games and we’re undefeated, same as last season, so we’re not in bad shape.”
Beckenham Town travel to Tunbridge Wells in The FA Cup Preliminary Round on Saturday (15:00) – a game that has been made all-ticket due to the crowd restrictions imposed by The Football Association and Government.
“You want to go as far as you can. Our FA Cup final at this level is if you can get drawn at home to an Isthmian Premier side or you get to that level and you can play one of them.
“We did well last year down here against (Isthmian League South East Division side) Ashford United. They beat us 1-0. We were extremely unlucky that day.
“Let’s get over Tunbridge Wells, that’s going to be difficult.”
There will be no extra-time or replays in every single round of The FA Cup this season with games being settled on the day with a penalty shoot-out following immediately if games finish on level terms.
Beckenham Town were knocked out of The FA Vase by Chatham Town in a First Round Replay at Eden Park Avenue when Scott Lindsey’s side progressed after winning 7-6 on penalties after the game finished 2-2 after extra time.
“Football’s a team game and penalties go down to an individual so you take it away from the team,” said Walton.
“It’s horrible. We had it last year against Chatham when Damien Ramsamy missed and they beat us on penalties and it’s down to one player.
“I would rather have a Golden Goal, just play and whoever scores wins and it’s the team them and it’s not down to individuals but you know The FA, they know better than everyone else!”
Visit Beckenham Town’s website: www.beckenhamtownfc.com
Tunbridge Wells v Beckenham Town
The Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round
Saturday 12 September 2020
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Culverden Stadium, Culverden Down, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9SG