Put a stop to this circus and get us back playing with fans in attendance like teams in the levels below, says Tonbridge Angels boss Steve McKimm

Wednesday 23rd September 2020

NATIONAL LEAGUE South managers cannot believe that they have been classed as elite sportsmen as they fight tooth and nail to get crowds back into their stadiums.

The National League campaign is due to start on Saturday 3 October, while clubs in the National League North and South will start their long-awaited campaigns in The FA Cup Second Qualifying Round.

Clubs who ply their trade in the Isthmian Premier Division can let in 600 fans, 400 in the division below, while clubs in Steps Five and Six can let in 300.

However, all National League clubs have been banned to let their fans in and there are fears that they will have to wait until March 2021 before doing so.

No club can go a whole calendar year without making any matchday revenue and the UK Government needs to do more and lift their crippling restrictions.

A Twitter statement from Dorking Wanderers said: “The football community needs ALL SUPPORTERS and CLUBS to contact their MP’s IMMEDIATELY and stand up to this discrimination.  The Government are hoping you are silent. 

“Don’t allow this ridiculous compromise – Oliver Dowden (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) is completely out of control to allow this to happen.

“It is not acceptable that indoor businesses are supported to trade and survive, other outdoor businesses such as theme parks are able to operate yet football is asked to stop trading for six months?

“We need the WHOLE football community behind the campaign to #letfansin

“Unemployment pending, months of uncertainty for all connected. Huge knock on effect to the local community.

“Why is football being discriminated against? There are hundreds of outdoor events able to take place. Why has it not even been suggested masks could be worn?”

Gary McCann, who is the manager of Hampton & Richmond Borough, said on Twitter: “Ninety percent of our division is part-time and see football as a secondary job – but the demand from some for elite sportsman status to get play-offs completed is now the genuine reasons our season hasn’t started and is in real danger of not starting on 3 October.”

McCann added: “Elite sportsman status is laughable! I must have to get the supreme elite sportsman status to reduce my 40-50 odd hours a week I do in my taxi while managing my elite players!”

Tonbridge Angels manager Steve McKimm, another black cab driver, also added on Twitter: “It didn’t take long for the National League to get the elite status, so shouldn’t take long to remove it.

“The reasons behind it are irrelevant at the moment. Put a stop to this circus and get us back playing with fans in attendance like teams in the levels below.”

McKimm has unveiled the return of attacking midfielder D’Sean Theobalds, 24, following a short spell in Poland.

He left Longmead Stadium in February to sign for Korona Kielce but returned to the National League South side last night.

Around 1% of the UK population has sadly died of Covid-19 - the total of our beloved football clubs will be a lot higher unless the UK Government and The Football Association pull their finger out.

More money needs to come down from the Premier League and spread evenlty, especially as FA Cup, FA Trophy and FA Vase prize money has been reduced this season.