Hythe Town FC made the League aware that our choice was to null and void the 2019/20 season; to do otherwise would have resulted in all sorts of controversies, says chairman Paul Markland

Friday 27th March 2020

HYTHE TOWN chairman Paul Markland has issued the following statement, with his club sitting in eleventh-place in the Isthmian League South East Division table at the time of The Football Association declaring the season null and void yesterday.

“Our country, and the rest of the world, is dealing with an unprecedented crisis, a matter of life or death, so we need to keep the outcome of the 2019/20 Isthmian and other football leagues in perspective. 

“The priority must be the health and safety of everyone, which is why the shutdown of football was the right thing to do. 

“The Isthmian board and the FA could not leave the leagues unfinished indefinitely – with clubs and players in limbo. 

“Hythe Town FC made the League aware that our choice was to null and void the 2019/20 season; to do otherwise would have resulted in all sorts of controversies. 

“Given all the future uncertainties, the people at the helm of some of the clubs who could have been promoted may quietly be breathing a sigh of relief!

“It is easier to back the decision to null and void the season when the team sits mid-table, but I think our opinion would have been the same even if we were in the play-off zone. 

“I agree 100% with Frank May of Cray Valley PM (who are in the top five) when he says, “We can only accept the decision gracefully and plan for next season accordingly”.  

“Hythe Town’s priority now is the hunker down, conserve what funds we have so we can pay ongoing bills such as insurance and utilities for as long as possible and to look after the pitch ready for the re-start. 

“Funds will become stretched after a few months as, like other football clubs, we no longer have any income from matches or commercial activities. 

“Thankfully it looks like Business Rates for sports clubs have been waived for the next year; the CASC scheme does not apply to semi-pro clubs who all pay full Business Rates, so this has saved Hythe Town money we may have struggled to find, allowing us to pay outstanding invoices.  

“Who knows when the next season will commence?  The country could be in stop-start lockdown for a year or more and a stop-start season would be very difficult, especially for clubs who decide to put players on contract. 

“When we do restart, many of the businesses who support football clubs will have priorities other than sponsorship and advertising, so the days of big budgets and high player wages will have disappeared for a while, possibly with the exception of one or two lucky clubs. 

“On a personal note, Sue and I are mostly staying at home like nearly everyone else.  I’m missing my football, seeing our grandchildren and travelling but our garden is getting lots of my attention so should (hopefully!) be the better for it this summer. 

“I applaud those still working to keep the country functioning, especially those in health and social care, the emergency and transport services, people working on the frontline in supermarkets and those volunteering.

“I thank everyone who is involved with Hythe Town Football Club and look forward to seeing you all as soon as it is safe to do so.  Meanwhile, please stay well.” 

Visit Hythe Town’s website: www.hythetownfc.co.uk