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Tonbridge manager Steve McKimm feels hard done by after relegated Angels miss out on Conference South reprieve

By Steve Tervet
Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm. Picture: David Couldridge
Tonbridge boss Steve McKimm. Picture: David Couldridge

Steve McKimm has criticised the Football Conference for not expelling cash-strapped Salisbury – and therefore denying Tonbridge a relegation reprieve.

Angels, relegated from Conference South last season, were given hope of playing in that division again next season when it became clear Salisbury were in deep financial trouble.

The Wiltshire club were relegated from Conference Premier last Friday, allowing Dartford back in, but they’ve been placed in Conference South rather than ejected from the competition. And having seen crisis club Hereford United thrown out of the Conference altogether earlier in the week, Tonbridge boss McKimm felt a sense of injustice.

“I can’t see how Hereford go one way and Salisbury do a totally different thing," he said.

“Rules are there for a reason but it seems as though they haven’t been applied properly. Hereford have gone down four divisions and Salisbury, in the same situation, have only gone down one.

“I took the job in the Ryman Premier and I was planning for the Ryman Premier but if we got put in Conference South, it would have been a great experience for the players I’ve signed, to be given a chance at a higher level.”

Tonbridge’s pre-season preparations were dealt a blow this week when first-team coach Simon Balsdon quit the club.

McKimm said: “We couldn’t agree terms. I wanted Simon to stay and be part of the coaching set-up but I understand where he’s coming from.”

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