Published: 07:35, 20 January 2021
| Updated: 07:39, 20 January 2021
Sittingbourne have given unanimous backing to calls for the Isthmian League season to be scrapped.
The league have written to all 83 clubs across four divisions to gauge opinion on the way forward.
Clubs are asked to indicate any support for alternatives to a null-and-void season, including playing each other once, suspending the season until it’s safe to return, merging 2019/20 and 20/21 results and resuming the 20/21 season in August.
Isthmian bosses, along with their Northern and Southern League counterparts, have recommended the season be declared null and void given the uncertainty surrounding Covid.
And Sittingbourne, who have played just five games in the South East division, have endorsed those plans.
Brickies financial director John Pitts said: “Some people are very blinkered over this.
“They’re so obsessed with football they say it’s madness to null and void the season but we’ve played five games.
“Some want it decided on points per game but that’s nonsense, really, after so few games.
“We’ve got our WhatsApp group about this, directors and management, and everyone has gone for null and void.
“Like a lot of clubs, we have a lot of people of a certain age.
“Our president is over 80, a number of us committee members are late-60s and early-70s and are meant to be the most vulnerable group.
“I feel as fit as a 30-year-old but it does make football at our level very difficult, even though we’ve been very thorough with our Covid protocols.
“Some people have said about playing on into June but that’s not really possible because some clubs below our level share their ground with cricket clubs, for example.
“The whole pyramid is interlinked so what we do affects Step 5 in terms of promotion and relegation.
“With that in mind, you have to look at the weakest point.
“It’s not just that, when this is all over, people will want holidays and then you’ve got squads looking very different to the ones teams started the season with.
“It’s the recommendation of the Trident Leagues to null and void the season and we’re in agreement with that.”
The only alternative Pitts considered was combining the results of the last two seasons but that didn’t feel right.
He said: “That wasn’t a bad one to consider but again you’ve got different squads.
“A very good example of that is East Grinstead. They were cut adrift last season, they were the worst team in the league by a distance, and were certain to go down, but a new manager and new players and they’re up the top this season.
“I’m not convinced that’s fair on teams who might get relegated instead, when their record was so poor last season.
“The teams that wanted to carry on were the bigger teams.
“At one time Hastings were vociferous about playing on, and they would be because it’s very likely they’d get promotion, but I think even they’ve changed their mind.
“It’s unfortunate for the clubs who’ve spent money over the past couple of seasons trying to get promoted.
“We’ve had a bad start but we’ve got no axe to grind, we’re just trying to be sensible about it and I don’t think any football should be going on, at any level.
“The whole season has been a disaster. Let’s start again in August when, hopefully, we see some results from the vaccination and we can get back to something like normal.”
Sittingbourne are at least financially stable, despite the lack of matchday income, boosted by their long-running lottery.
An interest-free loan remains untouched while the club have also made use of the grant system, securing £7,000 for summer pitch renovation. Further grants will also be explored.