Still hope of more football for Wisbech Town this season as new defender signs
Wisbech Town’s season seems to be heading for a second consecutive ‘null and void’ outcome because of coronavirus – although the club is still hopeful of playing some competitive football before the end of the campaign.
Ahead of an FA decision on the remainder of the ‘non-elite’ non-league season, the Northern Premier League – where the Fenmen play – has said it wants the season terminated now.
Clubs will be asked their views, with a shortened league where each team plays the other just once also a possibility.
And if leagues are declared null and void but football is allowed to return after lockdown, local cluster leagues may run in April and May to give clubs some welcome income, players some game time and fans some football to watch.
Wisbech are also writing to the FA to urge that the long-awaited Eastern Division of the Northern Premier League still be rolled out next season.
The division, which would run from Cambridge to Lincoln, was meant to come into effect this season but was put back a year when the 2019/20 campaign was terminated.
It would cut travelling costs considerably for Brett Whaley’s men and also make away games more accessible for fans.
The ultimate outcome for the 2020/21 season lies with The FA Council but no proposal will be drafted until clubs’ views have been collated and assessed.
In the meantime, the Northern Premier League is postponing all fixtures up to and including Saturday, March 6.
Whaley told the Citizen: “It is a very hard decision to make,” said Whaley.
“There is no way the league can finish with each club playing the full 38 games as there is not enough time left.
“And if they go for a 19 game season or more regional local leagues, many clubs may still be in Tier 3 after lockdown and not want to play without fans.
“And what happens if those leagues cannot be completed?”
The Wisbech boss was, however, quite keen on a six-week local cluster league which has been muted for April/May time.
Whatever happens, he is keen to keep his squad together.
Tall defender Ben Richards has joined this week from Spalding United, whereas Jay Whyatt has left to take up a scholarship in America.
Whaley said: “We have been built up a young squad and we want to keep them. We are building something here and before lockdown it was slowly starting to improve.
“We could end up with a six-month close season so hopefully the players have bought into what we are doing and want to stay and see it through.”
New player Richards (22) is Oakham-based and is a 6’ 7” central defender with two seasons’ experience at Wisbech’s level.