Hayling learn relegation fate - via Facebook

Former boss Steve Poulton did well to keep Hayling out of the relegation fight last season
Former boss Steve Poulton did well to keep Hayling out of the relegation fight last season
Bobby Scott. Picture: Neil Marshall (171033-12)

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Hayling United chairman Ian Gollop is furious after the Wessex League confirmed on Facebook that they would be relegating the Humbugs.

The club had already received a letter from the league stating it was a possibility they would face the drop because of ground grading issues.

That was despite Hayling finishing 22 points clear of the drop zone last season.

But, to rub salt in the wounds, Gollop was left fuming when their fate was only confirmed on the social networking site.

‘We knew they were thinking about it but we are not happy with the way it’s been done,’ said Gollop.

‘I am annoyed by the fact that the league have not been able to say what the issue is.

‘We were under the impression that we had done everything that we needed to do.

‘For this to happen after doing all the work and spending all the money is a kick in the teeth.’

Earlier in the week, the Wessex League pointed out that they were acting on FA guidelines and not picking on Hayling.

The FA have a responsibility for ensuring numerical levels throughout the non-league football pyramid.

The Wessex League structure for next term has been complicated by the fact that both Sholing and Winchester City are returning from the Southern League.

Neither Wessex League champions Blackfield & Langley or runners-up Alresford Town had applied for promotion and – with Brockenhurst and Whitchurch United being promoted from division one – it left the league with two extra clubs.

The Wessex League suggested the FA recommended Alton Town move across to the Combined Counties League and Hayling be relegated because of their lack of facilities at their Hayling College home.

Life in the premier division has been tough for the Humbugs but, for each of the past three seasons, they have battled to avoid relegation.

For two years Hayling lived dangerously, escaping the drop on the final day of the season.

But last season under Steve Poulton, they stayed up with games in hand.

But playing their home games at Hayling College has made it difficult for the club to develop their facilities and they have been regarded by many as the ‘ugly ducklings’ of the premier division.

That was part of the reason why Poulton called it quits as boss last week.

However, Hayling maintain they are there on merit and a lot of hard work has gone in to improve the facilities.

‘Personally, I feel this is a big blow to everyone who has worked so hard to get our club where it is,’ said Gollop.

‘This season we stayed up with ease which was a great achievement and, with the backing we were expecting next season, we could be better still.

‘It is my first year as chairman and this decision is a hard one for me to take, personally.

‘We will argue our case at next week’s AGM because we feel it is Sholing and Winchester who should be starting again in division one.

‘After all, they resigned from their league and weren’t relegated.

‘If we are relegated we are determined to take the knock, before bouncing back bigger and better.

‘We will come back stronger and do whatever is necessary to get back in the premier division.’