‘Each league should have voting rights to say, ‘you know what, this team definitely deserves to go up’ – Hampshire Premier League boss

Hayling United’s Dan Bishop is adamant something must be done to ensure 'non-elite' football clubs are rewarded for their success over the past two seasons.

Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 3:05 pm
Hayling United (black/white) in Hampshire Premier League action at Locks Heath last season. Boss Dan Bishop is calling on the authorities to promote the clubs with the best records since the start of 2019/20. Picture: Keith Woodland

The Humbugs boss has made it clear the authorities need to find a way to promote teams across the pyramid even if a null and void verdict is reached at steps 3-6 for the second year running.

Clubs at 'non-elite' level are anxiously awaiting a decision on what happens next for them with the season currently suspended.

All signs are pointing to campaigns being scrapped with all involved having to dust themselves down and start afresh in 2021/22 - despite what they might have done on the pitch in the previous two years.

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Hayling United boss Dan Bishop. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

However, Bishop insists that cannot be the case and there needs to be a way for promotion to be granted across the pyramid.

In the Hampshire Premier League Senior Division - where Hayling sit sixth - Infinity have not been defeated in 37 matches since August 2019.

Elsewhere, US Portsmouth top the Wessex League Division 1 table if points per game is taken into account across both 2019-20 and 2020-21 campaigns.

And Bishop - even though it doesn't directly impact Hayling - has called for clubs across the country in a deserving position to be promoted.

That is the reasoning behind social media campaign Project Non-League which has called on the FA to promote at steps 3-6 based on results of the last two seasons.

Unde their proposals, no clubs would be relegated but over 100 would step up a level if they wanted to and if their facilities passed the necessary gradings.

‘Last season as a one-off, fair enough, it was all new and no-one had much time to think about it,' Bishop said.

‘We’re nearly a year on from that, they’ve had time to think now, they’ve got evidence of what teams should be right up there.

‘They can make some educated guesses.

‘Even if they had some sort of voting between them I think it would be a fairly consistent vote on the teams that deserve it and made the effort in the background.

‘I think each league should have voting rights to say, ‘you know what, this team definitely deserves to have gone up.’

‘Just look at it on a sensible basis.

‘I just hope people are reasonable; everyone keeps coming up with these convoluted systems, should it be points per game, a combination of two leagues, should it be this or that.

‘There are no right answers but it’s very clear if you look at it who deserves to go up and who doesn’t. I just hope they’re sensible enough to take it.

'It won’t affect us either way, I just feel it’s tough on the teams who really do deserve it.'

Bishop believes rewarding clubs for good results is the least the authorities can do.

At Hayling, who operate at step 7, all staff and players turn up on matchdays for the love of the club, not the financial rewards.

Most of the clubs operating at the same level will also be playing for nothing - and Bishop says it's important some clubs can get their just rewards.

He added: ‘I can’t speak for every other club but I know at Hayling United all the coaches, all the backroom staff, the physios and everything we’ve got is all on a volunteer basis.

‘Imagine all the hard work across all the teams for it just to be, you know, written off - it’s no good.

‘There needs to be some sort of reward.'