Managers divided on decision to end their seasons

The managers of Westfield, Knaphill and Sheerwater were left divided by the Football Association’s decision to end their seasons.

All three Woking clubs had reason to be aggrieved with last week’s ruling, which saw all results expunged and their respective campaigns declared null and void.

The Field were fighting for promotion from the BetVictor Isthmian League South Central Division, the Knappers were doing the same in the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League Premier Division, and Sheerwater – also in the latter division – were on course to land a respectable finish having only been promoted last term.

And while Sheers boss Pete Ruggles didn’t hold back in voicing his discontent the Knaphill & Westfield bosses were disappointed but more philosophical about the news.

Sheerwater manager Pete Ruggles

“It’s a slap in the face,” Ruggles told the News & Mail. “For them [the FA] to say ‘Your season never happened’ disrespects our level of football.

“People have made a lot of work and family sacrifices to come to training twice a week and go to matches. And it’s all for nothing.

“From my point of view, they should’ve done it on a points-per-game basis. They’ve done that in leagues at our level before so it’s not an alien concept.

“And the financial gain and losses from promotion and relegation aren’t so much either way to make a big difference.

“We don’t even have a start date for next season yet, so why they made the decision so quickly, I don’t know.”

Knaphill gaffer Luke Tuffs was largely in accordance with Ruggles.

Knaphill manager Luke Tuffs

“Our lads are gutted,” he said. “They think we’d have won the league – and I agree with them, we were in really good form.

“We had three games in hand on [leaders] Ascot United and many of the teams we had left to play were in the bottom half.

“It’s frustrating, and I don’t agree with the decision, but whatever the FA did, it was going to upset people.

“They did what they felt was best based on pictures that, as a manager of one club, I can’t see. They’re having to look after a whole pyramid structure.

“From the knowledge I have, it should’ve been done on points-per-game, which would’ve meant us going up in second place.

“But it is what it is.”

Westfield manager Tony Reid

Westfield boss Tony Reid was similarly phlegmatic, despite the play-off position his men found themselves in as the campaign neared its conclusion.

He said: “What could they possibly do but to void it?

“As much as we wanted it to continue, you’ve got to look at the factors around it.

“Firstly, when could they have restarted it? Because we don’t know when the restrictions will be lifted. Then secondly, when do you start the new season?

“Although it works out better for those at the bottom than it does for those at the top – like us – the best option was to void it.”

For the full story get the 2 April edition of the News & Mail

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