Crawley Town fan column: Perhaps Macclesfield and Stevenage should both be relegated from League Two

After Crawley Town sparked their fans’ interest with a couple of early signings, activity has died down a little.

Sunday, 5th July 2020, 6:05 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th July 2020, 6:08 pm
Geoff Thornton

More clubs have announced their retained lists and soon it should be apparent which players are readily available for signing. The easing of the lockdown continues allowing the first steps to a return to sporting normality.

That might give the impression that we are at square one but some outstanding matters could yet bring about further changes.

The plight of Macclesfield Town is taking centre stage. The Maccs’ financial problems - more than once they failed to pay their players and staff on time - have seen them punished with a points deduction.

Crawley Town still don't know the definitive list of teams who will visit next season / Picture: Getty

They were found guilty of a further similar offence by an independent disciplinary commission on 19 June. Their decision included a further deduction of two points with four points suspended in case the offence was repeated in the forthcoming season. That ruling allowed the club to retain its place in League Two and confirmed the relegation of Stevenage to the National League.

The decision did not satisfy the EFL, who have said they will lodge an appeal. Presumably they feel the sentence is too lenient and that the six point deduction should be levied in full. If the appeal is successful then Macclesfield would be relegated and Stevenage would maintain their League Two place.

I’m not sure that would be the fairest outcome. Stevenage deserve their relegation as their playing record was the poorest of all the clubs in League Two. And if financial maladministration is considered relevant to membership of the league, then Macclesfield Town should also be relegated. Further as Bury have already lost their EFL membership due to their parlous finances it is obvious that a larger number of upwardly mobile National League clubs could gain promotion.

Personally I believe that would be the best outcome but, even then, it would not be straightforward. One of the optimistic clubs is Harrogate Town but they have a 3G pitch at their Wetherby Road ground. I am not sure of the EFL’s latest regulations regarding artificial pitches but they have proved problematic in the past – just ask Maidstone United.

Just as some would argue that off-the-field failings by those running a club should not override the success of the team on the pitch additionally it is argued that the pitch itself should not be given greater weight in a promotion situation than the team’s performances on it..

My long involvement with the former Sussex County League means that I am well aware of the vicissitudes of Ground Grading. I have railed against it in the past but really any club aiming at climbing the pyramid should be aware of the requirements of the leagues above. We can be certain that the make-up of senior football next season is by no means settled.