Pearce: There was no way non-league season could be saved

Jack Pearce reflected on the decision to end another non-league season early and insisted: There was no way it could be saved.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 9:06 am
Jack Pearce / Picture: Tim Hale

The Rocks boss has been involved in meetings at FA and league level through the pandemic on how football should respond – and when and how it can resume.

Pearce said last week’s statement outlining the ‘curtailment’ of the league season for clubs from Isthmian premier level down to the Southern Combination division one was inevitable.

He said when you looked at how few league fixtures had been played and the fact the return of fans – vital at that level – was not allowed before mid-May, there was no way a resumption of league matches in time for a season’s finish was viable.

The Isthmian League has since said it won’t run a cup competition, although the SCFL is planning Champions League-style group cup tournaments for any of its 50 teams who are keen.

Pearce had sympathy with those who wanted the season saved but said: “Most people – quite understandably – will only see things through the lens of their own club.

“You have to look at what is best and sensible for all clubs, not individual clubs, and it’s easy with hindsight to say we should have done this or that.

“Not every decision will prove correct, especially in a situation like this which has never happened before.”

Pearce said he felt the Isthmian League was right not to plan a late-season cup compeition – as this would require fans in grounds to make it viable and would probably need clubs to extend player contracts at a time when they had to be careful with cash.

He concluded: “When you look at all the factors, I think we need to enjoy the cricket season and the Euros and come back in the summer for pre-season – which maybe will start a bit earlier than normal – and prepare for a good 2021-22 season.”

Meanwhile SCFL clubs including Pagham are being asked if they want to enter the league’s cup competition, while West Sussex League clubs are being asked for their views on a restart.

The Rocks and Chi City can focus fully on next season, which is scheduled to start on August 7 or 14.

But the SCFL is set to run Champions League-style cup competitions to give its 50 clubs the option of playing for a trophy after so long on the sidelines.

Southern Combination chairman Steve Nealgrove said there were still obstacles to overcome as the cup plans were put together.

The West Sussex League is asking its clubs if they’re keen to restart.