Remember my post from last week about fixture pile ups and the effect it has on teams in the lower leagues? Well can it be any worse than the situation at Wealdstone, currently pushing for a playoff spot in the Rymans Premier League?
Since the start of February the club have had to play three games a week almost every week. In February they had knocked up five games before Valentine’s Day before rain put pay to more games, and March will see them play 11 times – a game just under every third day…This is the price of success in the lower leagues. The club reached the first round of the FA Cup this season, losing to Rotherham United at home in front of 1,600 and played four games in the FA Trophy. They also took the Championship Manager Cup seriously, lost on penalties to Leatherhead in the final on last Wednesday night – a game that manager Gordon Barlett missed due to commitments as his job as a teacher.
So who are the winners here? The club obviously lost major revenue in the winter months and now has additional expenses of travel in such a short period of time. The last full week of March sees the team on the road four times in seven days, travelling around 450 miles in the process. And the players? Well obviously none are full time so they needed to take time off work to play in the games at Tooting and Leatherhead. The fans – the last two home games, played on a Tuesday and Thursday respectively saw crowds of 328 and 113. Compare that to the crowd against Rotherham and the previous home game against Kingstonians of over 500. And the more games the players play, the more injury prone they become and the quality of the games reduces. So who is the winner? Well nobody actually – so why continue in this farce of squashing all these games in? I am all ears.
Pictures thanks to Danny Last from his report at the Wealdstone v Lewes game – click here to read in full.