'Happy' Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver confident that National League play-offs will take place

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver has welcomed the National League’s proposal to proceed with promotion play-offs and revealed that he is confident they will take place.
Harrogate Town were second in the National League standings when 2019/20 was abandoned. Picture: Matt KirkhamHarrogate Town were second in the National League standings when 2019/20 was abandoned. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town were second in the National League standings when 2019/20 was abandoned. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The long-awaited meeting of fifth and sixth tier clubs saw the league’s board propose that final standings for 2019/20 be decided on points-per-game ratio and that promotion and relegation is retained.

In the case of the National League, it has been proposed that play-offs be held to determine who takes the second promotion spot, with Yorkshire rivals Harrogate and FC Halifax Town qualifying alongside Notts County, Yeovil Town, Boreham Wood and Barnet.

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Harrogate were second in the table when 2019/20 was suspended, then later abandoned, due to the coronavirus pandemic and will remain in the same position under points-per-game.

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.

National League clubs have until Monday to vote for or against the proposed format for concluding the season, with Weaver expectant that the majority will be in favour.

“I think the play-offs will happen,” the Town boss said.

“The feedback at the meeting was mainly quite positive, so I believe that clubs will vote yes to this proposal.

"I can’t see them not going ahead, but we’ll have to see if all the clubs who qualify for the play-offs want to take part. Some teams might not be able to because of the financial implications and I understand that sanctions will not be imposed on anyone who pulls out.

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“Personally, I am happy because this gives us an opportunity to earn promotion. We’re still in control of our own destiny if we are able to compete in the play-offs. That’s what we’ve wanted all along.

“It could’ve been a nightmare scenario if we’d have ended up with null and void, so I’m relieved with the outcome of the meeting.”

There are still plenty of details yet to be decided, such as when the play-offs would be held and where the play-off final would take place, however Weaver expects more clarity if the National League's resolution is voted in.

"I think there are a lot of questions to be answered, but only after Monday's vote, once we know whether the play-offs are definitely taking place," he added.

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"We don't yet know how much it is going to cost for us to start testing our players, but these are the sort of things we'll be looking into over the next few days.

"We've got to find out a lot more about what happens next and what we need to do, but this is the situation we're in at the moment.

"We are just pleased to still have a fighting chance of realising our goal of promotion to the Football League."

Should the National League's proposal to conclude 2019/20 be approved, then top-of-the-table Barrow will be promoted automatically to League Two.

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At the other end of the division, rock-bottom Chorley would be the only side to suffer relegation.

Play-offs are not expected to be held in the sixth tier, meaning that Kings Lynn would go up as National League North champions ahead of York City, while Wealdstone would take the Southern crown.

At this stage, 24th-placed Stevenage are in line to drop out of League Two, though they could be replaced at the foot of the table by Macclesfield, who are facing the very real possibility of yet another points deduction for failure to pay their players on time.