Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver still optimistic despite League Two plans to scrap relegation

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver says that the proposal by League Two clubs to scrap relegation will not necessarily scupper his side’s chances of promotion.
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt KirkhamHarrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Friday’s meeting of fourth tier members regarding the conclusion of the 2019/20 season saw teams agree to abandon all remaining fixtures, while they also voted 20-4 in favour of not demoting the side that finishes bottom of the division.

This could mean, in theory, that only one club, rather than two, can be promoted from the National League for the 2020/21 campaign, filling the void left by Bury’s expulsion.

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This development has not been welcomed by Town – second in the National League standings – however, it should be stressed that Friday’s vote only represents an expression of preference by League Two’s members. It is not a binding decision.

“Everyone will have their own opinion or interpretation of what this means, but as the EFL has clearly stated, any proposals will have to be ratified by both them and the Football Association,” Weaver said.

“It was only this week that Greg Clarke [FA chairman] came out and said they would veto moves to void seasons or cancel relegations. The FA are the governing body and those comments were only made a few days ago.

“And, even if there is no relegation from League Two, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any promotion out of our division.

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“Surely everything has to be the same across the board. So if there is promotion but no relegation in League Two, then the same thing must happen in League One.

“If that is the case, then the teams that go up into League One will leave spaces in League Two that need to be filled.”

Stevenage occupied last place in the fourth tier when competition was suspended due to the coronavrius pandemic and would remain 24th if a points-per-game method was used to decide final league positions.

It was, however, widely anticipated that League Two clubs would vote against relegating one of their own members should their season fail to reach its natural conclusion. Thus, Weaver was not surprised by the outcome of Friday’s meeting.

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“I expected that this might be the outcome. It comes as no surprise to me,” he added.

“Everyone is obviously looking out for their own interests and that is to be expected.

“We’ll just have to wait and see. You can never go into a weekend fully confident about what the outcome of this situation is going to be.

“You remind yourself of the stance that the FA took at the start of the week and the comments that Michael Tattersall [National League chairman] made about keeping in line with the EFL, and these things are reassuring.

“But, of course, I’m still concerned by the outcome of today’s meeting. How loud is League Two’s voice? Will they be able to change the FA’s mind?

“The unknown is a worry.”