Gloucester City striker Bernard Mensah feels “disappointed” in the FA Alliance Committee’s decision to reject the mini-league proposal.
While the decision still requires the FA Council’s approval, it’s likely that this spells the end of Gloucester City’s promotion hopes for this season.
This comes after National League North and South clubs voted 24-19 in favour of curtailing the season in February – clubs launched an appeal for a mini-league between the league’s to decide promotion.
“Everyone’s disappointed,” said Mensah. “Obviously, there was the whole initial vote and the glint of hope that we could carry on. They’ve dragged it out for three or four weeks now, the longer it goes on it makes you think they’re trying to organise stuff and make it happen.
“Obviously it’s disappointing to start a season and not finish it. We’ve done all the hard work until January time for no reason. I’m disappointed.”
Gloucester are set to play a friendly training match against St Albans City FC on Saturday at 1:30pm.
“We’ve been having friendly matches the last couple of weeks against teams from the south we might face just to be ready.” said Mensah, “Lots of teams have stopped training, even ones that want to be involved in the mini-league.
“We carried on because we thought we had a chance of going up if it went ahead. We wanted to keep match fit, that’s why we played friendlies and trained.
“It seems like it’s been for no reason. As a player you look for that competition. It’s all well and good playing friendlies but you live for a matchday. There’s nothing we can do. Loads of clubs could go bust and the future of certain clubs need to stay intact.”
The government told the National League that they would award £11 million to cover expenses from January to March, but they would be loans not grants.
All 66 Clubs rejected the Government’s offer. Gloucester in particular will be extremely frustrated with the league’s decision given their position firmly at the top of National League North.
“We were the underdogs this season,” said Mensah. “Nobody expected us to be up there – up until now, we’ve been incredible. Like I said, who knows what’s going to happen next season, there are players out of contract, teams will come in and steal players.
“We really thought we had a chance to go up this year and it’s been taken away. There are so many clubs in the league. If 20 don’t want to play and risk financial detriment then I guess it’s probably the right thing to do.”
When all is said and done, Mensah is extremely grateful to be playing football during the UK’s third lockdown, even if promotion has been taken away from them.
“We’ve been lucky to carry on training where other clubs in this league haven’t. To play friendly matches as well, everyone lives for a game, friendly or not. It lets us be competitive in some sense.
“We train hard for matches and we feel lucky to have played three friendlies – it’s better than nothing. A lot of people at home, grassroots level and kids, they aren’t able to play so we are lucky with the position we are in to play.”