Are points deductions or relegation the right solutions to adminisrtation?
Feature by Jaybee
Updated Wednesday, 12th August 2009
A look at the problems concerning Chester and LivingstonIn this week's column, I am going to return to a subject that Barnet Mad talked about last season and, sadly, it would be no surprise if it was to be a major talking point next season, or even at another point this season. I am referring to the problem of points' deductions and clubs going into administration.
Last season, as all Barnet fans will be aware of, three League Two clubs, Rotherham, Bournemouth and Luton Town all started the season with large points deductions as an outcome of problems due to having been, at some point, in administration. In the case of
Happily, there are no points deductions affecting League Two clubs this season, though Darlington, now out of administration, have suffered badly with losing virtually a whole squad and appear to have replaced these players with those at a level that the club now seem able to afford, which must affect their chances for the season.
However, this would seem to many fans of lower league club as reasonable, as clubs that have, perhaps, not managed to balance their accounts adequately should act more responsibly and if that means a few seasons down the bottom of the league, or even relegation, well at least the finances of the club concerned will be on a more sounder footing and the future of the club more secure.
The history of the Conference and League Two, and even lower down the pyramid has been littered with clubs who tried to "run before they could walk, such as Telford, Hornchurch, Grays and last season, Weymouth, while fans of better run clubs will point to Darlington's huge, but generally fairly empty ground, and other clubs' over spending on transfers and wages as the source of their problems. There has been some disquiet among supporters about Rotherham's big spending, at this level, on strikers Tom Pope from Crewe and Adam Le Fondre from Rochdale, particularly as they were one of the clubs last season who suffered a points deduction and have only recently come out of administration and have lost their ground. Could they be storing up trouble for themselves in the future?
However, recent events in
Last week though, everything changed and
Grays Athletic have also complained, rightly I feel, about having lost revenue due to the late cancellation of their match with Chester last Saturday and it is difficult to remember the last time that fixtures were cancelled at the beginning of the season in this way. Of course, it has happened in the 4th tier of league football not so long ago near the end of the season in 1992, when Aldershot went into liquidation and were not able to complete their fixtures leading to all the results from the matches they had already played that season being declared void. Barnet were one of the clubs that suffered from this having completed the double over the Shots before they went bust.
So Livingston were relegated to Division 3 and Airdrie, not long ago beneficiaries of Clydebank's mid-season demise, were reinstated into Division 1 having been relegated from that division at the end of last season, while Cowdenbeath were given Airdrie's place in Division 2.
However, last Thursday,
The Scottish Football League will decide tomorrow on Livi's future and there is some reason to think that they might be reinstated to Division 1.
If Livingston are re-instated to Division 1, and I hope that they are as it has seemed extremely unjust demoting them two divisions, then the matches that Airdrie and Cowdenbeath played will be rendered void and the fixture lists will have to all be reset to those drawn up before Livingston's demotion. Ross County and Arbroath will both have lost victories gained last Saturday and both clubs will feel very hard done by if they go on to lose the rearranged fixtures against Livingston and Airdrie respectively.
The whole situation appears to have been very unfortunate whatever the outcome and very poorly handled by the Scottish Football League and, I feel, that the same can be said regarding the