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Dartford boss Steve King: The sums don’t add up

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Dartford

Dartford were in the thick of a promotion race before the season was abandoned

Dartford boss Steve King’s exclusive NLP column

So we will know the outcome of our season in all three divisions of the National League as soon as the EFL make their own decision.

The Football League are due to be meeting this week and that will shape what happens and whether we are able to complete the play-offs.

We were all recently asked our opinion by the National League on the feasibility of the play-offs in all three divisions. Obviously, in the South, most of the top seven want to play them. And obviously, outside of the top seven, they want to just end the league. I believe all three divisions are similar.

The National League have said to us that the majority don’t want the play-offs to be played, but they will listen strongly to the clubs that are in those play-off positions. It’s a no-brainer for that to be the case as those are the clubs who would be affected.

I bet 99 per cent of all teams across all three divisions would say the same if they were in a play-off position in this scenario. 

In an email that we were sent it stated that the three divisions across Steps 1 and 2 are going to be treated as one. As in the same decision will be made.

But what I am struggling to understand is if there is no relegation from the North or South – because Step 3 has been declared null and void – it will obviously mean there isn’t going to be any relegation from the National League. 

So, if the play-offs are going to be played, where would the North and South winners go? The same for the teams who would finish top on a points-per-game league and therefore be the winners of both leagues?

That would be four clubs trying to be squeezed into the National League’s Step 1 division!

It’s never going to happen so I don’t understand why we are still being led to believe there is a chance of the play-offs. There is just no chance they happen in my opinion. The league should just come out and say the facts.

So here we are, waiting for the EFL to decide if they are continuing League One and League Two – which I don’t think they will.

If they don’t continue, it is my prediction they will promote one club, Barrow, while Stevenage will not get relegated out of the Football League.

There was some talk of Chorley coming out of Step 1 for ground grading issues. But they have until July 31 to carry out those small works, which I’m led to believe they will do.

That was the chance of two clubs coming out of the National League – one from the top and one from the bottom – but that will probably not happen now. If it had, then the two clubs I could have seen going up would have been Wealdstone and King’s Lynn, on points-per-game.

So, what happens now? If they promote Barrow and no one else, and no one comes down from the League, do they choose to run with one less team at Step 1?

I don’t see how you could have only one club from either the North or the South going up. How do you pick? That just wouldn’t be fair.

The whole thing is a mess but hopefully soon to be sorted out in the next week or so and then we can all move forward.

To be fair, it’s unprecedented times and a very difficult situation. Someone was always going to get upset because what’s good for one is not always good for another. 

The sooner the league is decided, we can get on with sorting our squads out and planing for next season -–whenever that will be!

There are already lots of clubs releasing players left, right and centre. We all just need a bit of clarity.

This article was brought to you by The Non-League Paper, the UK's best-selling football title on the newsstand, on-sale every Sunday.
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