Alvechurch manager Ian Long has branded the Southern League Premier Central play-off saga a farce and says their play-off plans have been thrown into chaos.
With King’s Lynn’s semi-final against Stratford Town on hold while a potential ineligible player – fielded by Stratford – is resolved, the Southern League chose to postpone the other semi between Stourbridge and Church in the interests of fairness with the final set to be played on Bank Holiday Monday.
A league statement at lunchtime on Wednesday stated both games would be played Friday night, but it was then announced by Stourbridge they would play Alvechurch tomorrow (Thursday) although their statement has been taken down. The Glassboys share their ground with the local cricket club and the changes jeopardised whether they could have home advantage. The Southern League has yet to officially confirm it will be played Thursday.
Long feels his side, who are chasing a third promotion on the spin, have been caught up in the middle of a saga not of their own doing.
“It’s in the rules that if they couldn’t play the game at Stourbridge then the game would be played at our place – at 1pm today they’ve now turned around and said, ‘It’s got to be Thursday,’ Long told The NLP. “It’s so incompetent.
“We’ve had lads organise time off work on Friday. We re-organised a pre-match meal for Friday – it’s all been cancelled once from Wednesday and now we’ve got to, at this notice, try and organise things again. It’s an absolute farce.
“The Southern League have totally messed us about.
“It’s been said we verbally agreed to it (playing Thursday) but we said no because we’re not organising it all again.
“The league sent a statement out that the game would definitely be taking place on Friday so I’ve messaged my lads. Then it’s been cancelled again and said it’s Thursday.
“From 10am this morning all my lads have been organising work, we’ve been organising pre-match meals, coach, travel etc – you want the preparation to be spot on and the league have moved the goalposts again. They’d sent a statement out for everybody to see.
“I am absolutely gobsmacked. I wouldn’t expect it at Sunday morning level. I just can’t get my head around it.
“It’s a massive game. We’ve worked our socks off to get to this – 42 games the lads have got through to get to this. To call it off and on and off, it’s farcical, there’s no other way to describe it.”
The NLP contacted the Southern League for comment and are awaiting a response.