Barrow boss Ian Evatt fears the league leaders will never recover if the season is eventually voided by the coronavirus crisis and they’re denied the chance to win promotion back to the Football League.
The Bluebirds manager, pictured, insists the National League campaign cannot be allowed to be voided like all those below them in football’s Non-League pyramid on Thursday.
The former Blackpool defender believes the option of restarting the season should be kept open if the public health crisis can be brought under control, currently an unlikely prospect with global sport continuing to be decimated, the Tokyo Olympics the latest casualty this week following the postponement of the games until 2021.
“I don’t think it [the club] would recover,” Evatt told the Press Association. “That’s being frank. I don’t see how you can, in the interest of fairness, void the season when some teams in our league have only got seven games to play.”
The Gaffer was up early appearing on the @SportsBreakfast show this morning! ?
— Barrow A.F.C. (@BarrowAFC) March 27, 2020
“For me, I get people are going to say, ‘Well, you’re top of the league, it’s easy to say’, but I genuinely believe my view would be the same regardless [of where we are] – you are where you are at the moment and you are where you deserve to be.
“Now if this was halfway through the season or under, you can completely understand voiding a season. But we’re talking about, from some clubs’ perspective, seven games. Seven games away from completing the season.
“You cannot, you cannot, null and void it. And if that was the case, obviously my board of directors, the chairman would probably look at their investment in the football club.
“We run our club properly. We don’t overspend, we don’t sign players on thousands of pounds in the National League like some do.
“But they’ve redeveloped the ground, there’s stuff going on at the moment which obviously needs to comply with the EFL because we’re confident of getting the job done.
The #ClapForOurCarers this evening could be heard inside Furness General Hospital ?
More than deserved for the NHS heroes who continue to battle for all of us – thank you. pic.twitter.com/joTDjnt0nV
— Barrow A.F.C. (@BarrowAFC) March 26, 2020
“We’ve been top for five months and no-one, no disrespect to anyone, has really come that close to us.
“From our perspective, the interest of fairness would be for us to be promoted and that is my view regardless of where I am right now because of how many games have been played and where we’re at in the season.”
Urging football’s authorities to make a decision one way or other and as soon as possible, he added: “It’s the unknown that’s killing everybody.
“How can we as a football nation, as the Premier League, EFL, be deluded enough to think that we could kick off again in May or June with the way things are? It’s just not going to happen.
“So we need to make decisions, we need to make them now or we’re going to lose football clubs, not just in the National League and below, but I would think EFL clubs as well.”
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Image courtesy of Mark Fletcher/The Non-League Paper