By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Farsley AFC manager Neil Parsley has criticised the Evo Stik Northern League’s decision to extend the Evo Stik Division One North season.
Farsley’s season will now finish on May 4th when Bamber Bridge will visit Throstle Nest – a game which has been moved from April 9th.
The Evo Stik claim the recent winter weather has left them no choice with some clubs still having to play 12 games before the original April 27th deadline.
Parsley, whose side have eight matches to play, believes the Evo Stik didn’t think the decision through and didn’t think of other counter measures to curb the strain on clubs who were struggling to fit their fixtures in.
“I think it is a poor decision and has a financial implication on sides and it is an easy get-out for the league,” he said.
“They should have made teams play Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday if need be and let teams register more players. If teams are struggling to get their games in and that’s the way it has to be. I think the league have just dived in and made an easy decision.
“It is a strain on the finances of certain clubs because they have to pay an extra week’s wages to the players and a strain to the spectators who may have a long journey fitted in because of fixture re-scheduling.”
As a player, Parsley played in the Football League for Huddersfield Town, West Brom and Exeter City before moving back into non-league football with Witton Albion and then Guiseley.
He has managed Guiseley, North Ferriby United in his management career and has never encountered this scenario before.
Parsley also suggested starting the 2013-14 season earlier than normal to avoid a repeat situation next year. The Evo Stik campaign usually kicks off on the third Saturday of August.
“This season extension is the first time I have experienced one and I find it unprofessional,” he said.
“I’ve played on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and a Saturday. I wouldn’t be happy if I had to do it again, but if that’s the situation you find yourself in then that’s what you’d have to do.
“People struggle at work to meet deadlines and they have to work the overtime so why extend deadlines? Starting next season earlier is an option or play more mid-week games.
“The weather has been dreadful this season and I have full sympathy in that respect for the league. I also don’t want to see teams who have good cup runs get penalised because the league fixtures get forfeited for a cup game.
“I want teams to be successful and good representation for this league in cup competitions, of course I do, but the rules are still there and we have to abide by the rules.”