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Weekly News - 17/3/20

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Weekly News - 17/3/20

Matlock boss Paul Phillips says the season should end now after the announcement from the NPL that fixtures would be suspended until further notice due to the escalating Covid-19 outbreak.

Phillips himself felt unwell on Friday, as did several players and staff members, which after talks with both Saturday’s opponents Nantwich Town and the NPL, led to the home game with the Dabbers being called off late on Friday evening. Ashton United were due at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday night.

This latest news adds to the long list of bad luck Phillips and Matlock have endured since he was appointed in January.

“You just couldn’t make it up could you?” he asked as he took in the news that the league fixtures had been suspended.

“As a club we’ve had no luck and to be honest I’ll be glad to see the back of this season. What I will say is that we’ve got a bunch of cracking lads and I believe we will get up that league if we play again. I also believe the club has handled the problems impeccably.”

Phillips gut feeling is that the 2019/20 season is over.

“When are we going to play, the world’s at a standstill, football has to take a back seat with people dying. There’s all sorts of implications for clubs, players contracts being one of them and everything from top to bottom has to be handled by the league and the game in general in the right way. Nobody could have foreseen what was going to happen, the health of everybody’s families must come first.”

Phillips admitted that whatever decision is made with regard to the season, someone is going to be unhappy.

“I don’t think you can really put anyone down and there’ll be implications and grievances if teams at the top don’t go up so it’s a really tough one. The season should really end now when you look at all that’s involved, but what’s important more than anything else is for all of our clubs to rally round each other to get what’s best in what will be financially and mentally awkward times. If we do start playing again, the big question is when and when will next season start?”

If the season ended now and the relegation issue in the NPL Premier Division was assessed on an average points per game basis, Matlock would be safe. They are currently third bottom and in a potential relegation spot. The bottom two in each of the four feeder leagues to the Conference North and South are relegated automatically with two more clubs with the worst points per game average also making the drop.

The Gladiators though have the best points per game average of these teams which would mean Stafford Rangers and Grantham Town being relegated from the NPL Premier Division.

Clubs and fans will be watching what happens with interest.

Ian Richardson