Paul Markland, Chairman, Hythe Town Football Club.
27th March 2020
Priorities and Decisions
Our country, and the rest of the world, is dealing with an unprecedented crisis, a matter of life or death, so we need to keep the outcome of the 2019/20 Isthmian and other football leagues in perspective. The priority must be the health and safety of everyone, which is why the shutdown of football was the right thing to do.
The Isthmian board and the FA could not leave the leagues unfinished indefinitely – with clubs and players in limbo. Hythe Town FC made the league aware that our choice was to null and void the 2019/20 season; to do otherwise would have resulted in all sorts of controversies. Given all the future uncertainties, the people at the helm of some of the clubs who could have been promoted may quietly be breathing a sigh of relief!
It is easier to back the decision to null and void the season when the team sits mid-table, but I think our opinion would have been the same even if we were in the play-off zone. I agree 100% with Frank May of Cray Valley PM (who are in the top five) when he says, “We can only accept the decision gracefully and plan for next season accordingly”.
Hythe Town’s priority now is the hunker down, conserve what funds we have so we can pay ongoing bills such as insurance and utilities for as long as possible and to look after the pitch ready for the re-start. Funds will become stretched after a few months as, like other football clubs, we no longer have any income from matches or commercial activities. Thankfully it looks like Business Rates for sports clubs have been waived for the next year; the CASC scheme does not apply to semi-pro clubs who all pay full Business Rates, so this has saved Hythe Town money we may have struggled to find, allowing us to pay outstanding invoices.
Who knows when the next season will commence? The country could be in stop-start lockdown for a year or more and a stop-start season would be very difficult, especially for clubs who decide to put players on contract. When we do restart, many of the businesses who support football clubs will have priorities other than sponsorship and advertising, so the days of big budgets and high player wages will have disappeared for a while, possibly with the exception of one or two lucky clubs.
On a personal note, Sue and I are mostly staying at home like nearly everyone else. I’m missing my football, seeing our grandchildren and travelling but our garden is getting lots of my attention so should (hopefully!) be the better for it this summer. I applaud those still working to keep the country functioning, especially those in health and social care, the emergency and transport services, people working on the frontline in supermarkets and those volunteering.
I thank everyone who is involved with Hythe Town Football Club and look forward to seeing you all as soon as it is safe to do so. Meanwhile, please stay well.
All leagues at non-league levels 3,4,5 and 6 have reached agreement that the current season is now terminated (Hythe Town are level 4).
This decision just needs to be ratified by the FA. and before promotion/relegation issues are finalised there needs to also be an agreement made by the National League (levels 1 and 2).
It has now been decided that season 2019-2020 is now null and void with records being expunged. The full FA Statement can be found here..
The logical follow-on from this is that the 2020/21 season will commence in August as previously planned--providing of course that the health situation has eased.
The club are still looking for one or two persons to help run our lottery. This would involve a door-to-door collection over each month as well as some canvassing (using promotional leaflets) to build up numbers. A 25% commission is paid for collecting from existing members and so for each new member the earnings would go up from what is already a substantial sum to do a part-time job that has no defined hours.
You may not want this job for yourself--but possibly you know somebody who might do??
Please phone 07908-763101 if interested
Stephen Okoh has departed the club to join Sittingbourne. Stephen played 26 times this season before getting injured in the 3-0 win at Haywards Heath Town.
We wish him every success for the future !!!
Whyteleafe 0 Hythe Town 2
BetVictor Isthmian League South East
Saturday 7th March 2020
The Cannons returned from Whyteleafe with a well-deserved 2-0 win despite being controversially reduced to ten men after 76 minutes when Alex Flisher was shown a red card.
Hythe had the best of the first half putting in all the early pressure and were ahead on thirteen minutes as a Frannie Collin free kick from 25 yards out evaded the home defence to sail past Whyteleafe keeper Tyler McCarthy and into the corner of the net. The visitors continued to press as Kaka Dembele broke down the right sending a dangerous cross that was just out of the reach of Alex Flisher. Hythe’s early dominance was rewarded on 18 minutes. Flisher saved the ball going out for a goal kick pulling it back to Alex Brown who fed it through to Collin who buried his shot in the back of the net.
The hosts had to wait until the 20th minute to threaten as the ever dangerous Corie Andrews surged through with the ball being smothered by Hythe keeper Will Godmon and then it was cleared away by the impressive Nathan Gordon. At the other end Flisher was to send a swerving shot just the wrong side of the upright. Andrews again found his way into the Hythe area but was blocked before he could get in a shot, but Hythe still had the best of the exchanges as Collin played the ball out to Charlie Webster who blasted over. There followed a period of pressure from the hosts, but they were only able to get one more effort away as a Ryan Gondoh shot lacked power and rolled into the arms of Godmon.
The first action of the second half saw Gondoh play in Andrew Sesay whose close-range effort went straight at Godmon and then at the other end Jamie McGeorghegan was dispossessed by Webster who broke free but pulled the attempt wide of the target. Whyteleafe’s keeper McCarthy had to be at his best as he tipped a dipping shot from Brown over the bar. Whyteleafe were looking to get back in the game as a free kick from Gondoh from the edge of the penalty area sailed over the bar and then a last gasp tackle from Gordon prevented Andrews getting a shot in. The Cannons produced a neat move as an interchange between Darren Oldaker and Webster ended with Flisher slicing an effort wide.
On 76 minutes, the Hythe defence stood firm as the ball pin-balled around the penalty area before being cleared and then came the moment in the 76th minute that reduced Hythe to ten men as Flisher was sent off for an alleged elbow which many saw differently. This gave the home team a one-man advantage and they pressed to get back in the game as firstly a shot from Alastair Gordon didn’t test Godmon and Dembele got in a superb last gasp tackle to prevent Gondoh an opportunity.
Deep into injury time Gondoh hooked a free kick wide and Hythe were able to hold on to the three points that take them up to tenth place in the table with a game next Saturday (14th March 2020) at home to promotion chasing Cray Valley PM.
Team: Will Godmon, Kaka Dembele, Nathan Gordon, James Rogers, Jamie Coyle, Tom Wynter, Charlie Webster, Darren Oldaker (Jarred Trespaderne 90 mins), Alex Flisher, Frannie Collin (Tom Murphy 80 mins), Alex Brown (Tom Walmsley 80 mins).
Scorers: Hythe Town-Frannie Collin 13 & 18 mins.
The club are looking for a new physio as Marc Wheeler is stepping down due to work commitments.
If you are interested in filling this role then please contact manager Steve Watt on the following email address at. firstname.lastname@example.org