Hadleigh United players voice concern over Step 5 proposals

HADLEIGH United players have voiced their concern over playing for the club in future if proposals to re-organise football at Step 5 level get the go-ahead.

Rolf Beggerow, Hadleigh’s acting chairman, said the club had already received feedback from players saying they will not be able to commit to playing if they have to give up more time to travel to matches.

Hadleigh are one of seven clubs – four from Suffolk and three from Essex – who have been placed in the proposed London North East Division.

Beggerow, outlining Hadleigh’s view on the club’s website, said: “The general objectives behind the FA re-structuring proposals make sense and we knew this was coming. We can see there is a nice symmetry behind 12 Step 5 leagues going into six Step 4, but at what cost to our leagues?

“Have the FA really considered all the options to keep 14 leagues and develop a fair and equitable set of rules for promotion and relegation before issuing these proposals?

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“Clearly we are concerned over the travelling impact. We have an additional 540 miles per season to travel which is much less than many other clubs. Our bigger concern will be the time it takes us to get to the seven clubs in the London area inside of the M25.

“When Arsenal, Spurs or West Ham are at home it is going to have an even bigger impact on the time it will take to get to and from some grounds. We should remind the paid officials at the FA that our clubs are managed by volunteers and this is asking for an even bigger commitment from our people, and not all will be able to manage it.

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“Then we have to ask, will the longer travel time commitments deter players and managers to make these extra commitments? We expect this to put pressure on our players’ budgets in order to keep the same quality of player. We can see with this restructuring proposal it is going to impact negatively on clubs’ aspirations to progress up the non-league pyramid, or their ability to continue to operate at their current levels.

“We are already getting feedback from players, saying if they have to give up more time to travel to games, they will not be playing for HUFC. All our players have a day-time job. Many will simply not be able get to all the evening games.”

Beggerow said Hadleigh did not wish to see ground standards lowered so supported this aspect of the proposal, and were keen to learn how the proposed new leagues will be managed between Step 5 and 6.

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