Into the null and void

Queen Elizabeth II Stadium, home to Enfield Town FC
Enfield Town FC fans may have to wait several months before they can watch another game at Queen Elizabeth II Stadium

Andrew Warshaw on why Enfield Town FC are backing another curtailed season

Enfield Town FC’s members have voted overwhelmingly to accept a board recommendation to declare the season ‘null and void’.

The vote came in response to a questionnaire from the Isthmian League, with club chair Paul Reed warning of the financial consequences of trying to play on without fans through the turnstiles or any secondary income such as bar sales.

Since the start of the second national lockdown back in November, the Towners have been able to fulfil just one solitary fixture – the fateful FA Trophy defeat against Maldon & Tiptree in December – with a number of Town players instead moving a division higher to play in the second step of the non-league pyramid, where games are still permitted.

Enfield were third in the Isthmian Premier Division when the league campaign ground to a halt in November and, although the option of a mini-season starting in March was still on the table at time of going to press, the more likely outcome remains a second successive voided campaign. It has left the club’s board feeling frustrated, disappointed and realistic in equal measure.

Paul told a well-attended virtual AGM last month: “No-one wants to watch games more than I do, but this is the situation we find ourselves in as a board. It’s not a position any of us want to be in.

“We have to balance the short-term desire of all of us to play football versus the longer-term financial stability. Trying to play now and force the issue with not as much income means we run the risk of not having sufficient funds to put together a competitive side next season.

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“If were forced to play within a condensed period, we could minimise losses by further cutting the budget next season, but that could potentially mean failing to compete in the way we would like.”

Paul’s comments drew widespread support from those attending the meeting via Zoom, with 94% backing the decision to bring an early end to the season.

Paul continued: “We’ve had to face a whole new world of operations and finances that we didn’t even know existed 12 months ago. We have seen our secondary income heavily reduced.

“There has been no clarity on government funding to step three clubs [such as Enfield Town]. We believe the vast majority of the money talked about will come in the form of loans, so whatever we can take we’d have to pay back.

“There are no assurances of promotion and relegation either, so what would we be playing for?”

On a brighter note, Paul praised fans for their generosity and understanding during the toughest period in the club’s recent history.

“By far the biggest positive of the last 12 months has been our people; the financial support from our members, the work from our volunteers, in really trying conditions.”

The meeting also saw the election to the board of this correspondent, as a numerical replacement for the outgoing Ken Brazier, who received a well-deserved accolade for his tireless dedication over the past seven years.

As a passionate fan, I decided to put my own name forward in order to help maintain the club’s standing in the community, widen its appeal as the country’s first supporter-owned club, and enhance its exposure on and off the field – in whatever way I can.

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