Bromsgrove Sporting boss Bren Kelly on coronavirus crisis

BOSS Bren Kelly hopes Bromsgrove Sporting can still get the chance to play for a fourth straight promotion but admits: “I don’t think this season will get completed.”

Sporting’s continued push through the non-league pyramid was on course to continue with Kelly’s charges sat fourth and in the Southern League Premier Division play-off places when the coronavirus pandemic halted all football in England.

League bosses are due to discuss ways forward with the FA tonight (Monday) ahead of competitions at steps five and six – the levels Worcester City and Raiders play at – holding similar talks tomorrow (Tuesday).

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Kelly was quick to stress any considerations must come to second to the wellbeing of others but revealed he would prefer the current campaign to continue when it is safe to play again.

“It is difficult, there are so many circumstances to take into consideration,” said Kelly.

“I imagine those with nothing to play for will be happy to scrap it, others might want to finish and we’re probably one of them but in my opinion the health of people is more important than any sport.

“If the season has to end to save lives, no problem.

“If something can be sorted to start back up after a long delay then I am fine with that but I think we’re done, I don’t think this season will get completed.

“I think the most rational thing for people to agree on is a void season and we start from fresh. Deep down I think that will happen but who knows?

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“We have been off the boil of late, we have let ourselves down and not capitalised on teams around us dropping points by losing two home games, albeit against two teams that have improved massively.

“It was always going to be a big shout and it was not something we set out to do, consolidation was the main aim but we then propelled ourselves up into the promotion race.

“If the season did end now, it would have to go down as another remarkable season give the fact we are debutants at this level.”

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One school of thought is to freeze the current standings and base the finishing positions on points per game.

The question then crops up as to whether to round things off with just the play-off matches for those set to qualify to decide promotion ahead of 2020-21.

That would include Sporting who would stay fourth despite movement of other teams around them.

“Again, it is difficult but there is a saying that the league table doesn’t lie,” added Kelly.

“If you are in the play-off positions based on points per game then you deserve to be there and the others don’t, no matter how many games in hand they have.

“I would be keen on that scenario. Still, the main thing is I’d encourage everyone to stay safe and follow the guidelines.

“There is a lot of worry over health and the financial situation as well. It is something no one has come across before.”

Evesham United chairman Jim Cockerton also supports completing the campaign.

The managerless Robins sit ninth in Southern League Division One South and look long shots for the top five.

With 10 games to play, United trail the shootout by four places and six points. Five of the teams above them have a game in hand and another has two more to play.

Some of the bigger names have left in the wake of Carl Abbott’s departure but the integrity of the competition remains a priority for Cockerton.

“I think it should continue as and when, it should be finished,” he said.

“Whatever they decide to do we will have to abide by anyway, we won’t have any say in it whatsoever. They are paid to make the decisions and we have to go with them as voluntary organisations.

“I won’t lose any sleep over what they decide but we’re not quitters. We will knuckle down, do as they tell us and hopefully get back to normal as soon as possible.

“If that means extending the season or a late start to next season, whatever it may be, then fine. It would be easy to pull stunts but that is not my way.”

The Southern League says it will issue another statement tomorrow (Tuesday).

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