By Garry Clarke
DESPITE playing their first pre-season games last week and the FA announcing their acceptance into the FA Cup and Vase for the new season, Warrington Rylands 1906 may have to wait longer than expected before kicking off the 2020/21 season.
Having been advised by the FA that step 5 football would be starting on Saturday 5th September, with the FA Cup extra preliminary round taking place on Tuesday 1st September, NWCFL Chairman Paul Lawler tweeted earlier this week “Although the NWCFL can start from 5 Sept, this is highly unlikely and we won’t be starting without fans. At the moment we are working towards an Oct 3rd start but I still think this is ambitious given the current DCMS stance”.
Lawler’s comments were followed by a press release issued by the NWCFL following their League Management Committee Meeting on Wednesday which stated: “There are significant logistical challenges ahead before the League can consider starting the new campaign, so the League Committee has agreed that it is currently unfeasible to start the new season on 5th September, as per FA guidelines.
“The FA has stated that the NLS season will not commence until paying spectators are permitted into the grounds. This is fundamental to be able to start the season in a sustainable way for clubs. The cost of kicking off behind closed doors, for the majority of clubs, is financially unviable.
“We need to start somewhere and looking at the permutations of the current COVID-19 situation in the North West, the Management Committee has set a provisional start date of Saturday 3rd October 2020. This is subject to circumstances permitting and of course Government legislation allowing gatherings of a certain size.
“In addition, the Isle of Man still has strict quarantine restrictions in place which add further complication.
“In implementing the 3rd October as a provisional start date, the Management Committee is mindful of the COVID-19 issues currently being faced in the North West and the likely changes in legislation as a result. Therefore, we are also making contingency plans for how the competition will operate if the start date goes into November or beyond.”
Warrington Rylands 1906 have been busy re-signing many of last season’s squad for the season ahead while welcoming four new faces to the club including winger Paul Shanley, a former NWCFL player of the season from Runcorn Linnets.
Joining the Gorsey Lane club are midfielder Charlie Doyle from Irlam, former Runcorn Linnets forward Michael Simpson and Ste Milne, a former Warrington Town player who has scored over 60 goals for Lower Breck over the past two seasons in the First Division North.
Milne opened his account for the Blues scoring in their first pre season friendly away at West Cheshire League side South Liverpool last Tuesday. Also on target in the 4-0 win were Jay White and Freddie Potter, last season’s joint leading goalscorer who netted twice.
The victory over South Liverpool was followed by a 3-0 home win in sweltering conditions against Cheshire League neighbours Greenalls Padgate St Oswalds on Saturday. Rylands scorers at Gorsey Lane were Elliot Morris 2 and player-coach Fraser Ablett.