Soccer AM/MW - the home of lively and humorous discussion from the Football and Non Leagues

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

After the Freeze

With the wintry freeze over the past month disrupting football up and down the country, Turls looks at where the postponements can have the greatest effect - Non League.

Non-league football will always have a place in my heart.

I remember countless occasions where my dad, my brother, and yours truly would plot our way across the Midlands to visit a non-league ground and watch 90 minutes of exciting action.

Sure we may have got wet and lost more times than I care to remember but that was the joy of it all.

Now that the snow has finally gone, football has been allowed to seep its way back into the lives of many, but it got me thinking about how Non League teams can have long periods without playing a match.

I did a bit of research and came across some interesting results.

"I'd rather have points on the board than games in hand," was a saying I found myself repeating not too long ago and nowhere does this ring as true than in Non League football.

Thanks to various cup runs and postponements, clubs in the same league can find themselves having a lot of games in hand on the teams above them.

Let's just take a quick glance at the Combined Counties league shall we?

Badshot Lea have played 15 games this season. Pretty paltry return for a season that is well past Christmas.

They find themselves sitting comfortably in mid-table. However, if they were to win every game in hand, then they would go top of the table. Not only that but they would also be eight points clear of the team that is currently top.

At the other end, Hanworth Villa are languishing in the nether regions of the league but are 11 points clear of the bottom.

Villa look comfy but when you consider that they have played 26 games, this points advantage seems less impressive. If the teams below them win the games in hand, Hanworth are bottom and out of reach. Unlucky chaps.

Badshot have played 11 games less than Hanworth. Imagine that in the Championship. QPR look like they're having an average season but they've got 11 games in hand on their promotion rivals.

It does come back to the point about games in hand/points on the board. There is only a slim chance Badshot will win their games in hand - especially when you consider that they will have to play midweek from now until the rest of the season.

After all, let's not forget that most of the players are plumbers/bankers/slackers by trade. Hanworth will therefore sleep a little easier in the knowledge that their relegation rivals are unlikely to win their games.

This research got me thinking even more.

Looking at the Midland Alliance League I realised that Bridgenorth had gone 42 days since they had last played in the league. However, they have still played five more games than Biddulph!

Now I may have lost you at some point along the way but if you're still with us then you have to agree that Non League football is a fascinating beast. And if you don't agree, you probably think that football began in 1992.

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