Gary Johnson: Chances National League incorporated into EFL League Two is ‘thin’

Gary Johnson, manager of Torquay United Photo: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Gary Johnson, manager of Torquay United Photo: Cameron Geran/PPAUK - Credit: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

The reluctance of turkeys to vote for Christmas has floored plenty of good ideas over the years, and it may well kick the latest suggestions of 'regionalisation' between the EFL's League Two and the National League into the long grass.

Lots of sensible people, including Torquay United manager Gary Johnson, are supporting the concept, which has arisen because of the financial pressures currently threatening lower division clubs in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.

But even Johnson admits the chances of regionalisation actually being restored - the old Third Divisions South and North was abandoned back in 1958 - are thin at best.

The reason is simple and two-fold.

First, a place in League Two is currently worth, thanks to EFL 'share', Academy funding and other 'trickle-down' payments, at least £750,000 a year, probably more, to each of the 24 clubs before they even kick a ball.

It is only that money which enables those clubs to exist and compete as they do now.

In the case of some, like Macclesfield Town, it's still not enough.

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The amounts of money at stake in the Championship and League One are considerably bigger.

Would the League Two clubs vote to give up large slices of that 'pot' and/or to share it with 24 National League clubs?

Second, the National League is run by a board of club representatives, led by a small group of key officers like chairman Brian Barwick and chief executive Mike Tattersall plus staff at their Birmingham HQ.

If the National League is incorporated into an EFL League Two North and South, the roles of many of those people would surely be on the line.

Would they willingly vote themselves out of their jobs?

Gulls boss Johnson has championed closer ties between the EFL and National League for some time, and he isn't the only one to believe that the NL now ticks all the boxes for them to come together.

But even he admits: 'I can't see it happening.'

Meanwhile, the EFL has finally decided that promotion and relegation will happen this summer, even if Play-Off games have to take place behind closed-doors.

But the NL is still waiting to hear whether that means two of their own clubs will go up or just one.

Obviously, there is no point having NL Play-Offs, whether that's between the previously-agreed six clubs or only four, if League Two's bottom club Stevenage is reprieved and only NL champions Barrow are promoted.

The coming week is expected to produce some long-awaited clarification there...