NL suspension is out of the question

Gary Johnson. Photo: Micah Crook/PPAUK

Gary Johnson. Photo: Micah Crook/PPAUK - Credit: Micah Crook/PPAUK

Torquay United manager Gary Johnson says that suspending the National League ‘Premier’ season is not an option, because there would not be sufficient time to restart it.  

Some NL North and South clubs are lobbying for their season to be halted as the 67-team competition grapples with a new funding crisis. The NL North and South have now decided to suspend for two weeks but Torquay's Premier Division continues as normal.

They are against any suggestion that a new Government support package should be via loans instead of grants, after the League Board circulated all clubs with a range of options.  

Johnson, who has long lobbied for the NL Premier to become the ‘Third ‘Division’ of the EFL, insists: “There is no way you can suspend the season, especially in our division.  

“If you suspend it just for a month, say, all the players will come out of the bubbles and the regimes we’ve worked so hard for so long to keep them safe and start mixing with everyone else.  

“You can’t then just snap your fingers and start playing again.  

“We are under pressure to get all the games in on time anyway.”  

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Johnson, Torquay, who go into Saturday’s game at Notts County eight points clear at the top of the table, and most of their NL Premier rivals obviously want to carry on trying to win promotion to the EFL.  

But the Gulls’ boss added: “Clubs can’t claim to be ‘Elite’ one minute, and not the next.  

“Only two teams in our division are not full-time, and all of them have been trying their hardest to keep the Covid virus down, the odd ones not quite so successful as others, I know.  

“But you can’t stop all that for a while, and then just switch it back on again – everyone knows that.”  

The NL Board, which includes several chairmen of struggling clubs who may favour a suspension, was due to spend Friday deciding on a way forward.