United boss Gary ‘disappointed’ as season brought to an end

Torquay United manager Gary Johnson 'disappointed' with league decision PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK

Torquay United manager Gary Johnson 'disappointed' with league decision PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK - Credit: Steve Bond/Pinnacle

Torquay United boss Gary Johnson gives his verdict on season shutdown

TORQUAY United manager Gary Johnson says the Vanarama National League's decision to end the current football season now, in the face of the Coronavirus shutdown, is 'a big disappointment'.

It was announced on Wednesday that 'a clear majority' of clubs have voted to accept the league board's recommendation not to play the remaining games up to this weekend's last round of regular-season fixtures.

How other key issues, like promotion and relegation, will be resolved will now come under 'careful and timely consideration'. There may be another vote on those matters.

In a strong hint that Torquay, in mid-table but with an outside chance of the Play-Offs, wanted to play their last ten matches if possible, Johnson said: 'It's a big disappointment to me.

'I am disappointed for my players, staff and all the supporters.

'Of course I understand that there is a greater challenge happening in our society, and all our efforts at the moment need to go into tackling it.

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'But my view was always about the hope of playing again when it was safe to do so.

'Did the National League really have to go out on a limb, and make their decision before the Football League and the Premier League?

'We were the last league to finish playing and now we are the first one to end the season.

'Does this decision affect the integrity of the competition? I think it does.

'Clubs had to take part in this first vote without knowing what the result was going to lead to.

'Now it will depend on what options they are given in a second vote.'

Johnson stressed: 'At Torquay United we have got to make sure we come out of this positively.'

He revealed that he and United's chief executive officer George Edwards are due to hold a 'conference' meeting on Thursday to draw up the club's plans for the rest of the summer and preparations for the 2020-2021 season.

'We have let our players and our staff know that we will start talking to them as soon as possible with the results of our discussions,' he said.

The league reported that 90 per cent of the votes had been cast, but that the result would not be changed however the other 10 per cent might go.

NL chief executive Mike Tattersall said: 'At a time when the entire country is wrestling with the devastating impact of Covid-19, the cancellation of the remaining normal season matches brings a degree of certainty to our clubs coping with the business implications of the virus.'