Bodmin boss backs Duchy League’s null and voiding
Bodmin boss backs Duchy League’s null and voiding

AFC Bodmin played just five Duchy League games this season

10th March 2021

By Tom Howe

AFC Bodmin player-manager, Dan Hadley, says the Duchy League was right to abandon their 2020-21 season in light of the ongoing battle against coronavirus.

An email seen by the Voice, distributed by general secretary Derek Walker to member clubs, confirmed ‘the league will not be completing the season and therefore [it] will be null and void’ for a second year on the bounce.

Their conclusion follows a survey of all clubs as to how best to move forward with the campaign. AFC Bodmin themselves, who were bottom of the Premier Division having played just five domestic matches since September, did actually vote to play on in some form.
Hadley admitted, although that was the case, he completely understands why the majority have opted not to continue with the league system and welcomed discussions with teams who did want to play regarding their next steps.

“We voted to play on because obviously we thought the boys would want that,” he told the Voice. “As people though, we didn't think it would go ahead and probably thought it shouldn't go ahead either. There are more important things. We only played five league games and a couple in the cup so we only played [a handful of] times this year and were happy to carry on. I completely understand that a lot of clubs didn’t and I think it was a split decision.

“Logistically, especially if you have a second team and you have to share a pitch and all that sort of stuff, cramming all the games in, spending time at work and with family, I can see why [other clubs have voted for null and void]. I think it is just better to start again in August. We want to play football and all the rest of it but, if you think about it, it just makes sense to wait. That is just our viewpoint.

“We have been talking about when to start training and all of that but there is only so much training you can do before everyone gets bored.

“We want to keep the carrot dangling for everybody but there is no fitness like match fitness, is there? In the last two seasons I think we have played just over a dozen games which is not great but, like I said, there are more important things than football, isn't there? You try telling the 125,000 people that have died and their families that we should be playing football. Put the shoe on the other foot and you can see both sides.

“We are going to work out when to start training and whether we can play in any of these cups and go from there. We have got to wait until the leisure centre reopens which I think is in the middle of April, so we still have to sort out that side of things too.
“All of the boys have been out running and putting their times on our group. We just want to get back out there, especially now the weather is getting a bit better as well. We were bottom [of the league] but we wanted to play on. At the end of the day it is not a high standard of football is it? It doesn't really matter who gets promoted or whatever. It is not the be-all and end-all of life, is it?”

The document sent to clubs confirmed officials will follow the lead of other league committees and ‘have a meeting with Cornwall FA next week to discuss some possibilities of cups’ that would see clubs willing and able to play afforded the opportunity to do so.

The email also stated that the Duchy will ‘not be charging affiliation fees next season for any existing teams’.

“It would be lovely to have [football] back,” continued Hadley. “Everyone is raring to go. We have basically had two seasons without football. Hopefully some of these youngsters will want to play a bit more and get a bit more involved because they are bored of looking at their phones.

“If the Flexi-League carries on I think we have got about eight games still to play so that would be handy for us as a fitness thing and all that to keep us going but we are just waiting on the FA. I suppose they got loads to sort out.”