Down but not out as Stevenage chairman vows he is ready for more battles
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Phil Wallace has not ruled out a legal challenge in protest of Stevenage’s relegation out of the Football League.
Boro were confirmed as finishing bottom of League Two and heading towards the National League when Macclesfield Town’s outstanding FA charge for non-payment of players resulted in a two-point penalty, not enough to drop them to the foot of the table.
And speaking on the club website, the chairman of the Lamex Stadium-based side was not totally ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat.
He said: “It is what it is. We will be looking closely at that with our legal advisors this coming week when we see the reasons and we will have to see where it goes from there.
“Is it over? No, it’s most definitely not.
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“However, if relegation happens then we will take our place in the National League and focus on being an exemplary member of that league while trying to regain our EFL status.
“I have lost all the sleep I am going to lose over a forced, artificial relegation and I am now focused on the fact that I had 10 good years in the Conference so I have absolutely no problem embracing that again.
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“The crucial thing is that we get winning back in our Stevenage DNA again, whether that is in League Two or the National League and that we stay as one team – directors, management, players and fans.”
Macclesfield’s punishment, which included a £20,000 fine as well as the points deduction, was the determination of an independent disciplinary commission and took the amount deducted this season for breaches of EFL regulations up to 13.
It related to a failure to play players in March with the two-point penalty a result of a suspended sanction given in May.
The panel also ruled that a further four points should be deducted but suspended and only activated if the Silkmen fail to pay their players during the new season.
Aside from any legal fight, the decision to relegate Boro is not definite yet as discussions are still taking place with the National League, with the EFL seeking assurances they will be able to start a new season.
And looking forward, Stevenage supremo Wallace is all too well aware that the club have another fight on their hand, one of a financial nature after the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
And he accepts that the hurdle could be huge when they finally get back to playing, “no matter which league we are in”.
“It will just be a much bigger hurdle with relegation,” he admitted.
“We will continue to fight, but if we are relegated by artificial means, then it won’t be for the want of trying to ensure fair play and sporting integrity.
“Our signings this season will have to be staggered as we have no idea when we will start playing again but we have pencilled August 1 as our date to resume training and a September 12 start to the new season.
“That move will be costly if we have to embrace the testing protocols and bring our players and staff back from furlough without income.
“To be frank, I am not sure we have the funds to survive for long if we are forced to play matches with no income.
“We will need all the help we can get from our fans and the Stevenage community to ensure our club survives this crisis.
“We are OK for the moment but the crunch time will come when furlough is no longer available, as that is our only source of income right now.”