Thursday was a bad day for non-league clubs, whose worst fears were confirmed with the cancellation of their seasons.
The Football Association have announced all football below the National League level will be declared null and void because of the coronavirus pandemic.
All leagues from steps three to six on the non-league pyramid – that’s 45 divisions in total – have had all results and league positions expunged.
And there will be plenty of Liverpool fans nervously looking on, with a host of sides with records like the Reds who now won’t win titles or get promoted despite their superb campaigns and big leads at the top of their divisions.
The FA said in a statement that the decision was taken ‘in the best interests on the game’.
“Our primary concern will always be for the safety and welfare of clubs, players, staff, officials, volunteers and supporters during this unprecedented time,’ they said.
“Today’s steps take into account the financial impact during this uncertain period, whilst considering the fairest method on how the sporting outcomes for the season will be decided, with the integrity of the leagues in mind.”
However, plenty of clubs have been left fuming by the decision and also fearing for their futures having had promotion snatched from their grasp.
Jurgen Klopp has already admitted he is a ‘really, really bad loser’ after watching his Liverpool side get knocked out of the Champions League. Can you imagine if the Reds were denied the Premier League title as well?
Liverpool aren’t the only side to take their league by storm this term, and there are even a few teams who have had the chance of recording a historic unbeaten campaign cruelly taken away from them.
talkSPORT.com has taken a look at the sides who have been robbed the most, with their brilliant seasons now erased from the history books.
And perhaps Liverpool fans should be worried, as it could – could – happen to them too, as there’s still no guarantee the Premier League season will be resumed.
South Shields FC:
12 points clear at top of Northern Premier League Premier Division (Step 3)
The 2016/17 FA Vase winners were set for promotion to the National League North at the end of the campaign as they held a big lead over nearest rivals FC United of Manchester in the BetVictor Premier Division.
And they have threatened to take legal action against the FA, with the club’s chairman blasting the decision to end the campaign, having already made plans for their next campaign in the National League North.
Maldon and Tiptree FC:
15 points clear at the top of Isthmian League North Division (Step 4)
It’s been a historic season for the Essex club, who reached the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.
They even sealed a 2-1 triumph over League Two Leyton Orient to progress to the second round, where they were beaten 1-0 at home to League Two side Newport County.
They also boasted a healthy lead at the top of their division and looked certain to achieve promotion to the National League South, but those hopes are now over.
10 points clear of Northern Premier League North West Division (Step 4)
The Cumbrian side, who boast Scott Carson and Glenn Murray as former players and the great Bill Shankly as a former manager, have a long and storied history in the Football League, but their hopes of going a step closer to a possible return have now been shattered.
Stowmarket Town – UNBEATEN:
15 points clear at top of Eastern Counties League Premier Division (Step 5)
Promoted to the Premier Division in the 2016/17 season, Suffolk club Stowmarket were looking to win the league for the first time in their history by an absolute mile, with a stunning record of 23 wins and five draws in 28 games.
How gutting is that.
Westfields FC – UNBEATEN:
13 points clear at top of Hellenic League Premier Division (Step 5)
Another team absolutely flying this season.
The Herefordshire club faced the prospect of extinction 15 years ago, but reached the FA Cup first round proper for the first time in their history in 2016/17 campaign.
They looked well on course to be crowned league champions, but their hopes of a historic title win are now over.
13 points clear at top of Northern League Division One (Step 5)
The County Durham side are a team on the up, having been promoted from Division Two in 2016/17 and made the final of the FA Vase in 2017/18.
They were flying this season and well on their way to following that success up with promotion to the Northern Premier League.
Jersey Bulls – UNBEATEN, 100% RECORD:
20 points clear at top of Combined Counties League Division One (Step 6)
Jersey are the team with the closest lead to Liverpool’s in the Premier League, so imagine having that brilliant campaign taken away from you.
The Channel islanders won all 27 of their Division One matches and were mathematically guaranteed promotion, which has now been cruelly denied.
The club are not taking no for an answer, though, and are demanding answers from the FA.
Vauxhall Motors FC:
16 points clear at top of North West Counties League Division One South (Step 6)
Established as the works team of Vauxhall Motors’ assembly plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, the club withdrew from the Conference North in 2014 over rising finances and have been working their way up from the bottom again.
But their quest for promotion to the Northern Premier League has ended without the victory they deserved for a brilliant season.
14 points clear at top of Hellenic League Division One East (Step 6)
The Buckinghamshire club wee enjoying one of their best campaigns in their 49-year history but, like the other clubs on this list, they’ll just have to go again next year.
14 points clear at top of Midland Football League Division One (Step 6)
Only founded in 2014 after old Hinckley United folded, they Leicestershire club were enjoying their best campaign too, but those 25 wins and 14 gap at the top have all been for nothing.
They, like all non-league sides, will be hoping they make up for this ruined campaign by pushing on next term, whenever football is allowed to return.
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