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Halesowen Town boss Paul Smith bitterly disappointed over season cancellation

By Matt Maher | Halesowen Town FC | Published:

Boss Paul Smith expressed his bitter disappointment after Halesowen Town’s promotion hopes were dashed by the FA.

Paul Smith

English football’s governing body yesterday confirmed no more football will be played beneath the National League level this season, while also declaring the campaign null and void.

The latter decision came as a hammer blow to the Yeltz, who sat second in Southern League Division One with a game in hand on leaders Berkhamsted when matches were halted due to the coronavirus. They would have finished top had the final table been determined on a points-per-game basis, as some clubs wanted.

Though Halesowen’s hopes of reaching Wembley in the FA Trophy remain alive, with the FA confirming their desire to complete the competition, Smith admitted the sudden end to what promised to be a truly memorable campaign was tough to take.

He said: “It’s bitterly disappointing for everyone at the club and if I thought too much about the ‘what ifs?’ it would probably tear me apart.

“I think the important thing is people remember just how good the season was up to the point it finished.

“If I am being honest, I don’t quite understand how a season which was 75 per cent complete can now have counted for nothing.

“But I guess the FA had to make a decision one way or another and there will have been clubs at the other end of the table quite happy with it.”

The FA’s decision has directly impacted on a host of Midlands non-league clubs though Kidderminster Harriers, who play in the National League North, are still waiting to learn how their season will be concluded.

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Halesowen were due to face Concord Rangers in a two-legged FA Trophy semi-final this month following an extraordinary run to the competition’s last four.

Smith, who has engineered a turnaround at the Grove since joining the club last summer, added: “The good news is we still have the Trophy to look forward to at some point, so the season may not be a complete write-off.

“I do think it is important we recognise how far the come over the past 12 months.

“I talked a lot of players into dropping down a level last summer with the promise we would be back up there within a year. Now we have to do another season at this level.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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