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Silver lining as league decides final standings

By Nick Elwell | Grassroots | Published:

The Wolverhampton Sunday League will have a roll of honour for the 2019/20 season after their clubs voted against voiding the campaign.

The Football Association called a halt to all grassroots football last month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But leagues and local FAs were given the opportunity to decide how their seasons finished.

The Wolverhampton Sunday League committee sent out a letter to all their clubs offering them two options, which were to decide league placings on a points per game calculation or to expunge all results and have no relegation or promotion.

And the clubs voted 31-14 in favour of a points per game system, meaning there will be some end of season silverware dished out.

Warstones Wanderers Sunday came out on top of the pile after being confirmed as Premier Division champions with Codsall Legion Sundats claiming second spot.

FC Academy Boys, who had won 13 and drawn one of the their 14 games, were unsurprisingly the top dogs in Division One.

But who picks up the runners-up honours is still undecided due to a discipline issue that needs to be resolved by the league’s committee.

Churchill Royal Oak had done enough to clinch the Division Two title before the action was brought to a halt, with Black Country Fusion second.

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Unbeaten duo Sandwell Athletic (champions) and Ryan Rhinos (runners-up) claimed the spoils in Division Three.

In Division Four, Golden Lion, who had plundered 115 goals in 13 games, took the honours with Balls to Cancer second.

League secretary Phil Reade was delighted with the outcome of the vote and relieved to see the clubs’ efforts rewarded.

“Some leagues have followed what the FA did and that was to null and void the season and expunge all the results and points,” said Reade.

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“But we wanted to give the clubs the chance to decide how the season finished. And they voted to go with a points per game system.

Churchill Royal Oak will pick up some silverware after claiming the Division Two title

“As a league, we feel that teams should get some sort of recognition for all the hard work they have put in from September up until March 15, which was the last weekend we played.

“Why shouldn’t they be given a winner’s medal or runners-up medal?

“We felt that it was only right that we gave the clubs the chance to vote on what they wanted to do. At the end of the day, it’s their league. All we do is form the committee to run it.

“The committee has worked hard. We took our time, thought long and hard and didn’t make any rash decisions.

“We did what we thought was best for the league and the clubs. Hopefully the clubs will appreciate what we have done.

“The template we were given by the FA was very good. It’s a fair system to use and straightforward. It worked out well.

“The only issue still to be decided is in Division One. We can’t confirm the

runners-up spot yet because there is a discipline issue that needs to be looked at by the committee when we can meet again.”

Reade also pledged the league will consider requests from some sides who may want to drop down a level despite having finished outside the relegation spots.

“Some sides who have had a bad season and finished third from bottom, might want to drop down next season,” said Reade.

“And that will be looked at by the league. We listen to teams sympathetically.

“It’s their league and rather than us rule with an iron bar and say ‘no, you will do this’, we listen to them.”

And the league are hopeful that further silverware will be handed out in August.

The line-ups for four cup finals – Tom Bird Cup, Mac Webb Cup, BP Roberts Cup and GA Evans Cup – have been decided and the plan is to play those games in August, before the start of next season.

“The plan is to hopefully play the four cup finals, where the finalists had already been decided, in August,” added Reade.

“But that obviously depends on the situation with coronavirus and the government’s guidelines.

“We won’t be able to complete the other competitions. We won’t have time to play quarter-finals and semi-finals.

“All being well, those cup finals will be able to take place at Wolverhampton Casuals’ ground.

“We are very pleased that Casuals have offered us the use of their facility.

“Their season finished in March and their ground has been shut so they have missed out on some revenue.

“Similarly, we were also pleased that we could offer our business to Wolverhampton Trophy Shop.

“We like to help local companies and a lot of businesses have been hit due to the coronavirus.

Scheduled cup finals (all games to be played at Wolverhampton Casuals): August 7, Tom Bird Cup – Wolves Pride v VW Punjab; August 14 Mac Webb Cup – Churchill Royal Oak v Tipton Town; August 21, BP Roberts Cup – Russell Athletic v Sandwell Athletic; August 28, GA Evans Cup – Royal FC v Warstones Wanderers Sunday August 28.

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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