Keeping busy on PEPF

It may look as if things may have gone a little quiet on the Prince Edward front since last week’s announcement that Barnet would be leaving Underhill, but that would be far from the situation.

We have been pressing contacts on a range of fronts. As a result I have an informal meeting with a prominent Harrow councillor in the coming days to discuss Wealdstone FC and the site. Others have also been making and renewing contacts with some of the other main players. I think we are going about our business sensibly and quietly, initially we need to find out what the situation is with the site and whether anything has changed or is likely to.

I have also been interviewed by the Harrow Observer so expect some comments to go be in the paper on Thursday.

We have also pulled together a group of people from the Club with a range of skills to get involved as necessary.

It is particularly pleasing to have some dialogue directly with Harrow Council as this was an avenue that appeared closed to us previously.

More news in due course.


PEPF latest developments

Over the past 24 hours we have learnt through the media of Barnet FC’s potential move into the Prince Edward Playing Field for next season.

Obviously this news raises many questions that we need to have answered, either by the London Borough of Harrow, or from Barnet Holdings / FC.

To be clear the only thing that has passed planning – that we are aware – with regard to the building of a stadium on the site is that one would be built to house Wealdstone FC to match the standard we are playing at that time. To this point the conditions have not been right for either Wealdstone FC or Barnet Holdings to build that stadium. Our understanding is that it is not permitted to build a football league standard stadium on the site.

We are unaware whether this has changed and if any new planning permission has superseded this, although Mr Kleanthous / Barnet FC appear to be saying this is now in place.

We have never given up our right to have a stadium built on site and although there have not been any recent conversations with Barnet, given previous planning regulations we would have expected to have been advised if things had changed. 

So we will be contacting the Council in particular to understand what has changed and where this leaves Wealdstone FC. When we have more information we will report back.

Is the FA Trophy worth anything these days?

I tweeted this morning that it was a shame that more Blue Square Bet Premier clubs were apparently not taking the FA Trophy seriously, this followed defeats for the likes of Fleetwood, Wrexham, Tamworth, Hayes & Yeading and Mansfield to lower league oppostion while Kidderminster, Stockport, York City also failed to beat clubs hailing from lower levels of the pyramid. All this weekend’s FA Trophy results are here.

Clearly some of these clubs have their eyes on bigger prizes, promotion to the Football League or for Fleetwood (as for Chelmsford City who also went out yesterday) a big FA Cup 2nd round replay due this coming week. But still…

By my reckoning only 11 Blue Square Bet Premier clubs are definitely through to the 2nd Round (though 2 more will be through after all BSBP replays) and the 3 above may get through their replays – meaning that it is very possible that less than half the Clubs at the last 32 stage will be from outside the top level of non league football.

To me reaching and winning a Wembley Cup Final is a highlight; for a fan, for a player, for a manager or coach or for a Club official yet many Clubs now deem it not important enough to bother about, with promotion or avoiding relegation now all important.

I have to say I understand that in some cup competitions it is an opportunity to give squad players a game, where winning is not that important, where avoiding potential fixture congestion later on in the season means getting knocked out of a cup is not always such a big deal.

Few clubs will ever accept that getting knocked out was their aim. They’ll say “we picked a team to win this game” which means “I wanted to give some of the other lads a run out and am not really bothered by this game”.

I have to think this is short sighted. Yes there are probably too many lessor cups that non league clubs have to play in – look at how many ‘bigger’ teams got knocked out in the Middlesex Senior Cup last week. But remember, the FA Cup is over for most non league clubs by October or early November so is it asking too much to play your strongest side in the Trophy? Imagine if we had taken that view in the early round of the FA Trophy in 1985?

Taking cup competitions easy is a modern phenomena that has clearly filtered down from the pro game – and it is not welcome.

Of course it might mean that clubs like Wealdstone have a chance of a run, of a giant killing against a Conference Club’s second string which we’d gladly accept of course. But for those clubs, especially those left in the competition, you’ve got a real chance of glory this season. Take it – it’ll be one of the best things you ever do.