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Blackfield & Langley Left Frustrated

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Blackfield & Langley chairman Owen Lightfoot says frustration with the Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) has…..

….contributed to money man Sam Davies’ imminent departure from the reigning Premier Division champions.

Although director of football Davies has not totally severed his ties at Gang Warily, Lightfoot confirmed to the Daily Echo: “Sam has indicated he’ll be finishing towards the end of the season.

“He’s stepped into the background and we’ve got to start looking at other arrangements.

“He’ll be around for a while, but he won’t have any involvement with the club or the team other than the bit of financial backing that’s there until later.

“There might be a bit of a budget reduction and, over the next two months, the committee will look at which way the club’s going to go.”

While the timing of Davies’s decision surprised Lightfoot, coming midway through a season when B&L are going strong in the league and FA Vase, he admitted: “Personally, I had an indication he’d be stepping down and looking for greener pastures because he’s not enjoying football at the moment and feels he’s wasting his time.

“It’s as if it doesn’t matter what we say and do as clubs anymore because there’s no backing from the Wessex League – and the Sholing situation puts it in a nutshell.

“How can a club say they’re coming out of the league above because they’re finding it expensive and then in the next breath say they’re looking to go back up? It makes a complete farce of it.

“I think a lot of people were disillusioned by that Sholing coming back in, but the Wessex League said they had to because the FA said so.

“Sam felt strongly that if Sholing did come down, there should have been penalties and either they should have gone into Division One or had a load of points deducted.

“But the precedent has been set and if more teams wanted to come back to the Wessex Premier from leagues above it would mean others having to go down to Wessex One. Sam said ‘is that fair?’”

Sholing are one of four clubs to have applied for promotion with AFC Portchester, Newport (IoW) and Winchester City.

Blackfield considered applying but opted against it.

For one thing, it would cost them in excess of £20,000 to achieve Southern League ground grading.

Lightfoot – nearly fifty years a B&L man – said: “We’ve got an issue with the floodlights which we can resolve for £10,000. But recent storm damage to our fence has maybe put that on hold as that’s another £10,000.

“We’ve also got to have two turnstiles and a stand to seat 350 – all to get 150 people in!

“The Wessex committee say this is FA ground grading, but surely they should tell the FA that they’re setting the standards too high.”

Asked if a Blackfield player exodus was imminent, Lightfoot said: “They seem to be okay. I can only talk as an ex-player, but if I was in their situation I’d be thinking ‘where else can I go and play in the last thirty-two of the Vase?’ “I’ve spoken to manager Glenn Burnett and we’ve been honest with each other. He’s ambitious, but assures me he’ll be here looking at what can be done.

“Everyone’s more than pleased with what Glenn’s done this year and he’ll at least see it out to the end of the season.”


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