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Fakenham Town president speaks of his disappointment after club are denied promotion

Fakenham Town president Simon Barnes has spoken of his disappointment after seeing the club denied promotion to the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division on goal difference.

Although the 2020/21 campaign was ended early due to coronavirus, the Ghosts were hoping to make the step up after the FA Council approved plans to ‘upwardly move’ 110 clubs at Steps 5-7 in a restructuring across the non-league game.

In the Step 6 Eastern Counties League First Division North, where Fakenham play, combined points per game from the 2019/20 & 2020/21 seasons were used to select which clubs could apply.

Fakenham - Fakenham Town Football Club Clipbush Park. (46685107)
Fakenham - Fakenham Town Football Club Clipbush Park. (46685107)

The Ghosts, who were unbeaten and top of the First Division North when the season was curtailed, had an identical record to March Town over the two seasons, but the Hares were awarded the third promotion slot by virtue of scoring two goals more.

Both Fakenham Town and Downham Town are next in line for promotion should Lakenheath, Mulbarton Wanderers or March Town refuse to go up or fail to meet ground grading requirements.

Clubs now have until Monday to apply for ‘upward movement’, with the FA sub-committee meeting during the week of May 10 to approve applications.

Barnes said: “If you are told at the start of the season that four teams will be going up, why should that change?

“To finish on the same points-per-game and for goal difference to come down to goals scored over two half completed seasons, I feel that both clubs should have been promoted.

“We enjoyed a tremendous FA Vase run this season and had several league games postponed because of it.

“Had we gone out of the Vase early and played a couple of more league games then that would have probably made the difference.”

Barnes added: “We had a three-year plan in place at the club when Andy Cunningham took over as manager.

“We probably weren’t ready to go up the first season but this year everything was geared towards promotion and now we’ve got to go and do it all again next season.

“I feel so sorry for Andy (Cunningham), the players, the committee, all of our volunteers and the supporters.”

The Fakenham president was the first to congratulate the three rival club’s on their elevation.

“I’m so pleased for the three teams who are being promoted,” said Barnes.

“They are three great clubs who are run by great people.

“They fully deserve to go up and I wish them all the best for next season.”

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