Following the decision from the FA to null and void the season at steps 3 to 6, we caught up with Walthamstow manager Max Mitchell as he spoke about his thoughts on the decision, how the squad will look next season and Stow’s promotion push during the 2020/21 season.
How are you feeling following the FA’s decision about the 2019/20 season?
Since the decision was made I’ve had a few days to think about it and I’ve tried to take the emotion out of it on our end, which was very difficult to do given how strong a position we were in.
All the hard work that the players and the club have been through this season… it’s a real tough one to take. There’s a real level of uncertainty on when this is going to end, so I think it’s hard to judge whether it’s been the right or wrong decision.
Having said that, we’re only at the back-end of March and for me, football and decisions like this can wait and be put on hold at least until the end of the season where there might be a clearer picture.
I can only imagine what kind of pressure is on leagues like ours at the moment during these unprecedented times. It’s something that has never happened before so I do feel for them.
I think in all honesty the decision has been made so we just have to park it as there’s a far more serious issue out there at the moment.
Football should always takes a back seat when it comes to someone’s health, let alone the country’s!
Other than null and voiding, the other choice was points per game which would have seen Walthamstow promoted in second. Do you think that would have been fairer?
I’m content in knowing the fact we would have been promoted if it was on PPG but having said that with a lot of games still to be played. I really fancied our chances on winning the league outright, as we all know, anything can happen during the business end of the season and with Saffron Waldens and Hashtag playing each other at the end of the season someone was going to drop points.
It’s easy for me to say yes as it would have put us in that position of promotion but to someone else it wouldn’t be so it’s a real tough one.
How different will Walthamstow look come next season?
I’m happy with the squad we have at Walthamstow. They have shown real unity and togetherness in such a short space of time and I know they’re hurting right now. People forget we have only been there for six weeks and we have covered off a lot during that period.
I’m happy with the progression of the team and the players that make up the squad. Pre-season will be interesting when it comes around. We have been consistent in our performance this year and the winning mentality will never change.
With more time and a pre-season it will give us the opportunity to develop our identity. What I will say is I do like my teams to play a certain way and that’s an exciting style of football which will be worked on religiously over the course of pre-season and next year’s campaign.
How difficult will it be to go again and try to win promotion?
I think it’s difficult whatever league you’re in, but it’s doable. We talk about consistency fairly often and the players this year have shown that which is a good sign.
It will be interesting to see what position clubs are in after this finishes everywhere around the country. I hope there isn’t a knock-on effect that sees club diminish due to its cash flow problems etc and I hope the FA/leagues can support with this at some point as there are some real honest and hardworking clubs at this level and the levels that have been affected.
I just hope no one falls away because of it. What I will say is will try to implement our culture here early on which we have done in some way already and try to put the players in the right environment for us as a club to be successful. The rest is down to the players.
Do you have a message for the Rabble and those who have come to watch this season?
A real big thank you goes out to every single one of you. I look back at the Saffron Walden game & the Hashtag one. Your support was unmatched in both.
Although I have been here a short time your loyalty all season has never faltered and I can first hand say how important it is to the players and the staff at this football club. I’m really excited about the new season whenever that may be!
Hopefully, we can pay back that loyalty next year with what we have planned, instead of having one hand on the ESL will try to make sure we have two.
In the meantime, Stay Home & Stay Safe 💙