STALYBRIDGE Celtic chairman and majority shareholder Rob Gorski believed non-league football would have died without coronavirus measures introduced by the Government with his club confronted by the threat of administration.
“At least 10 or 15 clubs in the Northern Premier League would have gone to the wall without Government intervention and we could have been one of them,” he said.“There is no question without Government help, we would have struggled enormously.
“I struggle to compliment Prime Minister Boris Johnson but without his and Rishi Sunak’s intervention, non-league football would have died now.
“The Premier League and especially the FA and even our own league committee, I believe have sold us down the river. The National Leagues have also looked after their own three leagues and have not given a second thought to levels three to seven.
“The Premier League and FA spout platitudes but have done sweet ‘FA’ for clubs further down the pyramid.
“Moreover, the FA’s decision to expunge the results from levels three to seven shows not just the vision of a bat but the contempt for lower league clubs and shows the inconsistency they apply to the game that they allegedly govern.
“In my opinion, they have lamentably failed us and they should all walk, something I would tell them to their faces
“I know there are controversial things to say, but I am livid because the NPL management committee and FA have jeopardised the future of clubs.”
Mr Gorski was highly critical of the NPL management committee, pointing out they were presented with four options which involved terminating or extending the season but chose the worst one.
“In their wisdom the NPL voted to terminate the league now leaving is with no income yet the FA had already told us we were duty bound to honour contracts,” he explained.
Mr Gorski would have favoured waiting until June before deciding to abandon the season.
He said: “They made a decision and there is no way back.
“The Premier League, English Football League and National League have all said, ‘let’s hold fire which is how it ought to have been done’.”
Of Celtic’s plight, Mr Gorski revealed manager Simon Haworth and the players have been placed on furlough while the club has applied for a small business grant and exemption from business rates.
He continued: “Clearly terminating the season prematurely has had a profound effect on the club financially.
“We have lost gate receipts, all matchday income and money from Oldham RLFC.
“Without the Government’s intervention enabling us to claim for grants and offering to reimburse companies up to 80 per cent of employees’ incomes, our club would have been alongside hundreds of others that would have gone into administration.
“However, I’m pleased to say that that is not the case for us. We are applying for every possible grant available and the directors are spending more time on day-to-day issues than we would ordinarily as the paperwork is long and the legal aspects quite complex.
“We are systematically ploughing through everything to ensure that the players are eventually paid as much as we can, as quickly as we can and that the club moves forward too.
“For the players, I’m sure this is a time of uncertainty and anxiety but once we have all our financial ducks in a row and the Government is ready to reimburse, then they will be paid.”
Mr Gorski described the emotion of earlier telling the players the club was not in a position to pay them.
“It was my lowest hour as chairman of the football club and I found it distressing,” he said.
Mr Gorski praised supporters for their help in Celtic’s hour of need.
He said: “With regards to the fans, once again the club is truly indebted to you and your generosity.
“Of course every individual will be feeling insecure about the economy, their jobs and their own situation, but the club has already received over £1,200 of desperately needed donations and we all sincerely thank you all for your support.
“There are 101 reasons why I prefer non-league football over the overpaid prima donnas who could give one week of their wages and save a football club, and people’s generosity in a time of crisis is one of them.
“The board would like to say a heartfelt thank you. Although grants are a potential survival lifeline, we are certainly not out of the woods yet and we will continue to welcome all contributions.”