05:30PM, Thursday 04 March 2021
Windsor manager Mark Cooper believes the FA still plans to implement a major league restructure at their level of the non-league game this summer, and if they do he’s hopeful it will help with the considerable costs of running the football club.
The FA’s intention is to create a new Thames Valley Premier League for clubs like Windsor, Burnham and Flackwell Heath to play in and last year the association said that whatever happened with the coronavirus pandemic this season, it would still take place in 2021.
Cooper hopes this is still the case and points to the crippling cost for clubs in step 5 putting on coaches for half of their away games and travelling big distances to play matches against the likes of Westfield and Bishops Cleeve.
“The FA have spoken about the restricting of leagues at our level so that clubs don’t get the travel they’ve been getting in recent years,” he said. “In the Hellenic League we’ve been going to Westfield and Bishops Cleeve. The cost of that is crippling to clubs when the income at our level is so minimal. Putting on coaches for half of your away games doesn’t help clubs at our level to be self-sustainable.
“There’s talk of there being a Thames Valley Premier League. It would see us play teams that are more in our region, rather than travelling to Gloucestershire and other areas.
“The hope is they’ll do that this summer. They said last year that regardless of what happened this season, that was the plan. If they go ahead with that it will be much better for us. There would be a lot more local games, which is what everyone wants.”
For now, Cooper is just focused on getting the boys back for training again at the end of March.
“Hopefully, we’re four weeks away from getting together as a group again, then there would be two weeks of intensive training, if this competition was to go ahead,” he said.
“If that is done by the end of May, you’ll then have a short off-season, a month or so off, before we come back again.
“It has been testing, but at the same time you can only work within the framework you’ve been given. Everyone is in the same boat and we just have to work on that. We can’t get together but there’s still plenty of chat on the group and everyone is looking forward to getting back as soon as possible. It will be nice to go back in the long summer evenings and get some competitive football in.”
The candidates standing in the upcoming Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner election have outlined their priorities for policing in the region.