James calls for clarity as Blues opt out of cup competition

Burnham striker Gavin James


Burnham manager Ash James has said there needs to be more clarity and information from the league about a proposed Hellenic Cup competition this spring before the Blues can agree to sign up to it.

For the time being the club has voted against taking part, however, James said that if the competition could be delayed to allow supporters to attend matches, they could still be interested.

The Hellenic League hopes to run the competition from mid-April to the end of May, and Windsor boss Mark Cooper said recently that the Royalists would be interested in taking part.

However, he and James have both admitted the difficulty in staging matches without at least some income from supporters to offset costs.

The Hellenic Premier Division season has now been officially curtailed, but at the time of going to press no official decision has been taken on whether to null and void the results. It seems the league still hopes that some form of promotion and relegation can be maintained to enable a wider restructure of the league to take place this summer ahead of the new season.

“There is still some talk of promotion, but it’s all still up in the air,” said James this week. “We also had a vote about the cup competition, and they asked us all who wanted to take part in it.

“As a club we wanted to, but it wasn’t clear when it would take place in terms of dates and we just felt there wasn’t enough information, so we have voted against it for now.

“Before, I said it would be good to have a cup competition when the fans are back in to get some revenue in, but I think this would be without fans so what is the point in rushing it?

“We’ve got the go-ahead to train again from the end of this month and we can arrange to play friendlies from then and there won’t be any pressure from the league to play this many games by a certain date. The lads would be alright playing without getting money, but we would rather just do it properly.

“Let’s wait until the fans return and then it’s going to help everyone.

“At the moment it feels like everything is being rushed, but, if they come up with something that’s clearer, and there’s still time for us to get involved then who knows what will happen.”

James added that if the club opts not to take part in the Hellenic competition, it could look to stage its own round-robin event in late spring, early summer in order to get some fans back through the turnstiles ahead of next season.

For now though James said that the focus was simply on getting the squad back together for informal and relaxed training sessions from the start of April, with a few to staging a few friendlies in the coming months.

“I think we’ll get everyone back involved, just have a few training sessions and start building up friendlies from there,” he said.

“It’s not going to be anything too extreme; it’s probably going to be one session a week to begin with just to get the lads back together.

“We’ll have some time to rebuild before the new season, and in terms of the league, there could be a restructure, so we’ll just have to see what happens with that as well. I think they’re still deciding on promotion because for the restructure to happen I think we might need a few more local teams in the league. So, there might need to be a couple of teams promoted from the league below to make that work and allow us to go in that direction.”

“That could affect the players we bring in with regards to location. When May comes about, we’ll start to look at getting friendlies booked in and things like that.

“There are some exciting things happening behind the scenes and I see no reason why next season can’t be an exciting one for us.”

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