Like all other sportsmen and women at this moment in time, Josh Casey simple can’t wait until his sport resumes at some point again this year.
The Woking Captain must mix playing football as well as working full time and is one of many semi-professional footballers who choose to go down this path.
I recently caught up with Josh and started by asking him if he is keeping himself busy. “I’ve got work to do still during the day, and then we are managing to do work outs and things like that to keep ticking over, so it’s a really busy time albeit a very uncertain time.”
Before the temporary stoppage of the season, Woking found themselves just three points outside a play-off place. “We were really close, we were starting to play well and put a string of good performances together. It did seem like everything was beginning to click for us and we were hitting form at a good time” he said. “It’s frustrating obviously to be so close to the play-offs with just a few games left you want to have that opportunity to finish off the season, whether we get that now, remains to be seem, but obviously there is more important things going on, but it would be great just to finish the season and see where we ended up.”
As regards to what happens next in the season, Josh realises that The National League have a difficult decision to make. “They’re in an impossible situation because whatever they decide there will be some people who are unhappy with it.” I think if you look at the first option the null and void, no one wants that really, no one would really benefit from that as it’s horrible as all that effort for nine-ten months of the season, people have invested a lot of money, people have spent a lot of time travelling especially fans, for that to just be sort of wiped from the records and to count for nothing would be difficult to take.”
“The one option that everyone wants to do is to finish the season and if it means next season is delayed slightly then so be it. I think that finishing the season has to be the preferred option, it does depend logistically on what happens in the country and the situation as to if that would be possible. If we get to a stage in June-July the lockdown is lifting and we can start to play games then I think we should try and finish the season and the FA come out and say registrations wouldn’t be able to be made and players couldn’t move clubs until this season had finished and contracts automatically extended decision made by the FA, that’s what I would want.”
The possibility of games eventually being played behind closed doors doesn’t appeal to the Woking skipper. “As a player the fans are the main part of football and they are what you want. Playing behind closed doors would not be fun and it would take out a huge part of why we play football”. I also think that you would struggle with is clubs at our level rely on the revenue from fans coming into the stadiums and I don’t know how financially clubs would be able to cope with that and if that was the plan would there be subsidies or reimbursements or it could cripple some clubs. The Premier League clubs would cope fine with it, but non-league would struggle.”
Casey went on to add “It’s difficult because you have clubs who rely on the money that’s generated and have still got similar expenditure in this period but no income, you have then got clubs that will use this as an excuse to cut costs and not pay players as we have seen in other leagues, even in our league, it’s a difficult situation for everyone and I just hope that people will look back on it and say that they did the right thing, not just financially but morally.” You look at Premier Leagues club now, I think it’s an absolute disgrace, yes they’re entitled to it financially but morally it’s completely the wrong thing to do.” There are decisions to be made in our league and I just hope that the people who are making the decisions can look themselves in the eye afterwards and are happy with how they have behaved.” It’s easy to point fingers and say players should take pay cuts, but a lot of power rests with the decision makers in the game, and they need to make sure they are doing the right thing.”
With no money coming it, this is certainly worrying times for all clubs, with the possibility of some even going out of business. “That is not want you to see said Casey, it would be an absolute disaster, there needs to be something in place to protect these clubs and help them not to go bust. There is a lot of money in football, there is so much money floating around and some of it does need to make its way down to those clubs, it shouldn’t necessary be the government or the tax payer that is bailing out these clubs it should be in my mind other football clubs that help them.”
Full interview with Josh Casey