Hastings United on track to come out of lockdown all guns blazing

Hastings United’s wait for the verdict on their season is dragging on – but they have vowed to come out of the latest shutdown stronger than ever.
Jack Dixon in action for Hastings Utd earlier this season / Picture: Scott WhiteJack Dixon in action for Hastings Utd earlier this season / Picture: Scott White
Jack Dixon in action for Hastings Utd earlier this season / Picture: Scott White

There is still no sign of a decision on whether the non-league season for clubs at step three and below will be terminated, or whether proposals put forward by Project Non-League will be adopted.

This is the idea that results from two unfinished seasons – 2019-20 and 20-21 – should be used to work out points-per-game tables and award promotion places to teams who have shown over the two campaigns they deserve it.

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It’s a plan Hastings United understandably back: they would be clear winners of the Isthmian south-east division under the proposals and would take their place in the Isthmian premier for 21-22.

But even though several weeks have passed since step three to six clubs were asked for their views on how to conclude the season, United are no nearer knowing whether Project Non League’s scheme will be approved.

Hastings chief executive Billy Wood said: “We’ve heard nothing and it’s very frustrating.

“Votes have gone back to the FA and we believe the Trident leagues have the results of the survey and have met, but we are none the wiser about what happens next.

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“It’s tough but I remain hopeful a bit of common sense, and an endeavour to freshen things up for next season, will come through.

“In the meantime all we can do is ensure the players and everyone else at the club are okay, and make sure that as a club we tick over and come out all guns blazing when we can.”

A new deal for first-team manager Chris Agutter will help them hit the ground running when they do return.

And Wood said income streams put in place over the past 12 to 18 months – such as the sale of hundreds of replica shirts – were helping keep club finances in a good state.

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As reported last week, the club have described the prospect of a £15,000 government grant as a drop in the ocean. Wood said he hoped all Sussex clubs came through the pandemic and its lockdowns.

“We need football to be strong at all levels across the region, right down to intermediate level,” he said.