New non-league football season may start on first Saturday of October

Hopes have emerged that non-league football could be ready to start its new season on Saturday, October 3.

Bognor and Worthing meet at Nyewood Lane last January - might both be starting their new Isthmian premier campaigns on October 3? Picture: Tommy McMillan
Bognor and Worthing meet at Nyewood Lane last January - might both be starting their new Isthmian premier campaigns on October 3? Picture: Tommy McMillan

The date has been talked about as a possible 2020-21 season-opening day by the board of the Isthmian League.

And it's not unreasonable to think all step three and four leagues - and possibly leagues above and below, such as the National League and Southern Combination League - may all look to start at the same time, or certainly very close to it.

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The date was spoken about by Bognor Regis Town general manager Simon Cook in an interview with Rocks programme editor Daniel Storey.

Asked if September was a time when fans could expect the new season to start, or whether other start dates were more likely, Cook said: "We discussed this yesterday at our monthly Isthmian League board meeting.

"We still await government permission to reopen, but it is looking increasingly likely that Isthmian League football may commence on Saturday 3 October - although any spikes or increase in the rates of infection could easily put this in jeopardy.

"We do still need advice from the FA and government on what safety measure we will need to adopt. We cannot estimate what these may cost us at this stage but it is likely that it will be a struggle financially for all clubs at this level."

Cook said the Rocks were due to start proper pre-season training on Monday, August 3, although he said coach Robbie Blake had been able to do some fitness work with individual players.

He also praised fans and backers who had raised £42,000 towards Bognor's ground improvements and said the new 367-seat stand was on course to be completed in September.