Call to change Football Mid North Coast's promotion/relegation game

Old Bar's Jayden Mounsey leaves a Wingham defender in his wake.
Old Bar's Jayden Mounsey leaves a Wingham defender in his wake.

NOEL Lanagan has been involved with the administration of Old Bar Barbarians Football Club for more than 20 years.

He has concerns with the timing of Football Mid North Coast's promotion/relegation game and accepted an invitation issued in last week's Inside Sport column in the Times to voice his opinion. Mr Lanagan emphasises that these are his thoughts and not those of the Barbarians.

"As has been pointed out, all the advantage lies with the club applying to enter the premier league competition and it should not be like that,'' he said.

"Since its inception, not one incumbent team has been successful in winning the promotion/relegation game and that is hardly surprising. The onus should be on the club applying to make any necessary concessions. After all, they are the ones applying, no-one forces them to and as it stands they have all of the advantage.

"I'm not having a direct go at (board member) Mike Parsons, however for him to say in the Times on June 27 that 'there have been some different scenarios put forward as to how to play the game, but we believe the way it is works best for us,' is a cop out.

"What part of the process works best for the Football Mid North Coast (FMNC)? The timing of the game? The extra game on grand final day? The 'threatre' of the game, what?

"I have been at every one of these matches in the past three years, although only because I'm working on the barbecue. Apart from those players and spectators whose clubs are involved no-one else shows any interest in a game that kicks off at 10.30am. FMNC should be taking into account what is best for the game as whole, not what's best for them or the theatre of the game. The incumbent team isn't interested in any of that. They just want to play the game without the burden of a month's break.''

It was suggested in Inside Sport that playing a three-game promotion/relegation series would be fairer to the team defending their place in the league. Mr Lanagan disagrees.

"I believe the match should be played the week after the last game of the premier league season, the same weekend the semi-finals start,'' he said.

"FMNC needs to factor this in at the start of the season. There would have to be a week's break from the domestic northern and southern competitions on that date. If no club applies a decision could then be made about the spare weekend.

"If the promotion/relegation game interrupts the Saturday competition then so be it. FMNC is always spruiking that the premier league is their flagship, so they should make it that way.

"As I mentioned, the club applying should be the one to make concessions. So the game should be at the home ground of the premier league team and over 90 minutes only. The team applying has to beat the incumbent. If it's a draw no extra time or penalty shoot outs should be held. The incumbent team stays in.

"In discussions I've had with several people recently there has been some concerns about what would happen with players with yellow and red cards. Yellow cards would not carry over for either side, however if a player committed an offence or offences deemed worthy of being sent off (a red card) then this would be enforced and the player would miss the game.

"At least this process is fair and equitable and would make clubs think about their nomination into the premier league and what the consequences would mean to them. As it is now all the odds are stacked in their favour and they have nothing to lose.''