Brackley boss Wilkin unimpressed with 'non-elite' tag

Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin. Picture by Jake McNultyBrackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin. Picture by Jake McNulty
Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin. Picture by Jake McNulty
Kevin Wilkin believes whoever decided to brand Step 2 football as ‘non-elite’ needs to take in some matches at the level.

Any hopes Brackley Town had of competing in the National League North play-offs look to be disappearing with clubs set to vote on a set of proposals to finally bring the season to a conclusion after the Covid-19 outbreak.

It’s understood that the play-offs will still go ahead in the National League but in North and South only the champions, determined by points per game ratio, will be promoted.

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Voting is taking place until Monday when a final decision is expected and Brackley boss Wilkin accepts the play-offs are now out of the question.

But that seems to have come about due to the government’s current policy of only allowing ‘elite sport’ to resume, with Step 2 football not included.

The Department of Culture of Media and Sport’s definition doesn’t apply to part-time sport.

And that is something that doesn’t sit well with the Saints manager.

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“I am not sure that whoever describes our level as ‘non-elite’ has a grasp and an understanding of the level that these boys play at, let alone the time and commitment they put into it,” Wilkin said.

“Okay, there are some smaller clubs like ourselves at the level but how anyone can describe clubs like York, Darlington and Hereford as being ‘non-elite’ clubs is beyond me to be honest. Whoever is using that terminology needs to revisit it.

“There are full-time clubs at our level and boys who commit an awful lot of time to it and discipline themselves to take part in the competition.

“We have seen in the FA Cup, for example, clubs at our level and even the levels below who are competing with full-time sides when they get the opportunity and that just emphasises the point that these players are working to a professional standard.

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“I just think whoever in the government has called it ‘non-elite’ would need to perhaps go along to a couple of matches and go and see the standard of the play and the size of the crowds and maybe that would make them view it in a different light.”

Wilkin, meanwhile, believes a bit of closure will now enable him and other managers to start planning ahead for next season.

It’s understood that National League clubs have been told to prepare for a September start for the new campaign.

And Wilkin added: “Getting to this point just seems to have taken longer than it needed to.

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“Whatever decision they end up making after the vote, it will hopefully give us the chance to move forward and start planning for whenever the next season starts.

“That’s been the biggest frustration I think, the lack of communication and silence we have had for so long.

“It doesn’t come as any surprise to be honest and it’s a little bit frustrating but if that’s all we have got to worry about during this crisis then I think we’ll all take that.

“Now we just have to dust ourselves down and start looking ahead to next season.”