No north-south divide here: Eastbourne keen on new combined National League division

Hope lives on that Eastbourne Borough’s season will continue.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 8:26 am
Eastbourne Borough are keen for their season to continue - and will soon know whether it will / Picture: Lydia Redman

The Sports are keen to be part of a combined National North/South division formed to save the season for clubs keen to play – which would offer a promotion place up to the league’s top division.

There are enough clubs – around 18 – interested in playing on to make the new division viable, although it still needs the backing of the National League board and the FA.

A final decision is expected within a week or so.

If it were to go ahead, it is expected that those taking part would all play one another once.

It is not clear whether points accrued so far this season could be used to create an initial league table.

At least one club would be promoted to the National League premier. Eastbourne Borough have said all along they are keen to play out the season.

That’s something not true of all National League clubs after it was revealed that grants which had kept them going in the first half of the season were going to turn to loans for the remainder of the campaign.

Borough have applied for government funding to cover the current period and expect to hear within a week whether they have been successful.

Chairman David Blackmore said he was unable to comment on the ongoing negotiations.

But his message to Borough fans is: We are doing all we can to keep the season alive.

“We are fully involved in negotiations (about the S/N division) and hope to have news for our supporters soon,” Blackmore told us.

“We have also applied for funding – and it’s ‘funding’ you apply for, not specifically a grant or a loan, and we hope to hear positive news on that very soon.”

Blackmore praised the backing the club was getting from the town’s MP, Caroline Ansell.

He said: “Caroline has been very supportive in pushing our case with the DCMS and ministers. She has spoken personally to sports minister Nigel

Huddleston about the club and is taking a great interest in what happens.”

Borough sat third in National South – in the play-off places – when fixtures were suspended because of the funding dispute.

Meanwhile, Danny Bloor’s squad are busy training and playing friendlies. Report and picture - page 61.