THACKLEY manager Pat McGuire says a matter of less than 24 hours cost non-league clubs like his a potentially significant windfall.

But he is glad a decision was made to protect the older generation.

With the news that the Premier League and EFL were to be suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic announced early on Friday, March 13, McGuire admits that Thackley were hoping for a bumper gate for their Toolstation Northern Counties East League Premier Division home clash with Maltby Main the following day.

But that never came to fruition, and with their season now declared null and void, Thackley will miss out on nine home games worth of revenue.

Addressing financial matters, McGuire said: “With the Football League announced as being off until April, we were rubbing our hands and thinking we could get a decent crowd down the next day.

“But then at 5pm on that Friday, all of our games were called off too. It was disappointing because it would have been great revenue for non-league clubs.

“But the situation has got more serious since then and health and safety is paramount. We’ve got a lot of older volunteers to look out for, and it wouldn’t have been fair for them to have to come in.

“It will hit non-league clubs hard financially though, as a lot are struggling to tick over. Athersley Recreation (in the same division as Silsden) have set up a GoFundMe page for example.

“I’m thankful that Thackley is so well run, and we should be reasonably stable after all of this, even though we’ll miss out on recouping a lot of revenue.

“If we were run like we were a few years ago, I’d have been worried.”

Another reason McGuire may be slightly more relaxed is that his team were in with no chance of promotion or relegation before the season was declared null and void, as they sat 14th.

Asked whether he thought the decision to scrap the season altogether was the right one, McGuire said: “Whichever way they (the FA) went, it was going to upset somebody.

“Some clubs near the bottom will be thanking their lucky stars, but it will be a tough pill to swallow for clubs up near the top.

“It’s a tough one, it being null and void, because there’s those clubs who have spent a lot of money on trying to go up for no reward now.

“But basing it on points per game would have upset someone too. It’s the FA's decision at the end of the day.

“The league have kept fines and suspensions for some reason though, so I’d argue it’s not been very well done.”