GUISELEY joint-manager Russ O’Neill is disappointed his team could not redeem themselves after a poor start to their now-abandoned league campaign.

Last week, both the Vanarama National League North and South were brought to an end after clubs at Step Two were allowed to vote on their own destiny, and 24 out of 43 were in favour of null and void.

The majority came about due to the fact grants were not forthcoming again, only low interest loans which would have caused financial damage in the long term.

Lions man O'Neill gave his take on it, saying: "As time went on past December when funding finished, it started taking its toll on clubs.

"It got to a position where we weren’t getting answers from anywhere. In the end, I think everyone expected it to be declared null and void.

"We were all happy to start the season and we got misled thinking we were going to get grants. There wasn’t a Plan B.

"We began the season saying, 'we have started with 66 clubs and we will finish the season with 66 clubs'. If it had gone much longer, I don’t think we would have done.

"Sometimes you start seeing people’s true colours when it gets to the nitty gritty, it just shows people were prepared to throw others under the bus which were quite disappointing from our point of view.

"To be forced to work insolvent and at a loss every week, it is only a matter of time until someone gets in real trouble and we wouldn’t have liked that to happen to anybody.

"In hindsight, we shouldn’t have started. People weren’t think about the health aspects, looking back now it was irresponsible.

"Everyone is in lockdown and we are travelling around the country having no tests, sitting in a dressing room, getting on a bus together for hours on end.

"If it had not been in a football environment, the police would have arrested us!"

The penultimate stage of non-league was granted 'elite' status last July, so the 2019-20 playoffs could take place. It also meant this term the two leagues could continue playing during lockdown.

"I don’t think North and South should be classed as elite," O'Neill insisted.

"When it (the pandemic) first started people didn’t know how serious it would be but when this second wave hit everyone knew someone who had been effected.

"When you have got lads at their workplace then going to training and playing games, they are not elite sportsmen.

"The big clubs pushed it over the line then the season after it has really tested a lot of clubs and we have been found wanting."

Guiseley were facing the wrong end of the table before play was suspended, only sitting above the drop zone via goal difference.

"We looked at the fixtures to start the season and we thought 'my word' we have got a tough run up until Christmas.

"We wanted to right a wrong and carry on. Our performances deserved more points that we had on the board. The lads are bitterly disappointed."