By GAVIN CANEY, Sports Reporter
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Wroxham boss David Batch is urging the FA to make the right decision for Norfolk on Friday by placing his side in the Ryman Division One North league next season.
The Yachtsmen had their promotion to Step Four of the non-league ladder confirmed last week but now face an anxious wait to see what division the FA wish them to play in.
Batch however remains defiant that the power lays with Wroxham, because they will simply refuse to go up if football chiefs at Soho Square place them elsewhere in their Step Four set-up.
The Wroxham manager said: “We’re not nervous, we’re actually quite relaxed about it all.
“We won our league, we’ve got our ground up to standard so we’ve done all we can. If we get the right league we will go up and if we don’t, we won’t.
“The choice is ours. We’re not looking at the what ifs right now, there’s no point worrying about it. There is an appeal process which we would consider but we can’t do anything now.
“The wrong FA decision here could set a terrible precedent for other non-league clubs in Norfolk that have aspirations of going up. It will kill ambition for clubs further down the chain.
“We’re just looking for a common sense decision. Moving up to the Ryman League would increase our travelling by 50pc but we could manage in Division One North.
“The other leagues just don’t work for us. We’ve heard we might be placed in the Northern Premier Division South (Evo-Stick Division One South) but that would be ridiculous. We haven’t budgeted for those sort of distances and we refuse to.”
With an average gate of 112 last season, Batch insists Wroxham do not have the budget, or desire, to complete regular trips in excess of 200 miles - which is what they can expect if they are played in any other Step Four league.
Even if fellow Norfolk club King’s Lynn Town join them in their preferred division, the Yachtsmen would still face a near 100-mile round trip for a derby, such is their geographical disadvantage.
Wroxham, roughly eight miles from Premier League Norwich City, are that deep into the county that their so-called ‘local derby’ would actually be against Suffolk’s Needham Market.
Batch said: “Travelling has a knock-on effect for all clubs at non-league, especially regarding player availability.
“The players love being at Wroxham and if went up into the wrong league it would put a strain on that and many other relationships within our club.
“We want to make football in this region better. We’ve got two or three things we hope to introduce to create an innovative and unique selling point for this club.
“We don’t get the gates of our nearest ‘far-away’ rivals like Lynn and Lowestoft. But we try and do things differently. We have a wider football plan that will be sustainable for us at Step Five, Four or even Three, and even though our gates would probably go up if we do play at Step Four, we need to remain sustainable.
“People at some clubs with bigger gates, wages, better grounds and such must scratch their heads and think how do they keep performing? We want to be a model for every non-league club to follow.”
Wroxham have used their official Twitter feed to gain support for their desire to play in Ryman Division One North next season - a decision which would see them re-establish rivalries with Needham, Sudbury and Soham Town Rangers.