Winter gloom for non league football

Once again, the Norfolk non league scene has been ripped apart by the extreme weather conditions, the majority of games in The Ridgeons Leagues and Anglian Combination Leagues were cancelled due to the excessive amount of snow in the area, causing no football last weekend.

This means there will be a backlog of fixtures later on in the year. It also means towards the end of the season, sides are sitting with potentially four or five games in hand

The answer? One obvious solution is to install under soil heating onto all the pitches at this level, but given that even Blackpool in the Premier League do not possess under soil heating, this is unlikely. Also, the estimated �13,000 price tag is a massive stumbling block and stops this solution ever being implemented. It seems the only way to solve this problem is to have a winter break of between two and three weeks, around the December/January time of year.

The advantages of a winter break are numerous. It would ensure there would never be a fixture backlog. Also teams having played four or five games more than others in the division would be a thing of the past. In addition, the fans would not travel to games, only to be turned away disappointed when they find the game has been postponed.

The main disadvantage of a winter break from football is obvious, the English weather is extremely unpredictable, and for example this winter the main amount of snow has come at the end of November. Who is to say there will be no snow in December and January but the snow will return in February/March?

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So, it is very difficult to predict when the snow and icy conditions will come. Another disadvantage would be the length of the season, as the games that are usually played around Christmas and New Year time would have to be re-arranged for either the beginning or the end of the season, meaning the season could stretch from late July to early June the following year, giving the players only a month's holiday.

The winter break idea is one that has been predicted to be implemented for a very long time, but like every solution has its pros and cons. The real question is, will the winter break actually solve the problem?

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