Skelmersdale United were given the devastating news that they would be relegated from the Northern Premier League, despite finishing in 11th spot, due to ground grading issues at their current home at Burscough.
It will be the second time in as many years that United have fallen foul of the grading system, the JMO failed the “Bounce” test at the end of last season forcing them away from the Town for the second time.
Chairman Gordon Johnson issued a statement to the fans and people of Skelmersdale:
“On behalf of the directors of Skelmersdale United Football Club and on my own personal behalf I would like to express our sincere disappointment at having been relegated from the Northern Premier League today due to failing ground grading criteria for that level of football.
The current problems started with the JMO Sports park ground failing the appropriate FIFA ‘Bounce Test’ criteria last summer.
In the interim period the club have explored numerous other opportunities to secure a ground fit for playing at the appropriate level including negotiations with Burscough FC to improve facilities at their ground until we were able to secure a ground back in the Skelmersdale area for our club.
In point of fact, Burscough had actually agreed to complete the requisite improvements for their ground and this work is actually due to commence on Tuesday 2nd May 2023. Despite being shown the plans and work start date at our FA Appeal hearing today, the appeal board faced ruled against us due to the work having not started prior to the deadline date of 31st March 2023.I must stress at this point that our club would not have been able to compete in the Northern Premier League without the help and continued support of Burscough FC.
We remain in regular dialogue with West Lancashire Borough Council who are working with the club to secure a ground back in the Skelmersdale area in the very near future. It is disappointing I know for our loyal and regular supporters who have continued to follow the club through the recent years of turmoil and upheaval. Please stick with the club, we will regroup, re focus and hopefully bounce back in due course.
Our end off season Player awards evening is due to be held on Friday 5th May 2023 from 7.30pm onwards at Upholland Labour Club. All welcome, please come and join us on the evening and show your appreciation for the fantastic job that Richard Brodie, his staff and the players have done during the course of the 2022/23 playing season.
Myself and other committee members will be there on the evening please take the opportunity to come and speak to us, with your thoughts, views and comments on the best way forward for the club from here would be appreciated. This club will survive and will hopefully be back playing in the Skelmersdale area soon.
United Secretary Danny Roberts also commented:
“Despite comments on Social media, We didn’t ask to be relegated, in fact we appealed the decision and felt the grounds for appeal were solid. The decision of the FA was upheld by an appeal heard by the FA, and their decision is final and binding. I’ll make no further comment at this moment in time, but I think my tone might let it be known how I’m feeling about the process and how we were treated”.
Due to a number of resignations from members of the board the club is about to embark on a complete overhaul and restructure. If there is anyone interested in getting involved to assist in the re focus and keeping the club moving forward in a positive manner, then please contact Chairman Gordon Johnson.