News

 

4 July

This week we focus on the return of players to training in preparation for participation in the play-offs.

But first, the demolition of the old clubhouse is complete leaving a lot of rubble still to be removed and the groundworks to take place next.  This phase of the works will take some time as drainage is put in and preparations below ground made for the next stages.  We will keep you updated on this but it is a good moment to remind ourselves of our ambitions for the new facility.  The Brackley Town Events Centre will be a wonderful new building, purpose-designed and built to meet our needs as a football club and as the prime meeting place and events venue in Brackley.  The wide interest shown in the project and what it will offer, demonstrates already the potential and makes the building project all the more exciting.

Onto the excitement around the play-offs.  Training resumed last weekend after testing.  All tests came back negative and the second round of testing was completed earlier last week.

Speaking after training on Thursday evening Kevin was upbeat about the first week back with the squad.  “It has been a really strange three months away,” he said.  “It has taken time to adjust but I am just delighted to be back and for us to have this chance to feature in the play-offs and to bring the season to a conclusion on the pitch.  One minute they were happening, then they were off and then on again so it was all a bit frustrating but we are delighted to be moving forward and looking ahead now to the game.  We have worked hard all season for this.  When the season stopped there was still a lot of football to be played.  This division was very open and we still had the likes of York and King’s Lynn to play.  But congratulations to King’s Lynn.  They had a remarkable season and I hope they do well in National League.”

“The squad has proved its consistency over a long period of time.  We have finished third twice and now fourth.  Everybody at the club should feel tremendously proud of what they’ve done to maintain that consistency against some fantastic teams and players and managers we come up against week in and week out.  There is a lot of experience there and you hope it might help.  The players are progressing and you hope it stands you in good stead.  Hopefully players can channel their energy in the right direction.”

“It will be different playing in front of no crowd.  It is disappointing for the fans but the league’s rules are very clear and it is really important that supporters stay away from the ground on the day of the match.”

“If we play to the level we are capable of we know we have a chance against anybody.  We have shown good consistency but we know it will be a tough game.  There is little between the teams at this stage.”

“It has been great to be back with the players.  The testing was not pleasant and a bit of a surprise to one or two of the lads.  It has caused some banter shall we say!  But we have got on with it.  We couldn’t wait to get back out there doing what we all love.  We have had some good early sessions - in effect it is a mini pre-season.  The players generally have come back strong and in a good place.  We want to get to game day as fit and as strong and confident as we can and if we can do that I will be delighted.”

Looking ahead to the game against Gateshead Kevin is in no doubt how difficult it will be: “They are a good side.  They played really well when we went up there earlier in the season.  There’s a lot of ability there and we are under no illusion it will be an incredibly tough game.  But we want to be competing at the sharp end of things in games like this.  There is a lot at stake for both sides and everyone involved.  It is new territory for me to play under these circumstances but it is also for 99% of players and managers alike.  Promotion was the goal this season so I am just delighted to have this opportunity.”

Kevin reflected on the past year and in particular the fire: “It is exciting to see the progress being made now with the clubhouse re-build.  There was a long period of frustration and if I am honest I underestimated the bearing the loss of the clubhouse would have.  Before the fire we had a good bond with the supporters and a general togetherness.  Credit to everybody at the club for getting through this period.  Everyone knuckled down, we finished fourth and now have got this chance to achieve our goal.  Hopefully we can be successful.”

With a further relaxing of some restrictions due to the pandemic including the opening of pubs and restaurants, please continue to follow the guidance to keep everybody in our town safe and well.

We will provide the next update next Saturday but in the meantime - stay safe, stay well.

BTFC Board

 

Dates Confirmed for The National League Play-Offs

 

The dates for The National League play-off period have been confirmed. 

 

Fifteen season-defining fixtures are set to take place over seventeen days across the Vanarama National League, Vanarama National League North and Vanarama National League South.

Since 2018, the play-off positions have been extended to six- with the champions being promoted automatically.

In all three leagues, the remaining six fight it out for one final slot with two Eliminator matches taking place before the semi-finals.

The one-off match format has added even more excitement and kept more clubs involved in the shake-up for longer.

All five of the Vanarama National League play-off matches, including the Promotion Final held at Wembley Stadium, will be broadcast live on BT Sport. 

Due to the current Government sporting guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, all play-off matches will be played behind closed doors.

 

Vanarama National League

Friday 17th July 2020- 7pm 
Elimination Round- Match A – Boreham Wood vs FC Halifax Town

Saturday 18th July 2020- 3pm
Elimination Round- Match B – Yeovil Town vs Barnet

Saturday 25th July 2020- 2.30pm
Semi Final– Harrogate Town vs Winner of Match A

Saturday 25th July 2020- 5pm
Semi Final- Notts County vs Winner of Match B

Sunday 2nd August 2020- 3pm
Promotion Final - Wembley Stadium

 

Vanarama National League North

Sunday 19th July 2020- 3pm
Elimination Round- Match A - Altrincham vs Chester
Elimination Round- Match B – Brackley Town vs Gateshead

Saturday 25th July 2020- 3pm
Semi Final – York City vs Winner of Match A
Semi Final – Boston United vs Winner of Match B

Saturday 9th May 2020- 3pm
Promotion Final – Stadium of highest ranked finalist

Vanarama National League South

Sunday 19th July 2020- 3pm
Elimination Round - Match A – Slough Town vs Dartford
Elimination Round - Match B – Bath City vs Dorking Wanderers

Saturday 25th July 2020- 3pm
Semi Final – Havant & Waterlooville vs Winner of Match A
Semi Final – Weymouth vs Winner of Match B

Saturday 9th May 2020- 3pm
Promotion Final – Stadium of highest ranked finalist

 

 

The Stand Together Campaign was formed in 2019 by a group of supporters to raise a £50,000 contribution towards the re-building of the Clubhouse which was destroyed by fire in June 2019.

The Campaign is delighted to announce that it has been instrumental in securing for the football club a £75,000 Community and Environment Fund grant from HS2. This grant will be used to help rebuild the clubhouse

 

27 June

This week we have brilliant news to share on the funding front but first – the play-offs!

It has been another whirlwind week as arrangements to participate in National League North play-offs step up.  We have spent much of the week burning the midnight oil on preparations and await league approval for our plans including detailed stadium management plan as the home team in the tie against Gateshead which is expected to take place on the weekend of 18/19 July.  All play-off games are spectator-free events.

Meanwhile Kevin has been bringing his squad together.  The rules specify that only players who were eligible on 16 March can play and this is of course only fair, preventing teams signing on players solely for the play-offs.  The status of loan players is not entirely clear and is being taken up with the league.

Several temporary rule changes have been announced for the play-offs.  These include allowing an extra substitution from a larger bench and the inclusion of water breaks at the halfway point in each half.  The referee also has discretion to allow further breaks in play if the weather conditions require it.

Training is due to start this weekend.  Initially this is small group and non-contact.  A pre-requisite for this was the first round of weekly antigen testing for the virus which was carried out on Thursday on the players and all club staff who will be in the “red zone” for training and on match-day.

While the game against Gateshead will be behind closed doors, a further requirement for these matches to proceed is that the areas around grounds themselves are spectator-free.  We understand that supporters will want to follow the action and we hope soon to be in a position to announce what broadcast arrangements will be in place.

Looking further ahead, the FA has continued to set out tentative plans for next season for all leagues from Step 1 to Step 7.  They have stipulated that all leagues will play to the same calendar and only when spectators can again be accommodated in grounds.  They have set out four scenarios.  The first is an August start which would entail few changes to a normal season.  Second is a September or October start when a full league season could be played minus some of the league or county cup competitions.  Third, a November, December or January start would see a curtailed season of either half fixtures (play each other just once) or splitting divisions in half (most likely geographically).  Finally, the fourth option is a start later than January when the season most likely would not take place at all and the planned re-structure of the pyramid would also be delayed by another year.

In a further blow to non-league clubs, the FA has reduced FA Cup prize money for next season and in the Trophy and Vase competitions also as it contends with its own loss of income.  With fixed TV deadlines in the FA Cup, a late start to the season could also see participation by lower league teams in the FA Cup drastically reduced.

So, while great uncertainty remains, we can begin to see the possible outline of the return of football to St James Park, possibly as soon as September.

We will provide an update on progress with the clubhouse next time but we have had some fantastic news this week which helps take forward the re-build.  Thanks to the work of the Stand Together Campaign group one of the grant applications has been successful bringing £75k of funding from HS2 towards the re-build costs.  This brings the total raised by the group to £89k which has made a real difference to what we can achieve.  You can read a fuller statement on the club website shortly.

Further good news came in the form of a £1500 Pitch Maintenance grant from the Football Foundation,    The Football Foundation is a charity funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, and this grant is to help support clubs with work on pitches in these difficult times as revenue is lost due to the Covd-19 crisis.

Thank you for the terrific support you have shown during recent days – the appetite for a return to play-off action is clear and your backing for Kevin and the team is terrific and greatly appreciated.  We will keep you updated on a fast-changing situation in the lead up to the play-off game against Gateshead along with other matters.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay well.

BTFC Board