Cottesmore AFC's Leicestershire Senior League campaign is curtailed for a second successive season
Cottesmore are hoping that disappointment turns into eager anticipation after their Leicestershire Senior League campaign was curtailed for a second successive season.
The Rutland club was informed on Monday night that their Premier Division season was being halted in favour of an end-of-term cup competition that will run from April until the end of May.
Rich Giblin’s side – who were in second spot last season when the campaign was null and voided – had again made a strong unbeaten start after collecting 19 points from a possible 21 in their opening seven games as they targeted promotion to step six.
And, although disappointed that the league campaign will not be continuing, talks of a possible restructure of the non-league pyramid means that Cottesmore’s dreams of promotion could still become a reality.
Manager Giblin said: “We are obviously disappointed for the lads and everyone connected to the club that the league isn’t going to continue because we had started really well.
“But it doesn’t probably hurt as much as it did last time because we were only quite early into the season.
“We are still hopeful though that the restructure further up the pyramid might offer us something, although we don’t know what is happening with that at the moment.
“We are hearing rumours about a restructure and we are still doing improvements to the ground to make sure that we are ready if we get the call.
“I don’t think anyone could argue over three-quarters of last season and the start of this one that we don’t deserve to be playing step six football.”
The Leicestershire Senior League had asked for its clubs to vote on the outcome of the current campaign which would have needed to be extended until the end of June to ensure its completion.
Sixty per cent voted against an extension which saw the management committee curtail the campaign and arrange an alternate competition.
They are also planning to continue with the Everards Tiger League Cup – of which Cottesmore are the current holders - and City Goldsmiths President’s Trophy.
Giblin added: “We all saw it coming really and, as soon as you start talking about playing into June, it was a non-starter for some clubs.
“We are disappointed but we can see the league’s predicament and I can totally see their thinking on it.
“There was no one size fits all for it and the league went down the right route of asking teams about what they wanted to do.
“The majority said it wouldn’t work and, when you look at the bigger picture, there are certain factors in play like the uncertainly over having spectators that just makes it not viable.
“I was quite an advocate for playing the league as much as we could but, as the time kept slipping by, it was just not realistic.
“I spoke to the boys on Tuesday morning and most of them can see the bigger picture in that we can’t be playing in a league that wouldn’t be the same as the one we left in October.
“It might be totally different teams with totally different players and it will all be shoe-horned into eight weeks which is just not going to happen.”
Cottesmore haven’t played a competitive match since the end of October but can now resume training from Monday, March 29, with the alternative cup competition set to start on Saturday, April 10.
Giblin continued: “The lads just want to play some football now for a couple of months, enjoy ourselves and being League Cup holders we have something to play for.
“Both cup competitions offer us the chance to play some football and to get the lads back together and playing because that is what we are here for.
“We have all missed it. It is something we all want to do and we are just itching to get back to it.”