Newport’s problems are nothing new

FC Halifax Town's West Riding County Cup final against Guiseley could be one of 17 games for The Shaymen between now and the end of the season.
FC Halifax Town's West Riding County Cup final against Guiseley could be one of 17 games for The Shaymen between now and the end of the season.

Newport County have called for the season to be extended due to their fixture backlog - they should see FC Halifax Town’s schedule.

The Blue Square Premier side have 11 games left to play this season as they battle for promotion to the Football League.

But Town can trump them there, as The Shaymen are set to squeeze in 13 matches over the next month in a mammoth end to the campaign, including eight games over the next three weeks.

Then, of course, there’s the play-offs and the West Riding County Cup final to fit in as well.

A quick look around the Conference divisions tells you the problems that postponements have caused, with a dreadfully uneven appearance to the games played columns of two out of the three leagues.

The Conference South has got off lightly, with no team having played fewer than 32 games or more than 34.

But six teams in the Conference North have played fewer than 32 matches, with Town yet to play their 30th.

And in the Conference Premier, Gateshead, Newport and Braintree are lagging behind on 36, 35 and 34 games respectively.

So, there is a theme here. and it’s not that’s repeated higher up the ladder, with the leagues above the Blue Square Premier having a much more uniformed look to them.

The clamour for some kind of action seems to be getting increasingly diifficult for the Conference to ignore, although any extension to this season seems impossible due to the fixed dates of the play-off finals, despite a rather enlightened suggestion from Newport director of football Tim Harris to move the final to somewhere like Old Trafford or Villa Park.

However, a more creative approach to next season’s calendar would go at least some way towards solving the problem.

For a start, Town had three weeks in September where they had no midweek match, so how about slotting an extra game or two in there from the off rather than having to squeeze the life out of the climax to the campaign?

Or, the league could just start the season earlier and finish it later instead of restricting themselves to a constricted time-frame with little room to manoeuvre.

If not, expect even more requests for season extentions to land on the Conference’s doorstep this time next year.