Vanarama National League South side Slough Town are on a fundraising drive to ensure the club can compete in the playoffs with a place at the top tier of non-league football at stake.
So far, £6,000 has been raised to help toward Covid 19 testing and associated costs that will be accrued by the Rebels as they look to take part in the end of season shake up.
The club launched a GoFundMe page on Wednesday with the aim of raising £25,000 toward the unexpected playoff tilt: “Last week, we learned that end of season playoffs would take place in National League South in July – subject to the competition rules and the applicable government guidance on the phased return of elite sport.” a club statement said.
Originally, government guidance had suggested no playoffs would be able to take place below the top level National League, but that has since changed, allowing the North and South Divisions to decide additional promotion places with champions Kings Lynn Town and Wealdstone already promoted.
Such has been enthusiasm to get the playoffs up and running, clubs have been working together to reduce costs with Rebels co-boss Neil Baker playing a key role according to a Windsor Express interview with Jon Underwood: “Neil (Baker) actually managed to source testing at a cheaper rate. It’s all above board. We’re not cutting any corners and that information has been opened up to the other clubs in the league. Everyone is pulling together and really wants to make it happen.”
It was expected that testing was would cost each club £50,000, but Underwood said: “We’ve had a real open discussion about the financial side of things and have been able to source testing cheaper than we originally thought. Some of the numbers being talked about last week were way off the mark for me. I think the league said £50,000 for testing, but the bonus for us is that we’ve only got to test once a week rather than twice, so it’s doable, it’s a manageable cost.”
The playoff fixtures
According to BBC Three Counties Radio’s Ollie Bayliss, Slough – who finished 5th in 2019/20 would play 6th placed Dartford in an eliminator game. Winning that would setup a tie with Havant & Waterlooville and then a final against any of Bath, Dorking Wanderers or Weymouth.
National League North Brackley Town FC have revealed several rules for the end of season playoffs that will be in effect including an extra substitution and a larger pool of substitutes to choose from as well as water breaks in each half.
In addition, no spectators will be allowed in grounds and only players who were eligible for the club on 16th March will be eligible to play.