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Not sure why there is any shock. No disrespect intended to Stony and yes there are probably other grounds on the cusp personally the Gosling is a joke based on walk to pitch alone, but this has been hanging over Stony for many many years long before Sam C was involved, even talk they were goin to elect to drop in to North bucks couple seasons back. Changing rooms are awful and walk to the pitch is clearly a problem the pitch isn't great but many aren't. It's a shame the league can base relegation and promotions on grading and over the years we have benefited from not being relegated and more recently getting an undeserved promotion. However there are good few teams in div 2 now with facilities by looks of it which should make promotion to and relegation from div 1 more real and interesting. Grading is a pill to swallow but it has to be fair across board otherwise you have clubs who fight to get money and spend it where they are told to spend it and other clubs who get away with it.

 

As for our resedential professional MKcoach his comments on fresh beer are interesting considering he was worried about drinking culture.

Edited by Winslow Boy

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Not sure why there is any shock. No disrespect intended to Stony and yes there are probably other grounds on the cusp personally the Gosling is a joke based on walk to pitch alone, but this has been hanging over Stony for many many years long before Sam C was involved, even talk they were goin to elect to drop in to North bucks couple seasons back. Changing rooms are awful and walk to the pitch is clearly a problem the pitch isn't great but many aren't. It's a shame the league can base relegation and promotions on grading and over the years we have benefited from not being relegated and more recently getting an undeserved promotion. However there are good few teams in div 2 now with facilities by looks of it which should make promotion to and relegation from div 1 more real and interesting. Grading is a pill to swallow but it has to be fair across board otherwise you have clubs who fight to get money and spend it where they are told to spend it and other clubs who get away with it.

 

As for our resedential professional MKcoach his comments on fresh beer are interesting considering he was worried about drinking culture.

Absolutely agree that it is no shock to me that this has come to this. The distance from changing rooms to pitch is clearly an issue but we are not alone in this and there are plans (which this may accelerate) to change the situation. The changing rooms aren't the best, but again debatablely not the worst in the league.

I have, personally, made my peace with the decision and look forward to the different challenge next year!

The key issue for me though is the decision making, which seems amateur at best. Why was it Stony that were chosen, given that we were outside of the relegation zone and other teams also have similar ground grading issues? Was it that we were the team lowest in the table who didn't meet the grading? If so, why was it just the one team and why did Amersham not also get a reprieve and another team relegated on grading? A similar thing happened a few years ago in the UCL but that league was transparent and clear from the outset in how decisions were to be made (relegation was the two lowest teams who did meet the required ground grading) and clubs simply had to accept it - which they did. This might be a communication issue - I don't know.

Just seems a very strange decision and one (given that rumours of this were heard a good few weeks ago from a 'league committee member' source via another club) which seems to have been made some time ago.

Also to not give the club the curtesy of advance warning to at least allow them to manage any fallout, is, I feel, poor.

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Perhaps Sam C can tell us which parts SSFC do not comply with. I would have thought that the league should have written to your club saying why it failed the ground grading and the what may happen if these are not fixed.

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Hopefully this will link to the ground grading doc for Step 6 (SSML Div 1)

 

http://www.thefa.com/~/media/files/pdf/leagues/ground%20grading/2014/grade-g-may-2014.ashx?la=en

Again, I am not arguing whether or not we fulfil the criteria, I am sure we probably don't as a result of the walk from changing rooms to pitch etc...

My complaint is that: a) at no point have the league made it clear what relegation criteria would be used this season (as the Ucl did when they relegated 2 teams a few years ago from the prem to div 1 due to ground grading - was all understood in advance etc); B) even if they did, they seem to have relegated 1 team due to points and 1 due to ground (very inconstant) - why not 2 for points, or 2 for ground as there are at least 2 other grounds failing the grading; and c) if they had still decided (and it seems it was decided at least a month or so ago given the rumours) it would have been nice to give an established club who have been in the division for many years, at least a little notice it was happening before announcing it to the world.

Other than that it is brilliant! :)

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What other teams have similar grading problems? And if they do what will happen to them. I can't think of any off top of my head. There are a few which aren't great and might be at risk in coming years.

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Perhaps Sam C can tell us which parts SSFC do not comply with. I would have thought that the league should have written to your club saying why it failed the ground grading and the what may happen if these are not fixed.

To be honest Uncle T, I am just a player at the club but do know a bit of the administration as an ex manager of the 1st team. My assumption would be the the key and overriding reason would be the unsecured walk from the changing rooms to the pitch. Something a number of other div 1 teams also have as an issue. So my point is, why relegate stony who were not in the relegation places? If you are going to promote 2 sides, you either relegate the bottom 2 on points or the bottom 2 in the league who don't meet the grading (I am of course making the assumption that Amersham do meet the grade).

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What other teams have similar grading problems? And if they do what will happen to them. I can't think of any off top of my head. There are a few which aren't great and might be at risk in coming years.

Given that have a secure walkway from the changing rooms to the pitch is one, then both Codicote and Harpenden have the same issue

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Given that have a secure walkway from the changing rooms to the pitch is one, then both Codicote and Harpenden have the same issue

Yeah Gosling is a joke, Harpenden isn't great facilities wise. But both teams been strong for good few seasons, and finished above Stony. I would like to see league get away from groundshares, if you don't play in your town and haven't for a long time and have no realistic hope or ambition to then you don't represent the town and then what is the point. My guess is that the walk to pitch wasn't only grading failure for Stony and club has been aware for donkeys years, I remember speaking to one of the guys there few seasons back and he said that the end of that season no matter where they finished even if they won the title they expected that they would be relegated.

Edited by Winslow Boy

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Yeah Gosling is a joke, Harpenden isn't great facilities wise. But both teams been strong for good few seasons, and finished above Stony. I would like to see league get away from groundshares, if you don't play in your town and haven't for a long time and have no realistic hope or ambition to then you don't represent the town and then what is the point. My guess is that the walk to pitch wasn't only grading failure for Stony and club has been aware for donkeys years, I remember speaking to one of the guys there few seasons back and he said that the end of that season no matter where they finished even if they won the title they expected that they would be relegated.

I am sure you are right and reading the ground grading stuff we fail on quite a few parts - but again reading them, how many clubs in div one have separate dressing rooms with a toilet in each (as is in the ground grading)? Harpenden don't even have showers in the individual dressing room!!

Look - I am no more looking for Harpenden or Codicote or anyone to get relegated than anything else, simply feel that the shadowy decision making (rumours of this starting weeks/months ago for example) and total lack of clarity on the reasons for the decision aren't great and don't show the league in a very good light. You either relegate on points or ground grading, not one of each (given other clubs also fail the grading).

Personally though, I look forward to playing in div 2 next year and the key core of last year's side will stay together. The decision for the club overall though is a really sad one.

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Ground grading deadline is 31st March so the club will have known since then they were in danger. Plus the club has known for years that they don't meet the criteria & whilst a club doesn't meet it they're always in danger of relegation. The point missing regarding Amersham is that they requested to be relegated to Div 2.

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Ground grading deadline is 31st March so the club will have known since then they were in danger. Plus the club has known for years that they don't meet the criteria & whilst a club doesn't meet it they're always in danger of relegation. The point missing regarding Amersham is that they requested to be relegated to Div 2.

Thanks for the useful addition to the debate. I get all of the above, as would anyone who knows football, but the point remains the same - why stony and not the other sides who don't make the grade? Is it a combination of ground grading and league table? If so, fine, but make that clear and transparent. Particularly if, as you say, Amersham requested the demotion (something I wasn't aware of).

Wouldn't have taken much for the league to explicitly say in March, "this season (apart from requests) relegation will be be the lowest teams in the league which dont meet the ground grading. The number going down depends on the number able to come up". This is exactly what the UCL did a few years ago and absolutely everyone knew where they stood, not this "if you don't meet the ground grading, we will have a rumour mill rumbling for a few months until the league decide who they want to relegate". Not very professional.

I genuinely mean it when I say I am personally looking forward to playing in div 2 and going to some places I have never played at before and at 35 I was too old for div 1 anyway!!

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A few years back Levy were told they were an relegated club due to not having the ground grading amongst a number of other clubs . The FA said the two teams of the relegated clubs would be relegated even if they did not finish in the bottom 2. And that is what happened. We finished quite high in the league so we were ok.

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A few years back Levy were told they were an relegated club due to not having the ground grading amongst a number of other clubs . The FA said the two teams of the relegated clubs would be relegated even if they did not finish in the bottom 2. And that is what happened. We finished quite high in the league so we were ok.

The way I see it, this situation you describe is probably exactly the same situation as has happened to stony. Only difference is that it would seem the communication of the situation and transparency of decisions seems to have worked in your situation. It absolutely hasn't this time and that is a massive shame for everyone involved.

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I agree Sam communication and transparency is a problem here.

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I think Sam is saying he has no issue with the decision, he simply his confused by, and dissapointed in the manner the decision was communicated in and the lack of explanation SSFC received. Which is fair enough imo

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Karen, can you give us any info around this?

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Basically No as I do not sit on the Management Committee.

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Basically going on past experience before Creasey Park was re developed, the league and the FA made us aware of our grading and what needed done. 

Also, it is down to the clubs to keep checking the ground grading documents, as they are always available to view on the FA website. Clubs do need to take some responsibility regarding ground grading. I would check with your club if this did happen.

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Basically going on past experience before Creasey Park was re developed, the league and the FA made us aware of our grading and what needed done.

Also, it is down to the clubs to keep checking the ground grading documents, as they are always available to view on the FA website. Clubs do need to take some responsibility regarding ground grading. I would check with your club if this did happen.

Again, I totally agree - clubs know the grading (as do most of us involved in this level of football) and this isn't a new phenomenon, the standards have been there for years. The problem is, why this year - given that no indication was given to the club that this season was any different to last (where we finished lower, with less points but stayed up) and also, why Stony as, going to the letter of the grading requirements, probably over half the sides in the league don't meet ALL the requirements.

Communication and transparency.

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From last season's AGM

 

6.8. The FA had decided that any club at Step 6 (Division One) that had not achieved a G Grade by 31 March 2015 would be relegated at the end of next season.

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From last season's AGM

 

6.8. The FA had decided that any club at Step 6 (Division One) that had not achieved a G Grade by 31 March 2015 would be relegated at the end of next season.

Thanks Karen - but, given that many clubs don't meet the full requirement, why stony?

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The league and the FA are hot on this. 2 weeks before Creasey Park development was due to start, we were  informed the ground was still short of 50 seats or both clubs would be relegated, even though £2.5 Million was being spent.. We worked hard to install the seats.

Then the project started on time and the 50 seats were ripped out.

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