Disappointed Hucknall denied promotion after league meeting

Hucknall Town manager Andy Graves
Hucknall Town manager Andy Graves

Hucknall Town were left angry and disappointed after the Central Midland League blocked their hopes of promotion following their third place finish in the South Division.

The top two sides should have automatically been promoted, with Belper United beating Hucknall into second spot on the final week.

But, with champions Selston turning down promotion, Hucknall boss Andy Graves said the FA had made provision this year for a third-placed team to go up if they met the criteria.

However, the league had to support that promotion and on Monday evening the league committee rejected Hucknall’s approach, leaving them facing another year in the Central Midlands.

“The league have blocked it and I am disappointed,” said Graves.

“The e-mail we had said that after extensive discussions and careful consideration, the committee decided they were unable to support our application.

“For one season only the FA had created a moratorium to allow Step 7 leagues to promote another team, should they meet the ground grading and have another league to go to, which we did.

“Central Midlands had to go to the FA to request this.

“But Central Midlands did not want to adopt it, unlike other leagues. However, they did not convey this to the clubs until we approached them.

“They could have supported us but didn’t want to. I don’t know the reason, other than they are losing teams left, right and centre and are quite happy for us to be there as we are a big name.”

The decision had a knock-on effect, too.

Graves explained: “It also prevents our reserves being promoted as well, so another Derbyshire team will benefit from that as Heanor will go up. It’s a double whammy really.

“It is very disappointing. I wonder would have happened if the boot was on the other foot and we’d finished second and Belper were the ones looking to go somewhere.

“That is political, though. Especially as the league had already treated us with so much disrespect the last week of the season by putting on their web site that Belper were already promoted when there was still a game to go.”

He added: “It does make us more determined next season though I am sure there will be other obstacles put in our way, as there has been all season.

“Life has been made difficult for us, but it just sounds like you are being bitter.

“We have to jump through hoops, yet we toe the line and go by every rule, which not every club does.

“We’ve not even won a team of the month award all season when we’ve been the best team form-wise in the league. It’s just the way it goes.

“But, hey ho, we move on. I’d planned for both scenarios, so I know now where I am going.”

The Central Midlands League were unavailable for comment.