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     On This Day


In 1993,The Daggers drew 2-2 with Cambridge City Away in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round


In 1999,The Daggers beat Walton & Hersham 2-0 at Home in the Ryman League Premier 


In 2004,The Daggers lost 1-2 to Farnborough Town Away in the Nationwide Conference 
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In 2010,The Daggers lost 2-3 to Rochdale Away in the NPower League One 


In 2012,The Daggers drew 1-1 with Exeter City at Home in the NPower League Two 


 

 


The Conference v The Football League
by Nelson on 28/11/2001

Nelson's take on the Conference's push for increased promotion places. Whilst there is only one promotion place to the Football League, there surely exists a bottleneck.

The Conference v The Football League
As you may know, as well as being the co-publisher of this site, I am also heavily involved with the Fair Play For The National Game campaign.

The Campaign is one that affects supporters of all non-league teams up and down the country in that it strives to increase the number of promotion places from the Conference to the Football League. With the reorganisation of the Conference's feeder leagues in the offing, the campaign cannot make too much of this issue, but we do feel that there should be more than one promotion place from each of the feeder leagues to the Conference

When automatic promotion to the Football League was first introduced, the difference in standard between the league teams and their non-league counterparts was quite large and teams such as Lincoln City, Darlington and Colchester United made swift returns to the League following their relegations. However, as time has moved on, the non-league game has developed massively to the extent that many people consider there to be little to choose between a Conference side and a team in Division 3. This appears to be backed-up by results on the pitch in FA Cup and, this season, LDV matches. Who could honestly say that the Daggers' wins over Lincoln City, Leyton Orient or Luton Town were a massive shock? Few people would be surprised if we were to gain favourable results against Bristol Rovers or Exeter City.

The gap in playing level means that the Conference sides have become trapped by the bottleneck of there only being the one promotion place to the promised land of the Football League. Few teams are able to maintain a title push for more than one or two seasons running and it is not unusual to see a team languishing near the foot of the table who finished in the top three or four the previous season. The net result of this is that we see an increasing number of clubs throwing vast sums of money around in the hope of being able to occupy the solitary promotion place come the end of the season. This puts a huge strain on many clubs and already this season, we have heard stories of a number of clubs in financial difficulties.

Conversely, we also see a number of teams at the bottom of Division 3 who are perennial strugglers and who survive every season purely by dint of not being the worst in the league. Interestingly, there are also a number of teams in the football league who are struggling financially, despite the huge sums of money they obtain as part of the Sky television coverage deal.

It would seem logical to remove this bottleneck somehow and, the obvious way to do this is to increase the number of teams moving between the Conference and Division 3. Doing so would allow clubs in the Conference to progress into the Football League without the endless rounds of excessive spending. If you're not quite good enough one season, you may well be the following season as the teams you couldn't match will have moved on up. The teams that survive by the skin of their teeth every season in Division 3 would be more likely to be relegated and, over time, teams would be more able to find their level.
Rejected
Last Summer, the Football League stated that, in principle, they were in favour of increasing the promotion places to the Football League. However, despite the representations made by the Conference, they voted against increasing the movement. This was because of the money involved.

The team that is relegated to the Conference every season receives a "parachute payment" equal to half the amount the league clubs receive from the Sky money. This payment is to help cover the costs of full-time wages. This payment is paid by the Football League themselves.

The Football League expect any additional parachute payments to be funded by the Conference and not by themselves. This smacks of double standards by the Football League as the parachute payment to all three relegated Premiership teams comes from the Premiership. Many observers feel that this is just another in an ever growing list of increasingly implausible excuses from the Football League to deny the Conference clubs the chance to progress. It would be interesting to hear the Football League's reaction should the Premiership decide that they would only fund one parachute payment.

The Conference has, for a number of years, suffered from dwindling crowds as the season progresses. With the exception of the two or three teams in with a shout of promotion, the other clubs have little to play for after Christmas and attendances fall as a result.

Following the rejection of 2-up, the Conference decided to push for a championship play-off to boost income and interest in the league. This was greeted with mixed reactions from supporters, but most agreed, that financially, it made sense.

The Football League at first stated that they would refuse to accept a "champion" decided in this way, before changing their mind and saying they would accept whoever the Conference designated their champions. However, they changed their mind again shortly before the Football Association vetoed the plans once-and-for-all.
Where does this leave the Conference?
To be honest, I don't think anyone really knows for sure. The FA will, almost certainly, state publicly that they are in favour of increased promotion and, almost certainly, will again fail to take any action to enable it to happen. The Football League will, more than likely, find another ludicrous reason to block any such move and the Conference will probably be left in the same position as it currently finds itself.

To my mind, the only course of action left open is through legal channels. With football clubs being businesses, it could well be argued that the Football League is restraining the trade of the Conference runners-up and possibly, even the third placed team.

Fair Play For The National Game will continue to campaign for a more equitable promotion/relegation system. The campaign has already drawn support from some big names in the sport, including former minister for sport, Kate Howey MP, former FA Chief Executive, Graham Kelly and BBC Football Commentator, John Motson. Hopefully, this won't affect Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club as, with luck, we will be a Football League team by the time the vote comes around again, but in the interests of non-league football as a whole, I urge you all to support the campaign.

Thanks

Nelson


 

 

 

 

DiggerDagger.com is an independent website and the views expressed are not necessarily those of Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club