It’s been a bad week again for Dunstable as we went to Gosport who we have shared difficult times with. The week we go they are able to benefit from the transfer embargo being lifted with outstanding obligations being met due to a reprieve from some outside help. That meant they were able to move quickly and the two players they brought in were both key to the result. None more so than the defenders involvement in Ryan Young’s harsh sending off with the game barely started. Our hard work, endeavour and game plan that has seen us dominate large spells of recent games, will translate games into points soon. We had 9 out injured, unavailable or suspended last Saturday and many of them are returning so things will look better. We are delighted to have secured Nick Hayes in goal now till the new year so that really gives us some consistency whilst our young keeper Casey Harker still struggles to shake off his groin injury. Many thanks to Ipswich Town Football Club.

This week has also seen Merthyr Town run into financial trouble and I really hope they can resolve that situation. I can tell everybody now that we want the reward in sporting terms for all the pain and work we have put in. Surviving by default if any club doesn’t survive the race I find outrageous. The very last thing I want is to see a club disappear and also we want to survive by winning football matches and that preserves the decency and sporting integrity of the game as well as the leagues product which has so many supporters paying to watch real competition.

To date our players have done this for nothing from day one, so I was surprised to hear that regular Merthyr players offered to play, but were told it wasn’t fair on them. Our players have played all year for free, not even expenses. Is that fair on them? Our players have fought and battled in every game. Including when we were completely demolished by an excellent Merthyr team at the start of the season. We took defeat on the chin and we respected how good our opponents were that day. I was so complimentary of the players the staff. Class on and off the pitch.

But now it leaves me feeling disappointed. This isn’t sour grapes. We went to Hereford who are the biggest club in the league. We lost 2-0 the second of which was a stunner. But we battled and had a go like we do and we got beat. I’m sure they have a decent playing budget and so they should. I’m sure they are playing within their means and that shows with the amazing support they get every week. That’s FAIR play.

Too many clubs in non-league go through this year after year (ours has been through it) and something needs to happen. There are incredible salaries now and these leagues exist in gambling coupons, so sporting integrity has to be paramount. In order to keep fans engaged we have to maintain the real competitiveness of the league and ensure we do everything possible to prevent clubs being miss-managed into disaster. Ours included. It needs deterrent. If financial fair play penalties exist then it would perhaps ensure clubs look to balance the books over a season and not just the first few months obtaining enough points to survive. There has to be serious points repercussion if that goes wrong to preserve integrity of the game.

It could also be that clubs cannot spend ‘X%’ above their revenue in a similar way as top clubs under Financial Fair Play regulations. These things have to come into play. Or at least discussed. There are some fantastic football clubs in this league and steps have to be taken to protect them, along with the loyal fans that travel all over to follow them. Change is needed.

We’re playing for pride with passion and integrity for our great people. We will do everything possible to reward you. Enjoy today’s game.

If you see a pink wristband or ribbon, please buy one as our football family stick together on and off the pitch!

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Dunstable Town Football Club is a members owned football club that is run by the Club Committee

through its annually elected Club Officers, constituting the Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary.