JON MCCARTHY has accused the National League of showing Chester a ‘lack of respect’ regarding the hastily rearranged away fixture at Solihull Moors.
McCarthy expressed his ‘anger’ and ‘disappointment’ with league officials over their decision to rearrange the game at Solihull for Tuesday, September 5, just 72 hours after the Blues face one of their longest away trips of the campaign at Torquay United.
The original clash with Solihull was postponed on the opening day of the season due to safety fears at Damson Park and McCarthy feels the Blues are being punished twice by the National League in a ‘double blow’ to his plans.
The National League have insisted the rearranaged game must take place within 42 days of the initial postponement, and rejected the request of both clubs to play on September 26.
“The National League are good hosts and we’ve had very few problems with them, and I’m not here to pick a fight, but the treatment of us shows a real lack of respect towards us as a football club,” said McCarthy, speaking at a community event for Chester at the Footgolf centre in Mollington.
“I’m massively disappointed with the way we’ve been treated. It’d be interesting to see how it would’ve been dealt with for one of the bigger clubs, whether they’d have had the same issues.
“We were offered dates to play by Solihull and we chose September 26, just after we’ve played Maidenhead at home.
“But we’ve been handed a situation where we go away to Torquay on the Saturday and now Solihull Tuesday. I’ve not done the maths on the miles but it has a massive impact on our season.
“I’m really angry about it, it’s not been dealt with in the right way. There’s an archaic rule about 42 days, why 42 days?
“I’m angry about it, it’s not right for our fans. I’m guessing this provides your lead article, not everything that’s right with our club right now, but I feel strongly about this.
“I have to stick up for our fans and we’ve not been treated properly. We’ve missed out twice in this scenario, it’s a double blow.
“We took what happened from Solihull, and I’ve no problems with Solihull, the manager text me some reasons. I don’t know whether it was Solihull’s fault, the league or the safety advisory committee, but the fact is someone has made a mistake along the line.
“We had 700 fans, maybe more going to that game, we’d have turned it into a home game. We’d done all our preparation and were right up for that. The impact it's had is really significant but we dealt with it.
“I’m sticking up for our supporters on this one. They were out of pocket, had bought train tickets, were really excited by it.
“It’s massive for us and I’d ask the fans if they can get there on that Tuesday night, rally round us and it’s a huge one for us.”
Turning his attentions to tomorrow’s home clash with second-placed Sutton United (3pm), McCarthy described Paul Doswell’s U’s side as ‘promotion contenders’ and fully accepts his team will have their work cut out to break their run of three successive draws and claim a first win of the new campaign.
“Sutton have good players, they are very sound financially and the work they did last year, that cup run, it’s an incredible windfall,” added McCarthy, whose side haven’t tasted victory at home in 2017.
“They have a strong squad physically, attacking-wise they’ve got lots of good options but we’ve got a game plan and we’ve spent time on that.
“The three teams who’ve played against us have found out we're well organised.
“ Sutton come here, second in the table, they’re a good side, and if they get it right and come away with the points, we’ll hold our hands up.
“But if you don't, we’ll be ready. We’ve created a strong work ethic and discipline here.
“We smashed them 4-0 last year with a full team who were all fit. At the end of the season we go there and it summed up the season really, Sutton kept strengthening and we weren’t able to do that.
“It’s a different place, different time now, and we’re in a better place. They are promotion contenders, not just play-off contenders but it’d be nice to get one over on them.
“Of course we’d have liked to have turned those draws into wins but I’m very happy with how we’ve played.
“Last season we’d conceded six goals at this stage and we went to Barrow and conceded another three, so we’ve only conceded two this time and you saw some elements of us playing football and opening up a bit in midweek.”
See full story in the Chester Leader