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Manager says League Two and National League should merge

A former footballer turned manager in Jamie O’Hara says that League Two and National League should merge for the 2020/21 season.

The Billericay Town boss suggested that the bottom tier of the English Football League and the top tier of the non league pyramid should be combined and split into North and South divisions.

He told the radio stadium talkSPORT back in May that it would keep travel costs down, and also help clubs invest more money into their squads.

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Many owners of lower league clubs are left worrying over their future following months of no football, with majority having their season cancelled in March.

This has had a serious financial impact for a lot of teams, who have ended up having to set up a donation page to help pay the bills or risk folding.

O’Hara suggests a solution to provide a brighter future for them all, the manager says: “I think they should merge the National League with League Two. Make it a north-south division. That’s what I think needs to happen.

“It would give teams less travel so they can invest more money in players, there’ll be more local derbies and more fans.

“There’s too much travel in League Two, the money is not there and players are going to lose out.

“Teams normally have a squad of 25 players, they’re only going to have 18 players next season, that’s how it’s going to be.

“What I would say to players out of contract in League Two is consider dropping down into the non-league.

“Play part-time football, get another job and you can make up your money. Play football for a season to keep yourself ticking over and get back [to League Two] when the money gets back into it.”

He also took a swipe at the National League, labelling them ‘a complete shambles’ over the lack of guidance from bosses throughout the pandemic.

Speaking in May, O’Hara wanted clarification on the league’s future, how the 2019/20 season will end, when the new campaign could start, and whether or not fans will be able to visit games.

After being asked if there had been any developments during a week in May, he told talkSPORT’s Alan Brazil: “Absolutely nothing, it’s a complete shambles, mate, to be honest.

“It’s still a fantastic league, I’m really disappointed. We need some guidance, we need to know what’s going on!

“They’re still debating on what we’re doing about this season – this season has gone!

“It’s ridiculous what’s going on. There are so many players who are now out of contract in non-league, and they’re now sitting there with uncertainty.

“I haven’t been given anything to say to my players who are out of contract, it’s ‘thanks lads, we’ll let you know if we need you for next season’, but we don’t know when we’re going to come back so we can’t offer them anything at the minute.

“We don’t have the budget, we don’t know if we’re going to have fans in the ground next season and we don’t know when we’re going to start – there’s talk of it being in January.

“So there’s absolutely so much uncertainty and absolutely no guidance in non-league at the minute and it’s an absolute joke.

“It’s hurting people.”

O’Hara wasn’t the only one saying that League Two and National League should merge, with reports claiming that a radical plan had been put forward by many club chairmen and officials to merge League Two and the National League.

Preliminary discussions took place on restructuring the divisions on a regional basis – turning them into League Two North and League Two South.

The plans would boost the worrying finances by giving the attendances a much needed boost, brings more local derbies in each club’s fixtures, which would also save travelling costs.

Another discussion was that League One and League Two could merge and be split into north and south divisions, which would keep the National League structure the same.

A newspaper had caught on to the idea and gave an insight into what the leagues could have looked like.

Supporters and even Chester boss Anthony Johnson reacted on Twitter after reports on League One and League Two potentially being split into two divisions – but also on manager Jamie O’Hara says League Two and National League should merge…

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