THE finer details of the Football Association’s decision to end the seasons of non-league clubs for a second year running is important.

The words “null and void” were avoided, with the game’s governing body keen to stress the season had been merely curtailed.

This meant playing records are still live and for clubs such as Warrington Rylands, that could prove critical.

A restructure of the National League System to create three new leagues – one at Step Four and two at Step Five – had been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic but it remains on the table this year.

Given their playing record across both shortened seasons – they were second in the North West Counties League Premier Division when the 2019-20 season ended and were unbeaten in 2020-21 – Blues may find themselves as candidates to be promoted.

The Gorsey Lane club have taken 76 points from the 35 league games played, which means their point-per-game average is 2.1714 – a score which places them third in the two-part season table behind 1874 Northwich (2.3529) and Bootle (2.2667).

“There will be those who say we were in favour of it because there’s a chance we could be promoted and that’s fine, but its about more than that,” Rylands boss Dave McNabb said.

“Players and volunteers at this level have given their blood, sweat and tears even though there was only so many games played. You can’t just wipe that from the record books.

“The feeling at the final whistle in games like we had against Longridge and Clitheroe, or when the winning penalty went in against Whitby – you can’t just say that never happened.

“It will be interesting to see what comes of it but there’s certainly three teams in our league whose playing record stands a fair away above.

“1874 Northwich should have been crowned champions last season – they were by far and away the best side and deserved that trophy.

“Then there’s ourselves and Bootle who had started this season well having been up there last season.

“Whatever it comes down to – playing record, ground grading, financial viability and things like that – I’d hope we stand a good chance.”

Under the restructure plans, the new Step Four division will be run by the Northern Premier League alongside its two existing First Divisions.

To create the required number of clubs to form the new division, the NWCFL was granted an extra two promotion slots, meaning they would promote three teams instead of just their Premier Division champions.

Rylands have undertaken improvements to their Gorsey Lane home in order to satisfy ground grading requirements for entry into the Northern Premier League, including a new stand with additional seating.

Additional reporting by Garry Clarke