Former Torquay United manager and current National League pundit for BT Sport, Chris Hargreaves, has called for an increase in the number of promotion and relegation places for non-league clubs.
Speaking as part of his in-depth conversation with Non-League Daily, the ex-Brentford and Northampton Town midfielder highlighted the need for those at the top to value non-league more. Hargreaves explained:
“It’s looked on a lot of time as Sunday league, not non-league, but it couldn’t be further from it. You get really, really professional set-ups, you get towns that are desperate to get back in the Football League, and the whole communities are based around that football club.
“It’s also a huge springboard for any number of players from Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two to relaunch their careers, or get some real-life football experience. I would restructure it as well and say more go up and more go down, because if you don’t do that in this country, clubs are lost forever.
“The Halifaxes of this world, the Darlingtons, and I’ve experienced it and I know how much pain it is. Like the Championship, it’s the hardest league to get out of, so I think perceptions are changing, and I think the coverage that BT have given it has helped.
“It’s brilliant for those players playing in it, because you get more publicity than you would in League One or Two sometimes. The FA and the Premier League need to step in, because a lot of players are given a chance in the National League.”