Former Leeds United and Sheffield United star Paddy Kenny calls on top-flight to look after lower levels

The only thing Paddy Kenny can say for sure about what will happen to Yorkshire’s National League clubs this week is that some teams will be unhappy.

HELP EACH OTHER: Paddy Kenny, pictured during his time at Leeds United.

Halifax-born Kenny started and finished his career in non-league football, playing in between for the likes of Sheffield United, Leeds United and the Republic of Ireland.

He still takes an interest in matters beyond the Football League, and does not envy those who have big decisions to make.

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HOPEFUL: York City manager Steve Watson had guided the Minstermen to top of National League North when the season was suspended. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

The National League abandoned its season and asked clubs to make the case for if and how promotion and relegation should happen, with a decision expected soon. The fates of Harrogate Town, Halifax Town (in Conference play-off positions when coronavirus hit), York City (top of Conference North) and Bradford Park Avenue (bottom) rest on it.

“I think for the clubs it was the right thing to do,” says Kenny of the decision not to try to play on, as the Premier League and Football League still hope to. “For the players it means they miss out on money but I’m sure there are still a lot of bills to be paid to keep the clubs running.

“I’m so glad I don’t have to make that decision because you’re going to have some teams happy and some teams unhappy whatever you do.”

Kenny started his career at Bradford Park Avenue, who when the suspension kicked in in March were nine points adrift at the bottom with nine matches left, making their interests very different to York’s, who were two clear at the top having played two games more than second-placed Kings Lynn Town.

“They might be one of the teams who hope the season gets scrapped,” said Kenny of his old club. “But others will be hoping for promotion and relegation.

“I always look out for Halifax and they’ve done really well this season (sixth in the Conference). For three-quarters of the season they’ve worked hard to get into the position they have, as have all the other teams, and it would be a shame if it counted for nothing.”

Kenny hopes the top clubs look after those towards the bottom.

“Coming up through non-league makes you appreciate what you’ve got,” he said. “Your top-end just wouldn’t work without the lower levels.

“When all these Premier League clubs with billionaire owners are furloughing staff it just shows how difficult it is for everyone. It’s important everyone tries to look after each other.”

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