Fylde coast clubs make new plans after cup competition is scrapped

Squires Gate and AFC Blackpool are having to make alternative arrangements after the cancellation of the Heys Invitational Cup.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 12:30 pm

The competition had been devised by Prestwich Heys to provide teams with competitive football following a second consecutive early end to the North West Counties Football League season as a result of the pandemic.

Matchday one was initially due to take place tomorrow, only to be put back seven days to avoid a clash with Prince Philip’s funeral.

However, Heys announced the competition has been cancelled altogether because of what it described as ‘unforeseen circumstances.’

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Squires Gate and AFC Blackpool were due to compete in the Heys Invitational Cup Picture: Adam Gee
Squires Gate and AFC Blackpool were due to compete in the Heys Invitational Cup Picture: Adam Gee

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It added: “The club would like to thank everyone involved in the planning of this tournament, especially the clubs involved.”

Gate’s Brian Addison Stadium was to have been one of four venues staging group games in the 16-team competition.

The Marton club would have hosted the group one matches involving Gate, AFC Blackpool Garstang and Charnock Richard.

Heys were due to host group two, also featuring Chadderton, Northwich Victoria and Padiham.

Longridge Town was the host venue for group three, containing Ashton Town, Pilkington and St Helens Town.

Bootle had been set to host group four, including AFC Liverpool, Litherland REMYCA and Lower Breck.

The four host venues would also have staged a quarter-final, with the semis and final at Prestwich Heys.

AFC Blackpool issued a statement in the aftermath of the cancellation.

It read: “As a club we would like to pass on our thanks to both Matt (Barnes, manager) and Prestwich Heys for their hard work during the planning of the tournament.

“Whilst it’s disappointing not to be back in a competitive game, we stand by the decisions that have been made.

“The club will be looking to organise some friendlies to tide the team over and will announce these in due course.”

Gate are playing on Saturday with a behind-closed-doors friendly against Northwich Victoria (1pm).

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