Relegation is hard enough on its own, dropping from one level to another takes the fight out of a club.
It’s a chance to regroup, rebrand and clear down the decks. It’s often a breath of fresh air, a chance to sweep away the old guard and develop a new mentality. Look at Sunderland for instance, completely unrecognisable from a year ago.
One relegation, in particular, does not afford the opportunity. One relegation can destroy a club, can devour its soul and leave it floundering under the water. That is relegation out of the Football League.
Few teams that go down bounce straight back up, The National League is an unforgiving division, packed with quality sides aching for the one automatic promotion spot and a host of tough tackling players looking for a big scalp.
In the National League, scalps will rarely get bigger than Notts County.
If the Magpies are not careful, they’re going to drop out of the Football League for the first time in their history this season, a sad decline for a side that missed out on the Premier League riches by just one season.
Enzio Boldewijn swapped Crawley for Notts County in the summer. The winger had impressed with the Red Devils and reportedly cost the ambitious Magpies a ‘six-figure fee’ as they hunted an improvement on their play-off finish last season.
They haven’t got that and Boldewijn has been out injured for much of the campaign. Instead of kicking on in his career, he was sold a dud. He’s ended up right back where he feared he would with Crawley, only deeper in the mire than they are.
His progress has been halted not only by injury but by three different managers with different ideas and strategies.
The 26-year-old began his career with Utrecht and made 11 Eredivisie appearances, but he’s now on the cusp of away trips to Chorley and Maidenhead.
Hindsight would be a wonderful thing and maybe he’s regretting the move now, but what will the summer hold for him? Will he stay and repay the faith and the fee, despite the drop in level?
Or will he push for a move, maybe even get given one out of necessity as the financial implications of relegation bite hard at Meadow Lane?
There’s plenty of players who will be in the same position, but for the exciting winger he must surely feel he’s wasted a year of his career on broken promises.