“MISSED opportunities” to change the game have contributed to the mass postponements afflicting Non-League football over the last month, according to Taunton Town chairman Kevin Sturmey.

With the fixture against Salisbury being called off on Saturday, it means the Peacocks will not play a home league game between February 1 and February 29 - and that is causing headaches at the Cygnet Health Care Stadium.

“It means real difficulty,” Sturmey tells me on a Tuesday afternoon which saw more rain fall on a pitch that hardly needs any more punishment.

“I don’t think many people realise it’s like that.

“What will happen is that I’ll use one of my credit cards and transfer to a 0 per cent balance, which will get paid off eventually.

“One of the guys put in some money the other week to make sure we’re not close to our overdraft.

“I’m used to that, playing club cricket and we all paid our subs and our match fees.

“So I’ve always been used to supporting your club, whatever the sport and what level you’re at - people subsidise it.

“Sometimes you have a period like this - though it’s not as bad as in 2013, when we didn’t play [a home game] for eight weeks.

“Our budget is based on playing football and bringing money in on a matchday, which is a lot higher than it was in 2013.

“Luckily we don’t rely entirely on matchday, but in any business, your main source of income not coming in is going to hurt you.

“Three out of the four of us on the board of directors have run our own small businesses, so we know how tough it is in Non-League football.

“It’s about spinning plates, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and putting your hand in your pocket.”

Regardless of the freakish weather that we’ve had, Sturmey believes that waterlogged pitches are a symptom of another problem - too many matches.

“The opportunity was there last year to make all the divisions 20 teams maximum, but that opportunity was missed [there remain 22 teams in Southern League Premier South this season].

“It would have allowed you to play more league games before Christmas, because as far as I see it, September and October are fine, but then it doesn’t stop raining from the end of November.

“That’s been the case, pretty continually, for the last seven years.”

Fewer league games could help Non-League football introduce a ‘winter break’, something which Sturmey thinks would help the situation.

“There are certain times that you can’t do much to the pitch,” he said.

“Pitches are trashed over Christmas, because we’re all desperate to get our Boxing Day or New Year’s Day game on, as those generate the most money.

“I would have a two-week break straight after New Year’s Day.

“Just like the players, the pitch needs time to recharge - a few days is not enough.”

Short of investing £800k in a new hybrid pitch - playing surfaces which Sturmey believes are the future of the game, but well out of reach of most clubs’ spending power - there are other things which could help matters, in the Taunton chairman’s view.

“With a little bit of investment in infrastructure from the FA or the Premier League or Wessex Water or the council or lots of different bodies, if we could store the rainwater we get, we wouldn’t have to use water off the tap in summer, which would help our carbon footprint.

“If you can store the water and keep it underground - as the big clubs can afford to do - that would make a massive difference.

“Football needs to make the investment which will save money in the long run.

“But clubs don’t have that money set aside.”

He added: “I’d like to see the FA and all the authorities discuss how they can help clubs, for example having a verti-drain [aerating the ground to promote grass growth and assist drainage] in at the end of January - that would make a massive difference.

“If a company was able to come to two or three clubs in one area, it’s going to save them money on travel, which the company that we use does.

"Little things like that make such a difference, and surely someone could fund that for every club.

“There needs to be more dialogue and listening [within football], and joined-up thinking.”