Waking up this week to see the National League clubs are still waiting for the government to give them the money they need to survive made me want to have a rant.
In the current climate it’s difficult not to turn anything into a political debate as the conversation always comes back to covid and how it’s being dealt with but football is the topic here.
I have various people I know at clubs in both the National League and National League South and they must be mystified as to why they were allowed to start the season nearly two weeks triggering players contracts into effect yet here we are still waiting to see that bail out money reach the club coffers.
What do these people think clubs are surviving on to run? Fresh air? Goodwill and fortune? Having listened to various people and reports over the last few days there are around half of League Two just above us in non-league unable to survive past Christmas and that now is not too far away, I suspect the figure in League One is slightly lower, it may not be, but how can a business be expected to survive and pay its employees without any income?
The latest set of restrictions being enforced mostly in the northern part of the country is causing confusion as to whether fans are in, fans are out, players and staff can move between tier counties etc, why can’t it just be in simple terms we can all understand?
As it was the London FA on Thursday released a statement cutting step 5 and 6 capacities from 300 people to 150 for this coming weekend only to retract it two hours later with normal service resumed.
And why are we still battling to get fans back into football when more and more indoor venues are re-opening, not insisting on mask wearing and where we know the virus likes to spread?
Of course we know covid doesn’t appear before 10pm and is in bed by 5am, knows whether you’re a Step 1 or 2 supporter, if you’re a home or away fan and only attacks you if you get up from the table in the pub to leave or visit the toilet, only it doesn’t seem to know how to spread as effectively outside where funnily enough we watch football, but it can find you in clubhouse if you forget to wear a mask while you grab a beer, but it couldn’t do that 3 weeks ago.
So why are we not allowed from top to bottom people inside grounds? Each club has completed their risk assessments in time for 1st October, they were ready. If the biggest issue is people using public transport to get there, then how do they think people get around to other places? Not everyone drives and if they actually took a look at the fact trains, tubes and buses are pretty much empty then they would actually see there is no problem.
And then instead of bailing out our clubs use it on places that really need it, like indoor venues that can’t social distance. Let them get on with starting to regain some income before they disappear for good, and lets also remember that it’s not just a club that goes under, a community loses their asset, businesses that supply the club with anything from printed programmes to food get squeezed even further.
More importantly, the mental health of this nation has been battered beyond belief over the past six months and the relief of those able to get back to watching their team on a weekend has provided no end of joy for many desperate for some sanity.
If the DCMS can’t provide any scientific evidence which they appear unable to do, then let a maximum amount into all grounds that are comfortable, do all the checks that need to be done and begin to return things slowly back before we find a complete devastation across the country, it’s starting to look like it’s not too far away………..