I’m sure I’ve said it before that a week is a long time in football and sure enough it’s proved no exception in the last seven days. Cast your mind back to this time last week and a majority of us were looking forward to coming out of lockdown and football back before our very eyes.
Fast forward to now and the picture isn’t as clear, a re-start or half a re-start is what we’re going to get between now and 16th December and possibly longer. Whilst understandably clubs in Tier 3 have declined to want to play without fans inside their grounds, full leagues in other parts of the country have decided to carry on the season’s pause and will not see any action at least until the government review on the tier levels are carried out later this month.
This weekend also sees the return of the FA Vase and Trophy before league matches start to resume next midweek and there are many opinions and rights and wrongs in the eyes of clubs, the fans, boards of directors up and down the country.
You can sympathise with those who could have played on in front of zero spectators. We know from top to bottom with no one inside the ground to bringing income into the club in the form of gate receipts nor secondary sales of alcohol and food clubs will not be able to survive, there has to be fans watching games from Step 3 downwards.
Its quite ironic that as we get fans allowed back into National League games in all three divisions that below that level it’s now deemed not safe to attend games where prior to lockdown there have been none or indeed a very limited number of outbreaks of Covid amongst supporters.
And for those that can attend games the restrictions on clubhouses and confusion created around the selling of food as well has only made clubs have to work harder to ensure they’re doing as much as they can to avoid the club disappearing altogether.
I think the fact we have just fourteen days or less until the Trident leagues review their situation that surely those clubs that do want to play could have fitted two or three fixtures in and gotten on with things as they wanted to. I have no issue with those clubs who feel it’s not safe to play games and they don’t want to be responsible for families suffering an outbreak over the Xmas period, but is the country any less safe than it was four weeks ago and if you don’t catch it there in places where it’s deemed safe, then avoid the supermarket, pubs, other shops?
The loans and grants offered by the government has to come in the form of the latter, taking a loan with no hope of recovering enough income to pay bills or players or club wages, without being able to garner every single pound coin that can come through the doors will leave a lot of clubs wondering if actually opening the doors again is worth the struggle.
And it also makes you wonder how much more is left in any grant pot to be distributed, that surely can’t go on forever and if it can’t then a way has to be found to actually help these clubs get back on their feet instead of hindering every move.
It’s so difficult not to make it a political post nor push my feelings of the entire country situation out into a blog, so I hope it comes across from a football point of view and pretty much nothing else.
I’m back to football on Tuesday evening with a likely destination of Wick vs Arundel, a local derby in itself to start off with and fingers crossed in a couple of weeks’ time more grounds I can add to the list for a potential visit, now where’s that substantial scotch egg and a pint………..