Saturday 30 May
As May is about to slip into June we hope that this finds you and your family well as we look forward to some continued warm and sunny weather. As some of the lockdown guidance is relaxed, please keep to the rules to help us come through this pandemic and find better times.
This week we hear from Kevin about his plans for the first team and some more news on the development of St James Park but first an update from the continuing saga of how the National League season will be concluded.
While it seems highly unlikely that National League North and South play-off games can be played due to the level of testing required and the costs of playing behind closed doors for clubs with zero income, we are tied to the National League which is in turn waiting on EFL decisions around promotion and relegation. The case for and against the various options for settling final league placings have been extensively aired and nobody would dispute that these decisions are difficult and cannot please everybody. But for most clubs at our level we need to draw a line under the season and look ahead. There are sufficient challenges facing us all in the future without the continued added conjecture and uncertainty around the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.
As a club, disappointed as we are not to conclude our games, cement a play-off place and look forward to competing for promotion for a third successive season, we are looking ahead to the next campaign – whenever that begins and in whatever format it emerges. Supporters would expect nothing less and so, quietly behind the scenes, with the board’s backing, Kevin has been discussing options with current players and talking with players who may become the new faces in next season’s squad. Some information has been put out through the club website and social media and you will understand that there will be further important news to come in the weeks and months ahead.
“I am pleased that we have secured the services for another season of many of the players who have been the foundations of our recent side – winning the FA Trophy two seasons ago and contesting the play-offs in the last two seasons,” Kevin says. “Jimmy, Gaz, Lee and Matt were signed up some time ago and in recent days Ellis, Glenn, Danny, Connor, Shep and Shane have or are about to put pen to paper and will form the back-bone of another strong squad that we hope will be competitive again next season. Conversations with other players from last season continue and undoubtedly as well, one or two will move on because that’s the way of these things at this level.”
“The club treats players well, this is a good club to play for and I know that players appreciate this. The board is being proactive in looking ahead despite the uncertain times. We don’t yet even know when next season will start so future income is uncertain but the club is ambitious as well as realistic and prudent. Across the country players will find that they have to be realistic in terms of their expectations because the situation is fluid. I think some players may have a rude awakening as the hard reality of the difficult financial situation hits home at lots of clubs at our level but also above.”
“Clubs are in for a difficult time and it is frustrating for all of us who love the game and just want to see football being played again – none more so than me! However, in the bigger scheme of things, I look around and there is hardship and loss in many families. It is healthy to keep things in perspective.”
“I think the fantastic spell of sunny weather has made things a bit easier if you have a bit of garden to get outside into. I am missing my football fix but did catch a replayed game from yesteryear on TV the other day. It was the replayed Cup Final between Spurs and Man City – what a match! I am also enjoying Saturday night Match of the Day with Lineker, Shearer and Ian Wright. Their conversation and banter, especially Ian Wright’s humour, telling it as it is, are great fun.”
“Rest assured that we are working hard to make sure that we are ready when football kicks off again. I send my best wishes to all supporters – take care. Kevin.”
The latest news on the ground development is that we have moved the media tower and all being well a further new seated stand will be in place on the far side of the ground by this time next week adding to the seated capacity of the ground and further enclosing the pitch on all sides. We hope to bring you further news on progress with the re-build of the clubhouse next time as the Football Foundation meets next week and hopefully this will confirm funding allowing us to set a start date for the works to demolish and start re-building. Again, this is all evidence of the exciting future at the club despite the difficult times we have to get through at the moment.
There will be plenty more news and stories to bring you as the weeks go by but for now, until next Saturday - stay safe, stay well.