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Bills Bulletin

Bill’s bulletin: league position vs public health

I don’t know about you but it’s so easy to lose track of the days, we seem to be suspended in a permanent state of Sunday!

But today is Saturday and what’s more it is the 18th of April, the date we were meant to be playing our final home game of the season.

Instead, as it has been for more than three weeks, the Gallagher Stadium is shut and silent.

As I’ve said previously there’s so much more than football at this time but indulge for a moment. I am really missing it. It’s not just the games, I miss the routine of going into the office, watching the players train, the general cut and thrust of it all.

I am sure you all want for the day we’re back down the road, having a pre-match pint before taking our place in the stand or on the terraces.

You may have read in the press that National League clubs are voting whether to end the season.

And that leads me back to my previous point. There is more to life than football at this time. You know it, I know it, even the United Nations Secretary General says coronavirus is the worst global crisis since World War Two.

But even that won’t deter a few club chairmen trying to put league position above this public health crisis.

Some, and the emails have been going back and forth in recent weeks, take this situation with the severity it deserves. They – and we – see no option other than to end the season now and do our best to steady ourselves for the next one, although that may still be many months away.

Unlike the professional game, which is still predominantly cash rich, despite some eyebrow-raising furloughing, most clubs at our level haven’t had any income for six or more weeks and have most of their players out of contract in a fortnight.

It would be highly risky for our clubs to commit to anything contractual while the uncertainty over when and how next season might happen sits over us.

Hopefully those who haven’t voted and are dragging their heels will take a moment this weekend to remind themselves that the suffering of more than of 14,000 men and women, their family and friends ranks higher than their league placing and an etching on a piece of silverware.

I want to take a moment to thank all of you who’ve offered support in one way or another.

I’ve been playing around with a ‘kickstart our season’ campaign, which could include donations, season ticket purchases, volunteering etc.

I know some supporters are keen to donate and one has offered a generous amount to start it off. We’re talking to Tim Murrell at iMUSC to see if this is something they can lead on.

So many of you want to buy season tickets and we want to get selling as soon as we can. As it is, the office is currently closed and staff are furloughed. Once they’re back at work, we will make that a priority.

I know they appreciate the support of a few volunteers who are keeping things ticking over. In particular Mr Gooch, alias Stones TV, who’s keeping us entertained with goal polls and re-runs of youth matches on Saturdays and Tuesdays.

As is tradition, if I’d been writing my programme notes for today’s match, I’d have taken the opportunity to thank everyone involved in the club for their help and support during the season.

I never name names as you always offend the one person you forget but to each and every one of you – thank you.

The season ended earlier than we ever expected and our way of life is unrecognisable to what it was just six short weeks ago.

I hope it won’t be too long before, as the song says, we’ll meet again.

Stay safe and my very best wishes to you all.