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Bills Bulletin

Bill’s Bulletin: overcoming this toughest opponent of them all

Never before has the expression ‘one step forward and two steps back’ felt more appropriate.

We are nine days away from our first competitive match of the season but rather than counting down those days with excited anticipation, we anxiously await news from the FA or our league following the government’s decision to pause the return of spectators at our level.

That was a bitter blow as we’d spent so much time working out how we could adapt the stadium to meet Covid-secure guidelines. We think we’re over that hurdle when along comes another obstacle.

I wasn’t expecting a smooth ride, we knew there would be twists and turns before the first ball was kicked in anger but this eleventh hour chopping and changing is disrupting the lives and livelihoods of so many people.

I find it so frustrating because for the first time in my football career there’s not someone or something I can draw upon to help the situation.

All we can do is wait for the government, FA and leagues to make their next move.

You will all have questions about the current situation, I am sure most are the same we’ve been wrestling with in the last 48 hours.

Once the announcement is made by the powers that be, give us a bit of time to digest that and we’ll come back to you with our thoughts and immediate plans.

This will be a watershed moment for our national game. I do hope there is a collective effort to get through these next few months so we can all emerge intact.

It’s all too easy to define a club by what happens at 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and while that’s the bread and butter of the business we’re in, there’s so much more to it.

I was particularly struck by recent interviews with fans of Bury and Macclesfield, still reeling from the demise of their beloved clubs – something we can relate to from the not-too-distant past.

They spoke of the impact on the community as a whole and that struck a chord with me.

We will all have magic moments from our first eight years at the Gallagher Stadium but equally there will be the mum and dad who watched their youngest toddle on the pitch for their first Pebbles session, the school kid who got to play their cup final here rather than a park pitch or the Raiders player who defied the doubters to take part in the game they love.

That’s community, that’s our club, that’s why we have to do all we can to overcome this toughest opponent of them all.