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Bills Bulletin

Bill’s Bulletin: a euphoric moment

You know that feeling of euphoria after a win?

I had it on Saturday when Georgie Porter headed home the winner, there was even fireworks – literally.

There was collective euphoria across the world yesterday when news of a Coronavirus vaccine breakthrough was announced. This, we’re told, could see life return to some semblance of normality by next spring.

We were of course urged to be cautious.

Professor Jonathan Van Tam, who has been one the shining lights during this crisis, likened the discovery of this vaccine, which offers ‘90% protection’, as similar to “getting to the end of the playoff final, it’s gone to penalties, the first player goes up and scores a goal”.

We can all cast our minds back to May 2016 to remember that moment. I am glad he used that analogy rather than saying a penalty shootout at the end of a FA Cup tie!

We are halfway through week one of the second lockdown. I don’t know about you but the circumstances feel totally different to the one in March, April and May.

Back in the spring, Mrs Williams and I had started a lockdown of sorts a fortnight before the Government imposed one. There was still a collective shock when the Prime Minister made the announcement on that Monday evening. The life many of us had taken for granted stopped in a heartbeat.

This time though things are different. Our lockdown coping mechanisms are mostly in place, we’ve mastered the use of Zoom (most of the time), and the weather and darker nights mean staying indoors is not so much of a chore.

But the biggest difference from the first lockdown for me is that football at our level continues. I was lost without it back in the spring but as it stands our first team are playing and training, and our academy are still in the classroom.

The rest of our club has been impacted once again, with all activities suspended until the first week of December. Our local MPs, both former Sports Ministers, made the case for youth grassroots football to continue but sadly to no avail. It was a tough ask because you make an exception for one and it can open the proverbial can of worms but their intervention at the time was a welcome one.

While there’s light at the end of the tunnel or however Boris referred to it yesterday, there are still some testing days and weeks ahead.

We still have a huge financial shortfall that needs to be addressed if we are going to complete the season. Although the recent financial package from The National Lottery has been a help, and we are grateful for the assistance, we still need to find extra revenue streams to add to this.

There are still many uncertainties as to what happens after December, when the funding stream ends.

There have been calls in Parliament this week to allow fans at our level from the New Year. I have to admit that I do struggle at times to understand how 600 spectators, which have been allowed at a level below us, couldn’t be completely Covid safe in an open-air stadium like we have here in Maidstone that has a capacity of 4,175.

That is beyond my control and influence but like all of you, I hope that yesterday’s vaccine announcement really is the start of the end.

And to go back to Professor Van Tam’s analogy, let’s hope all those in the scientific and medical world achieve a great victory and with it the euphoria it will bring about.

Keep well and stay safe.