‘To say it’s been a nightmare is fair’ - chairmen on getting to grips with Covid-19
- Credit: Archant
For one Fenland football club, riding the Covid-19 wave has been the equivalent of a nightmare at times.
“To say it’s been a nightmare is probably fair, but I don’t think any club in the early part of Covid had an excuse financially not to survive,” Dave Moore, co-chairman of Whittlesey Athletic FC, said.
During the pandemic, Whittlesey have rallied both on and off the pitch, not excusing any challenges they have had to endure.
The club, while being assured by financial support off the pitch, reported a positive Covid-19 case days before their first-team’s history-making FA Vase first round proper tie in October.
“That was a tremendous challenge,” Moore said. “But testament to some of the committee members that when something like that happens, they sort it to put us in the best place possible.”
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Since March, Moore has been kept informed as to what grants are available, allowing Athletic to maintain a solid financial position.
“With my background in finances, I was fairly up-to-date with what we could and couldn’t get,” he said.
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“It comes down to committee choice whether you spend the amount you got or go that extra mile, which I think we probably have done.”
One point that is more uncertain is deciding the right time to return to action.
Both government and FA guidance has been enforced throughout the non-league and grassroots system, rules that co-chairman Gary Munns is not convinced with.
“I felt sympathetic with the players, but you have to do the right things by the rules you’ve got, and I’m not convinced those things work,” he said.
“I think they’re deliberately grey because if you made them hard and fast, I’d think we’d shut down, and I do fear these new rules are potentially taking a step across that boundary.”
Moore and Munns both agree it may be too soon for Whittlesey, which is placed in Tier 2 of Covid-19 restrictions, to restart a full season, with talks of a tournament between local teams being suggested.
But despite an ever-changing situation, Athletic are determined to battle on.
“However hard you try, this is an invisible scenario that none of us really know where it is, so probably not beat yourselves up if something does happen,” Moore said.
“It’s been part of our life for 30, 40 years and more for some, and that is hard to ignore, but we look at the situation we’re in and ask whether it was the right thing to do and if we’re part of the problem,” Munns added.
“I guess we’ll never know that.”