On the 26th March 2020 the Football Association (FA) announced that all football from steps 3-6 in the non-league system would be brought to an abrupt halt, all results expunged and the leagues would be voided because of the Corona Virus. This affected every club in those leagues but in particular Hanwell Town who play in the BetVictor Isthmian South Central Division as they came so close to a well-deserved promotion being top basically all season with only ten games to go.
I managed to catch up with a few of the Hanwell players and find out how they’ve been coping during these unprecedented times and what implications have developed from this situation. Midfielder’s Toch Singh, Jack Hutchinson and top goal scorer Gareth Chendlik kindly got involved and here’s what they had to say:
•How are you keeping fit?
Toch Singh: “Taking a break due to self-isolation and announcement is null and void. But will be home gym and road runs.”
Jack Hutchinson: “So, I’m keeping fit by running every day.”
Gareth Chendlik: “I’ve been going on a few runs, trying to get a sub 20 minute 5km. It’s hard to stay motivated without knowing when football will be starting again though.”
•What training methods are you employing as not allowed to be with others?
Toch Singh: “Individual exercises in the garden. Just keeping active and working on technique in the garden.”
Jack Hutchinson: “I’m doing some weights at home and some body weight stuff.”
Gareth Chendlik: “Unlikely to play football again for at least a few months so just focusing on running at the moment.”
•How are you maintaining skills?
Toch Singh: “At this stage just in the garden. As restrictions loosen will be going 5/7aside and to the park to ping a ball about.”
Jack Hutchinson: “By trying to stay active.”
Gareth Chendlik: “Social distancing means it’s hard to do much.”
•Have you been in contact with other members of the squad?
Toch Singh: “Daily. We are in the same WhatsApp group. But also speaking with those regularly who I am closer with.”
Jack Hutchinson: “I haven’t been in contact physically with any of the boys but we are in a group chat together.”
Gareth Chendlik: “Yeah still speaking through WhatsApp etc.”
•How are you keeping up morale? (E.g.WhatsApp groups)
Toch Singh: “Precisely that, WhatsApp group, social media, nominations. We are playing a lot of PS4 together. This house party app has taken off as well.”
Jack Hutchinson: “With the group chat like I’ve mentioned previously.”
Gareth Chendlik: “It’s tough, especially when we’ve just found out the season has been made null and void.”
•Are you struggling to get enough food to maintain adequate nutrition with the current panic buying?
Toch Singh: “At the moment no. I have been fortunate.”
Jack Hutchinson: “I’m not struggling with food just yet. I Bought supplies to last me for now.”
Gareth Chendlik: “I’ve got lots of frozen veg so doing ok so far, it’s tough though!”
•How are you spending your spare time or home time if self-isolating?
Toch Singh: “Working from home currently. But perfect time to do DIY around the house. Spend time with the family and obviously binge on Netflix.”
Jack Hutchinson: “Mainly spending my spare time working out and creating work out videos for my personal training page.”
Gareth Chendlik: “Watching a lot of films and Netflix, plus going out running.”
•Was the void the correct decision in your opinion?
Toch Singh: “Believe it is the easier option for them. Causes them less work, admin and complaints. Tough decision for them. With over 75% of the season played it seems very unfair. Feel they made the decision a month early as well.”
Jack Hutchinson: “Void was wrong decision.”
Gareth Chendlik: “It’s tough, there was no way everyone would have been happy with the decision. Harsh on the teams that have done well for the first 3/4 of the season. Ideally we’d have just finished when this had all blown over.”
•When do you believe will football resume?
Toch Singh: “I think the Government will have a clearer picture at the end of May regarding the development of the virus. So, can’t say. One would hope it is in August.”
Jack Hutchinson: “Hopefully July pre-season as usual.”
Gareth Chendlik: “I don’t have a clue but hopefully as soon as possible.”
•Lastly, are you already thinking of next season and if so what are your thoughts?
Toch Singh: “Exactly that. Where I will be playing. When the season will start? How the world will have changed?”
Jack Hutchinson: “I haven’t given next year a thought yet.”
Gareth Chendlik: “I hope we can keep the group together and get promoted like we deserved to this season!”
I’d like to say a big thankyou to the three who took part and I hope everyone at Hanwell gets through this time and stays safe so they can address the unfinished business and get promoted next season.