It’s safe to say the impact of this global pandemic is unlike anything that anyone has ever experienced before. Daily lives have been hit in different extremes. With the peak of the virus hopefully gone I caught up with Virginia Water chairman David McBride to get a quick statement on the cancellation of all non league football.
“Its as if the club has been put into deep freeze! At first i was concerned about the impact it might have, but everyone seems focused on the bigger picture. The FA have been brilliant and have kept us informed at every step and I am impressed and grateful at how quickly they came to their decision. Not sure how long it will take to start again but my gut says June/July but safety must be put first during all this and again I’d like to thank the FA for making sure that no risks were taken during the pandemic. Professional leagues should look at how lower leagues have operated during this pandemic and I feel the Premier League should follow suit especially as these footballers have families they could be putting at risk.”
As well as speaking to club chairman I also managed to get some words off first team manager Ceri Jones. Jones answered questions on his squad, the impact Coronavirus has had and the void of the season. Jones hopes his squad will report for pre-season in good shape and more importantly safe and well.
“I would not expect any adverse impact on the squad in terms of physicality and fitness perspective. That said, I would hope it makes them all more aware and respectful of their personal health moving forward, both on and off the field”
“As a Club, we are completely restricted to enforce/maintain fitness levels of all players. I would endorse/expect all players to use the allowable daily exercise levels to keep as fit as possible, before we hopefully get the green light to start pre-season training at the end of June, which will no doubt be far more intensive. The ‘void’ season is totally unfair! The logical way was/is a simplified average of points per game, with promotion/relegation adopted. The FA laws quote that if a season is at least 70% completed, then it does constitute a full season! “
On the 26th March 2020, Non League football from steps 3-6 was cut short 2 months early as the FA deemed the impact of Coronavirus too much for the league to handle. Now over 2 weeks on I caught up with Virgina Water first teamer’s Matt Jones and Josh Hill to see how COVID-19 is affecting their day to day lives and what their opinions are surrounding the cancellation of their season and how they’re dealing with the pandemic.
Heres Hoping Hill and the Waters can get back to creating moments of brilliance like this soon!
How do you think the virus will affect the squad/club going into the future?
Josh Hill “As we are at a low level of non-league football, I don’t feel it will have a massive effect on either. As a club we do not generate a massive profit/loss and we don’t have many outgoings to pay. The Timber pitch was in need of a rest! As a squad we only trained once a week and played once a week so not much changes. We’re all still in touch via WhatsApp. Might be slightly less fit going into the next pre-season.”
Matt Jones “I would imagine that the club won’t be affected too badly by COVID-19. There are obvious financial implications which will be the same for all teams at our level, however on the playing front, things will likely be very similar heading into the new season (whenever that may be).”
Do you think a season void was a fair outcome?
Josh Hill “Definitely not, how can a team that have not lost a game be kept in the same division. They should have completed it on a Points Per Game system.”
Matt Jones “I do understand the reasoning behind the void decision however with the vast majority of league games already played, I would have preferred a Points Per Game conclusion. To tell clubs who are in strong positions or already promoted that they can’t go up isn’t right in my opinion.”
How has the virus affected you personally?
Josh Hill “My workload has been greatly reduced. I cannot visit my girlfriend or my grandparents. I am lucky I have a reasonable size house/garden to keep myself busy.”
Matt Jones “From a social and sporting viewpoint it’s not been easy. From being active most of the week to stuck inside all day isn’t ideal, but there’s always stuff to keep you busy!”
How do you plan on overcoming any setbacks covid-19 may have caused?
Josh Hill “I will try my hardest to get back to a normal routine as quick as possible once this has passed. I will work tirelessly on my business to try and pick up as much work as I possibly can to get us back on the right track.”
Matt Jones “Trying to stay physically fit and train where possible should minimise the setbacks. It will obviously take time to adjust but doing as much as possible now should help in the long run.”
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