Moors chairman Darryl Eales' latest set of programme notes...
Our hard earned but deserved win at Dover on Saturday puts us back in the play-offs and overall, with our games in hand, we have a good platform to further consolidate this position.
With the disruption caused by Covid, it is essential we keep an eye on our points per game, given the ongoing possibility of the season not being completed in full.
I’m sure everyone is aware of the debate amongst clubs and the National League about whether we should continue the season and the range of options available.
The debate has been intensified recently as the Government has changed its position on supporting clubs with grants to compensate for the loss of revenues arising from ‘behind closed doors’. This is undoubtedly a blow for all clubs and certainly was unexpected as the indication was given when we agreed to start the season, that the grant funding would continue for as long as fans could not attend games.
The decision not to continue this support is curious as well as disappointing. If the consequence is that the season is suspended, then first team staff and players will need to be furloughed and this will actually cost more than the grants!
The new lockdown has also compounded the already precarious funding position of clubs and accordingly and understandably a growing number of clubs, especially in the North and South, would like to suspend the season.
The range of ownership structures places different financial pressures on clubs, especially those that are supporter or community trust owned.
From a Moors perspective, we are fortunate to have a broad shareholder base, committed to funding the club over the long-term. On this basis, our position is to keep the season going and ensure, above all, that there is promotion to League Two!
The Board of the National League, on which we are represented admirably by Tim Murphy, is, undoubtedly, in a difficult position.
A paramount consideration is preserving the elite status of the National League and staying in lockstep with the EFL.
So far, the general consensus is that National League clubs will try to keep going whilst continuing to lobby for an extension of the grant funding.
I think it is, however, delicately balanced and the consensus could easily move towards suspending the season if we cannot achieve additional financial support.
I would urge fans of all clubs to lobby their local MP to press for a continuation of the grant funding. With the vaccine programme running at full speed, there is surely every chance that fans will be allowed back in limited numbers by April - and it is essential we keep going until then.
On the pitch, we now have a Saturday/Tuesday programme until mid-April. This will need careful management in terms of team selection and player conditioning.
We are delighted to have strengthened the squad with the additions of Nathan Cameron and Kyle Howkins and we still hope to bring in another striker. Fingers crossed also that Adam Rooney is back fully soon and Callum Howe in the next month or so. With a full strength squad, we can have a real go this season.
Finally, it was great to see Dapo Afolayan make his debut for West Ham on Saturday - and score! Let’s hope he goes on to make a start in the Premier League in the not too distant future.
*The club produced a matchday programme before the game with Notts County was reversed. A limited number of hard copies can be purchased HERE.