STATEMENT FROM THE CHAIRMAN - JUNE 2020
As I write these notes, the dreadful pandemic which has affected the whole country appears to be abating. Whilst it is still tragic to lose lives in this way, the numbers are at the lowest level since mid-March and Government policy would appear to be approaching a strategy of relaxing the measures that have been in place and getting our economy moving again. Whilst we have no firm date for the commencement of the playing season, there are rumours of a September start. A number of teams have commenced training for the new season in small numbers. We must adopt a policy of caution as there is evidence in other countries of a resurgence of Covid-19. Please stay safe and observe social distancing.
The ground staff have worked extremely hard to get the pitch in excellent playing condition and my sincere thanks go to all of our volunteers for the maintenance of our stadium to such a high level in extremely difficult circumstances. After consultation with our Social Club manager, Jackie Beasant, and in view of the fact that we have access to outdoors, there is every possibility that the Social Club will be opened in the first week of July and preparations are being made by the acquisition of Perspex screens and appropriate masks to facilitate this. With the recommencement of the Premier League and EFL, BT and Sky Sports coverage will be available by way of entertainment.
You will already be aware of the outstanding achievements in the area of finance this year. We have received messages and reports that the interest has been kept up by the sterling efforts of Derek Buckley on the Forum and Paul Harper through social media. This has enabled us to take a nostalgic view of the history of Witton Albion by keeping in touch with the club and remembering those halcyon days in our long history. In addition to the area of social media and the forum, our match day programme was recently named the best in the Northern Premier League. My personal thanks to Steve Conneely for the many hours that he has put in to produce something so informative. In addition, deserved plaudits must go to our very own Phil Chadwick and one of the best sports journalists in the locality in Andrew Simpson.
Carl and Gary have been working hard to secure the services of players for next season. Many of you will have seen comments on social media about Kyle Sambor leaving the club. Despite receiving an offer to stay with us, Kyle has decided that his future lies elsewhere. He leaves with our best wishes and we thank him for his service. At our level of football, we have very few contracted players and therefore those of a non-contract basis are free to move should they wish to do so. The benefit of non-contract players from a club perspective is that they are only paid if they play. It has to be said that Carl and Gary have kept a very stable squad and they have a negligible attrition rate. Players do not generally want to leave. It should also be pointed out that it was the management team that identified Kyle’s talent and gave him the opportunity at this level. Carl and Gary work very hard identifying players who can step up.
Moving on to the 3G, Neil Wilson has been working tirelessly and we have now received a quotation which is under consideration by the Board of Directors. My personal thanks to Neil in procuring this so quickly. We are considering the funding options and I know that Neil has been extremely frustrated by the lack of response from various bodies due to the ongoing problems with the pandemic.
As part of our close knit family of volunteers and supporters, we have spent considerable time preparing lists of volunteers, staff and shareholders and we would be grateful if you could provide us with your updated contact details and email addresses so that we can keep you, the people that matter, more informed. Our newsletter, which commences this week has over 100 subscribers already, and this will keep people in the loop and also provide a forum for giving information to the club and having their own say.
Turning to the issue of the season tickets for the 2020/2021 season, we would normally be selling them at this stage, but in view of the delayed start to next season, have obviously deferred the process. In addition, as many are self-isolating, we have not had a manned office at the club as part of our policy.
We expect to commence season ticket sales in early July so please look out for information on our various media platforms. I am sure you are desperate to get back to watch the lads in what we believe will be a promising season. In the meantime, please stay safe and continue to adhere to all social distancing guidelines.