As you are well aware, the Coronavirus pandemic is now firmly rooted amongst us and it’s only going to get worse.
In truth having our local schools, colleges, social gathering establishments and public houses still open is perhaps a surprise to many, but when they eventually close, no doubt London will then be put into lockdown?
So, none of you need me to tell you, that there isn’t a cat in hell’s chance of any football starting up again in the National League on April 3rd or anywhere near that date.
So, let me send an open and honest message to our Town, to my very loyal Wood Army and to our more than worried and concerned local community, and that is to take care of yourselves, look after your loved ones and forget about local football.
As a small community Club and Town, my gaffer Luke Garrard, my staff and our dressing room have done a truly incredible job for us this season. We presently sit fifth in the National League and in truth we genuinely did fancy our chances of a top three finish, especially after losing just once in our last 19 games and after having taken just eight points from our first nine games.
Like many of you, I was of course dreaming of promotion and even winning the play offs at Wembley this year, especially after we had lost at the home of football to Tranmere Rovers in the play off final two years ago.
Well that was my dream anyway, but that dream is now possibly over? The reality is football must, I repeat must, become a total irrelevance for many of you for the foreseeable future.
Why? Because for most of us we are at the start of this pandemic but for some of you, you are already in the midst of a real life pandemic nightmare.
A nightmare where your loved ones could lose their jobs, where your loved ones could lose their homes, where local people could lose loved ones and where many of our elderly could lose their lives long before their time.
So, we must all find a way to help each other, to find a way to keep our small community and football club together, and we must all be honest with each other and stay strong.
I’m in truth a community man, a local man made good, but I’m also a realist and I’m not relying on football handouts or any football income coming into Meadow Park anytime soon. And while I deal with what is a financial pandemic, I’ll work night and day to plan and budget for our football club to still be with us come July…
I’ll perhaps also brace myself tomorrow for possible criticism to this press release, as many will see it as scaremongering and nonsense. But in my opinion, it’s most definitely not scaremongering and if hindsight shows me to be completely wrong, I’ll of course apologise profusely.
That said, I have always built my companies success on more than hindsight, on more than just hoping for the best and on more than “possibility”… so I think it’s best for all of our community to perhaps plan for the worst while hoping for the best?
Which is why if our community does go into lockdown, I will commit to giving £2,000 personally to Deputy Mayor of the Town Council Sandra Parnell and her team, who run our local dementia club at Fairway Hall, to keep them financially ticking over, when this pandemic is over.
If I’m honest, I want my staff, our supporters and our local community to forget football and concentrate only on themselves, on their families and that means not necessarily waiting for our Government to give us all the answers… I know I’ve learnt that recently and I’m better for it.
I believe that our local community should trust in each other, trust in our own common sense, while looking after each other and our loved ones. As such I’m publicly committing to paying not only our players, but 80% of my loyal staff for as long as it takes for us to beat this virus and we will beat it. When that has been achieved and we’re up and running the other 20% of my work force will be offered re-employment.
Trust me, if anything else changes on the football front, I will of course let you all know but for now look after yourselves, look after your loved ones and when we’ve all hopefully come through this, your football club will still be here waiting for you.
“Come on the Wood!”