With the Government seemingly now set to allow a limited number of supporters to return to football stadiums at National League level, BWFC Media Manager Nicole Cox asked Wood Chairman Danny Hunter for his thoughts on these sudden developments. The Chairman was understandably cautious on the numbers that he feels he can safely allow into the stadium and in the lack of detail presently known.
Even though it’s now expected that the club will sit in a Tier 2 postcode, it is very obvious to all that the new COVID-19 case numbers are still riding high in South Hertfordshire as well as in North and East London, while the number of deaths across the UK are still hovering around the 400 mark each day!
Hunter said, “The decision of the Government on Monday has in truth caught everyone here a bit by surprise and I’m not sure that it feels remotely safe just yet within our community to allow large crowds to enter what is a compact, if well laid out stadium. However, if the Government are saying that fans are to be allowed in, then I will plan for their safe entry cautiously but we will need to do these things gradually and intelligently.
“As such we will only admit people with face masks, we will only admit our home season ticket holders and we will initially not open our bars unless a seat has been pre-booked and a meal has been pre-ordered. On top of this, we will initially only allow a further 200 home fans entry through a pre-purchased match ticket, which will allow us to then cater for a small number of home directors, away directors and media.
“If those arrangements are acceptable to the Safety Advisory Group (SAG), then we can perhaps then make around 300 to 400 match tickets available for the away supporters.
“We have to remain cautious, as we have all worked incredibly hard here since March, not only on the club’s social responsibility to its staff and our community, but in ensuring that this football club would still be here and able to come off of the life support we’ve provided at the right time.”
Hunter continued, “Is now the right time? In truth, I have no idea, but it does remain my job in keeping the safety of every one of our fans, staff and players paramount in my thinking while we find out. In truth as we enter December, we have an amazing safety record here at the club with no positive cases at Meadow Park since March during what’s been an incredibly unforgiving pandemic.
“The news of a vaccine has been a huge tonic to us and it’s now giving us all hope that at BWFC, life can once again return back to normal in the spring. We, therefore, cannot become complacent over the coming months as we all have a duty of care to each other and our community to see this through intelligently. We must also ensure that our safety standards are of the highest order for ourselves, our visiting supporters, for their staff, players and directors.”
“That is why it’s only correct we set a crowd limit that we believe is manageable initially, as that is perhaps the most intelligent thing to start with? That said, the ultimate decision-makers will need to be my Safety Officer, my COVID Manager, who initially want to set our maximum match attendance figure at no more than 1,000.
I will only allow that to rise, once the SAG group, our Safety Officer and our COVID Manager have met and are all in agreement, that we can maintain the safe distance measures needed for our stadium staff, the players, plus the home and visiting fans to watch the game, which will be in a segregated and safe environment.” Hunter concluded.
OUR CLUB. OUR TOWN. OUR COMMUNITY.