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Non League Football Clubs Need Your Help By Signing A Petition
Tuesday, 18th Aug 2020 09:12

It is not just Premier League clubs who will not be able to let fans back into the stadium's yet, non league clubs are also unable to do so and with pre season friendlies being a vital source of income, some will not survive unless this blanket ban is lifted.

It is understandable why football supporters in stadium's above conference level are unable to return to the grounds at the moment, but it is less clear why the club's at a lower level are not allowed to play in front of spectators and they need your help by signing a petition to get 100,000 signatures that means the Government have to consider this for debate.

Most play in front of no more than a few hundred supporters at most and therefore social distance would be easily achievable whatever the lay out of the ground, indeed surely it would be far safer having 300 football supporters out in the open air, spread out around a football pitch 110 metres long by 60 metres wide than it would be to have a similar number in an enclosed supermarket or shopping mall.

If you take a local team such as AFC Totton, they have a ground that holds in the region of 4,000, the current suggestion is that when fans are allowed to return they will be allowed to let in a quarter of that number, but even that figure is far above the 300 or so who usually watch the team.

Social distancing would be simple at their ground, so where is the problem ?

But the real issue for the Stags and indeed all non league clubs is that a lack of crowds means a lack of money and most are completely reliable on money generated from match day income, not just the money through the gate, but generated in the club house through sales of food and drink, especially drink with part of the whole non league experience being a pint after to discuss the game.

Now these teams would be playing pre season friendlies and although gates are low they generate income, it might sound peanuts but 100 spectators turning up pre season is vital to the cash flow.

The government though seems to be imposing a blanket ban on football fans, they treat 76,000 fans at Old Trafford the same as 76 fans turning up at a non league club, to them it is the same issue so the solution is the same and it will be a case of all back in or none at all and this is wrong.

So a petition has been set up to persuade the Government to look at non league clubs separately and it needs all football fans to sign it to make sure that the grass roots level clubs can survive.

It is simple and takes no more than a minute, but your signature can make a difference, the number of people who have already signed up will perhaps mean that the 10,000 needed to make the Government just respond will be smashed today, but it needs 100,000 so that the Government has to do more than just send an acknowledgement and then can bury it, it needs 100,000 so they have to take it seriously and more to the point, that the national media will take up the cause and pressure the Government to change their stance.

This is where those who follow Premier and Football league club's can play their part, click on the link below to spend less than a minute adding your name to the petition, if you can then put the link on your social media and share it to others that would be great, these clubs truly need help from the wide number of fans across the country who follow the game at any level, if we sit back and do nothing a lot of clubs will go to the wall.

Click on this link.


Photo: Action Images

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wessexman added 09:31 - Aug 18
I have a season ticket at Southampton but I also watch Poole Town FC when Saints are not playing or north of Birmingham. The average attendance is around 450 which makes social distancing more than feasible. The chances of seeing Saints at home this side of xmas are remote. Although I fully advocate letting spectators back in at Poole, and every other non league club, there is a danger the attendances will soar because regulars at, especially Prem games, will be looking for a live footie fix. Non league clubs will have to find a way to give preferential treatment to non league regulars in order to make it fair.

On a brighter note, perhaps people who attend a non league game for the first time will experience a far more relaxed, friendlier and far less cynical afternoon. They will be surprised at the affordable prices of tea, coffee and their pint. They will see players on a pittance compared to the prima donnas they normally see slugging their guts out for a game they enjoy....and who knows, look at Charlie Austin....make their way in the professional game. And there will be no VAR which must be a big plus.

We see Bournemouth beach rammed every sunny weekend yet non league teams are left to rot. it is a good job we are not fighting a war.....

SanMarco added 10:15 - Aug 18
I certainly agree with this in principle. There probably are one or two logistical issues but I will leave that to those that know about it. My thought - and this applies across football - is that a levy could be (voluntarily?) imposed to help cascade money down through the leagues. If we want football to continue we need to somehow get a few bob that the likes of Pogba and Daniel Levy 'earn' down through the system. What the likes of Totton need could easily be found by a levy on wages that the big boys wouldn't even notice. Just a thought...

highfield49 added 11:18 - Aug 18
I've signed the petition in the hope of giving some voice to those desperately trying to keep lower league football up and running. Whilst doing so I recognised the sad situation whereby some people seem to be completely unable to appreciate that a significant proportion of citizens want to maintain social distancing, whilst others actively advocate the beach style total indifference to their neighbours. Good luck with the petition and a reasonable outcome but I can see a need to prepare to put a lid on the can of worms that would be opened.

saintmark1976 added 12:44 - Aug 18
We were told at the start of this wretched virus that if we complied with the lockdown then there was every chance that the virus would “burn itself out”. Clearly the current evidence points to this assumption not occurring. At best current infections are stable, at worst increasing.

Is it not now the time for government to accept that if and until there is a vaccine the current rules are simply not fit for purpose and cannot reasonably continue? To me it’s utterly illogical that people can freely attend indoor pubs and restaurants but are not allowed to space themselves out around an outside non league football pitch. To me it appears that what little common sense our “leaders” may previously have had, has currently simply deserted them altogether.


SaintNick added 15:03 - Aug 18
saintmark, no one knew what the virus would or wouldn't do, but we now have it down below a level in which there are relatively few deaths, yes the infection rate has increased perhaps as a result that more people are being tested, but the death rate has dropped.

Where there has been spikes funnily enough it hasn't been around people going to the beach or the pub or any other large gatherings, the majority of the deaths are now in those who are vunerable, it would be madness to return to normal life just yet, but we need to look at where it is safe to do so, the young are strong enough in the main to get the disease and survive, blanket approaches are not the way forward

saintmark1976 added 15:50 - Aug 18
Thanks for making me aware of your views Nick. To be honest I’m not certain whether you agree or disagree with the content of my previous post.

What we can obviously agree on however is that blanket approaches are in fact being applied at present hence Premiership and Non League Clubs have, as your article suggests, the same restrictions in regard to spectator admission. That was the thrust of my comment in that if the virus is not going away any time soon then those in authority surely need to now apply some common sense rather than the current “one size fits all” approach?

SaintNick added 17:28 - Aug 18
saintmark, I was merely commenting that infection rates are increasing as more testing has been done and that death rates are now very low, I wasn't agreeing or disagreeing with your viewpoint merely commenting that the spikes are not happening at mass events, but in certain situations around the country.

I agree with you, the virus will perhaps never go away, but it seems to have now ravaged the most vunerable and for most isnt an issue, infection rates have increased, but death rates dropped we now need to look at what does and does not truly increase risk, non league football I would say is low low risk.

SanMarco added 18:30 - Aug 18
Going to watch non-league football would certainly seem safer than some of those beaches I saw in the news. Making sense of the evidence has been very hard for all of us - we've been living through this in real time and too many people at the top have claimed wisdom they quite patently didn't have - hence the loss of trust. There have been lots of three word slogans and lots of dodgy stats but info we can trust?

I am left, like highfield, like saintmark, like everyone, trying to make my own decisions and fearing the worst because I have little trust in what I am being told. I have got to make a train journey from London to the midlands next week - is it safe? For all the trillions of words that have been said and written I still don't know...

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