We thought that the season finally getting under way was a good time to bring people up to speed with where we are as a club. There are still several questions that we don’t know the answer to but let’s start with something that we definitely do know….
We want our fans back in to enjoy the football!
It’s why we exist as a club and it simply isn’t the same without that key component. As a club, we have worked hard to meet all the COVID guidelines to be able to safely welcome you back for all of our home matches. The whole ‘Elite’ debate has been done to death but we will continue to do everything that we can as a club to push for the right decision and to be ready for when it is eventually made.
So, the men’s first team have to start the season behind closed doors. The Government, FA and National League have agreed a grant to compensate us for essential lost revenue but, as we write this, we still have no idea how much that is actually going to be. We know that it is to provide us with some cover until the end of the year but hopefully we will have fans back in the ground before then. With this in mind, we will be writing to all of our season ticket holders shortly to offer a range of options which will include the ability to get a full refund for the season. We appreciate that this it continues to be a difficult, and uncertain, time for everyone and so it will rightly be an individual choice for people to make.
Whilst we are operating behind closed doors, we will be providing the usual radio commentary and Twitter updates. Additionally, for our home games at least, we will be providing live streaming. This will be free to all remaining season ticket holders and via pay per game for everyone else. When we are playing away matches then we are in the hands of our hosts. Most clubs will want to provide their own streaming service. Where that isn’t the case, then we will offer to provide it for them. However, the final decision lies with them. Full details of the BTFC live streaming service will be issued very shortly and whatever happens we will be streaming tomorrow night’s National League opener for you.
The season has, of course, already started for the rest of our 49 teams and fans are allowed to attend those games ! There are midweek matches and Sundays often have 4 or 5 matches taking place at New Lodge. Season ticket holders are welcome free of charge to the Women’s first team and Men’s U23 matches and everyone is welcome to our other games. Come along and get your football fix whilst supporting our teams. Full details of the games will be provided on our social media. Please familiarise yourself with our COVID risk assessment and guidelines (see our website) and register for the NHS app or Eve Pass so that you can ‘check in’ on arrival at the ground. It’s all pretty straightforward, and hopefully common sense, but our staff will be there to answer questions and to work with you to stay safe whilst still enjoying the club.
In good news, the second pitch is about to be signed off and will add to the ‘buzz’ that is now constantly there throughout the week. We are constantly improving our food and drink options as well. Parking has been an issue but we will have parking stewards at busy times who will help direct everyone to available parking. Please, please be patient and work with them to ensure that you get parked properly and that we respect our all of our neighbours and fellow Sports hub clubs.
We are all disappointed with aspects of the current situation but we have actually achieved a lot of good things as a football club over the past few months. If you’ve visited recently you’ll know that it is a vibrant and safe atmosphere that still feels like the family home that we all want to be a part of. When this pandemic situation stabilises, when we are all able to enjoy what we’ve built together, I hope that we find that we’ve moved forward and can increasingly enjoy this community club.
Thank you for all of your continued support. We have a special club!