Leek Town hopeful of a September start to the new season

LEEK Town are working towards a potential date in the BetVictor NPL in September, with spectators allowed back.

But this would be subject to Government further easing lockdown measures introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic..

Blues chairman Jon Eeles told The Sentinel: “This would have to be ratified and the ultimate decision will lie with the Department of Culture and Media, but they are putting clubs on warning to get ready so it is not a complete surprise when it comes.

"That and the news the government is starting to look at relaxing restrictions, albeit controlled, is all good news for us. We are happy to start looking at it and preparing for that date."

Eeles stressed it was not feasible for the club to play behind closed doors without paying fans.

He said: "One of the possibilities discussed is limiting crowds under 500 at our level.

“It is all about whether we can provide a safe environment at that level crowd, whilst safeguarding supporters, volunteers and players. I am confident we could, because the capacity [at Harrison Park] is 3,600, which we rarely get near.

"There is a bit more to do around turnstiles and hospitality and the bar. A tea-bar at our level in its current form, run by volunteers, which everybody goes to at half time, isn’t really a good idea."

“But you could easily space people around our ground. We are very lucky to have a stand which has a capacity of 600. If you allocated 200 people in there, that would help also.”

The Blues averaged attendances of 364 last season as the Blues shot clear at the top of the Northern Premier League South East Division.

Unfortunately, the club was denied promotion when the season was halted in March by the FA and the campaign made null and void.

Eeles added: “You have the odd time where you get above 500 people and you might have to turn people away if they put a limit on it. But I think clubs have to start looking at providing advanced tickets and ways of paying cashless. So, we are looking at something like that at the moment as well."

Although he stressed a return in September is far from confirmed, he’s pleased to have a potential date to work towards.

Eeles said: “The longer it goes on, the more difficult it is to get volunteers back. People are forced to do different things because football’s not there. So we need a date, we need to make sure everyone is safe and it is in safe environment, and then we need to start planning.”

The chairman also revealed Neil Baker’s squad have been able to have a training session, while conforming to guidelines.

Eeles added: “That was really well received. We had 16 lads who attended, broken up into three smaller groups, spread over several playing fields.”

Picture: Leek Town chairman is hopeful of a September start to new season.


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