I think its fair to say that the 2019/20 season will go down in history, but for all the wrong reasons. People have put forward all sorts of solutions to the resolving the season, points per game etc, etc, but, and I make no bones about this, I'm old-school (some will say very old) and for me; leagues and cups should be sorted on the field, so in my opinion the only sensible solution, at our level, was reached. In the entire 126-year-old history of the Manchester League, only world wars have stopped us from playing, which I think puts this into some perspective.
What makes it even more galling is the great weather we have had over the past several weeks, ask yourself what's better than playing football with the sun on your back, a little bit of "give" in the pitch and the prospect of a beer and a laugh afterwards........I suppose there are some things but that's not for discussion in a public forum like this! BUT we will be back and hopefully better than ever, I know lots of grounds will benefit from the rest and the extra care that they have been given during this lay off, grants under the Pitch Improvement Programme are still available, I know several clubs who have benefited to the tune of several thousand's of pounds, as well as other what you could describe as "keep us afloat" grants, your parent county will have details of all these so contact them. Its also worth contacting your local authority to see if there are rent or council tax holidays available.
Some of you will have seen from Phil Platt's Saturday Bulletins, that we have lost our supply league status (we are currently working to get it back) but this ONLY APPLIES TO REFEREES, the League is still at step 7 of the Football Pyramid (the name will change shortly to Feeder League) so the standard of football and grounds will be maintained. We had a Zoom video meeting yesterday and, in conjunction with Manchester FA, Jason Rostron is working very hard to maintain and increase his roster of referees so that we can continue to have Assistant Referees on the Premier Division.
We are also looking at how we conduct the AGM which we have to do to comply with SCOR and our Articles of Association. Perhaps after Boris has addressed the nation tonight we will have a better idea of if we can do this as we normally would, or whether we will have to do it via Zoom, the prospect of which, frankly, fills me with dread, some of us are, and I include myself in this, not very "tech savvy" and trying to handle 60 of you all talking at once on a screen.......well say no more! We will keep you up to date, it may be that some things like voting for committee members, auditors, new clubs, rule changes etc can be done via email and then merely confirmed at the AGM, we'll see.
We are still discussing league fees, but the consensus is that the fees you have paid will last until Jan 2021, and then just half will be payable to take us through to the end of the 20/21 season, and no increase is envisaged.
The respect awards are being paid in full, despite it being a truncated season, and to those of you who have won, "Congratulations" if we have your bank account details, the money will be with you shortly.
Despite not being down with the kids, I do try to keep up with Social Media, and I have noticed some clubs seeking to arrange pre season friendlies. PLEASE DON'T JUMP THE GUN AND START TOO SOON. I have already spoken with Jason and we have agreed that until all this is over we will NOT allow referees affiliated to the league to take charge of matches so if you decide to chance it ......DON'T ask us for a ref.
I can't wish you all the best for your holidays because I don't think we will be having any, but enjoy the summer as best you can, Majestic Wine, Waitrose Cellar, Sunday Times Wine Club are all still delivering, so it's not all bad.
However whatever you do take care and stay safe......particularly those of you on the front line.....see you on the other side!!