Good day to you all,
There have been times recently when I didn't see myself ever writing one of these pages again (is that distant cheering, I hear?) but I'm afraid you're not getting off that lightly!
We kick off our revised Cup Competitions exactly in a week's time, and from some of the social media stuff I have seen, I get the impression we are all looking forward to them.
HOWEVER, and these days there is always a however, we are still subject to Covid restrictions and regulations, which, and I make no apology for this, I have to remind you of.
Phil Platt will be sending out to you the full list of the FA guidelines and you need to read these in full, but to summarise:-
1. Spectators are not permitted. There are certain exemptions to this where players or officials are under 18 they can be accompanied by a parent, but check.
2. Changing rooms are NOT to be used. Toilets can be open for 30 mins prior to the game and 30 mins after the game.
3. Players should not travel together unless they are part of the same family bubble.
4. Bars are to remain closed. For clubs who have catering facilities, indoor catering is not permitted, but if your local authority guidelines allow "Take aways" you should adhere to the authority guidelines.
These are the bare bones, but read the full FA information release, BECAUSE COMPLIANCE IS DOWN TO YOU!!! I have heard that in some areas Police patrols will be out and, lets not beat about the bush here, there are always people prepared to "Grass you up". Hopefully it is only the first couple of games that will be subject to this as the guidelines are scheduled to relax a little more on 12th April.
Phil Platt and I have met with Manchester FA and the competition has been fully sanctioned, however (yes another one) it has been suggested by them, and, I believe the FA, that a new rule should be added to the effect that any club(s) found to be in breach of the guidelines will be excluded from the competition. The Management Committee will be meeting on Monday (March 29th) and this will be discussed then, if it is agreed that this rule be added, we will advise you by email prior to the start of the competition.
These are unusual and, frankly, sh*te times but we have done our best to provide you with some football and I hope you appreciate that. I know there will be disappointments at the lack of promotion opportunities, and conversely, relief that there is no relegation. A cup competition seemed the best bet so that it can be played, on your grounds, before the end of May so that vital pitch repair and maintenance can still go ahead so that when we start again in August you will have a decent surface to play on.
On the downside, league officials ARE allowed to attend games so its possible that you will see me at a game although I may come disguised for my own safety!
On behalf of the League can I thank you all for your forbearance and patience over the last months, its not been easy for any of us, but those of you I have met during those months have all remained cheerful and hopeful that we will soon "Be at it again".
Well.........we are, take care, enjoy your football, maybe by the time we get to the finals in June we can have lots of spectators....and a beer!!