United get to learn who they’ll face first in league action on Friday morning when the fixtures for the 2020/21 season are released [9am on all media channels].
Speaking about the pending release of the fixture list, manager Chris Beech said: “I’m looking forward to that, but I’m looking more forward to being able to play in front of supporters.
“That’s what our game is. You name me a pop star that would love to walk out at Wembley and nobody’s stood there cheering them while they sing. It doesn’t take them to where they go.
“A football player, exactly the same, they get used to it, the negative and positive comments, you respond emotionally and physically to that. It’s a real game changer not playing in front of people.
“We watched the games on telly, it didn’t seem quite right. It’s going to be hard, and different, but it’s better than not doing it. Even though the environment’s changed we have to make sure we adapt to it and when the supporters come back, we’re in a good position to show them where we are.
“I’ve spoken to the players about it because they’ll have to be ready for that eerie quietness of that, and yet crack on. I used to feel great coming out of the tunnel when you can hear the noises, the smells, shouts. They’re just not there now.”
“However, it’s how it is and I’m excited every day for the job we do,” he commented. “I’m very fortunate to work in football. I really appreciate the support we get from the fans and the players we’ve signed have been very respectful of that.
“That’s the type of environment I want to create and work within. Realistically we will still be very near the bottom of the budgets and, as I said before, 17 players have left us – remember that JJ has come back – and we’ve recruited eleven.
“That’s why we need to keep recruiting people who want to commit to us and represent us. Three points are vital to me whenever we play so we have to look after that aim in everything we do.
“I’m pleased because there’s a great team spirit and a real energy in training. There’s a professional feel. I think that’s really good. Significantly different to last season, but sometimes that means nothing.
“At the end of the day you can do everything right or wrong, but if you win, everything’s right.”
When quizzed about his aims for the season, he told us: “If we finish above where our budget suggests … I would suggest we try and look to smash that and do as well as we can.
“There’s a lot of players who have left the club who were paid very well, and with the pandemic hitting, and using strategy to recruit, it’s put the club in a good position where they’ve not let any off field staff members leave.
“As a business they should be very proud of themselves for not making any redundancies and cuts from that perspective. I want to endear that towards what we’re doing on the pitch, and want players representing the area, themselves and me to progress the club up the table. In terms of finance, it’s low. But Wycombe’s was.
“I just hope you’re talking to me this time next year, you’ve seen some unbelievable football moments on the pitch, supporters are back in the stadium and we’ll see where it goes. I’m very ambitious personally, three points matter to me and my family, and to the players that represent us.”
With the players openly talking about their desire to have a successful season, he said: “I think ambition is important in any working environment.
“I think if you can try to recruit that it helps in terms of progression and moving forward. Finances were part of where we now take the club, so it was important for us to get the ambition that marries up with the finance and the opportunity we have in front of us.
“Covid has had an impact on some clubs, but it depends what club you look at. Mansfield, Salford and Bolton have all invested heavily already and they’re doing that in our league.
“How they’re doing it, I’m not sure, with players like Doyle and Sarcevic – the top scorer and top midfielder who both got promoted to League One, and here they are back in League Two. They don’t come just because they’re good mates with everybody, if you know what I mean. I don’t know how they do it, but there you go.
“We can still be competitive, but we have to do it in different ways, and that’s why your recruitment is vital. It needs to support growth and the opportunity to reward players who are doing well.
“It also needs to have room where you can recruit to help it get better. That’s vital in the way we’ll have to try to beat those teams who are investing heavily.”