Having staged an extremely successful home fixture against Southend, with 1,000 fans in attendance, manager Chris Beech spoke this week about the frustration of going back to fixtures being played behind closed doors.
“It’s frustrating because having fans here inspires you, whether you’re running, doing a marathon, riding a bike, whatever you do, it’s support that helps you along,” he said. “That’s what support is.
“The fans aren’t here so we have to support each other and create our own energy. It’s a big miss, but that’s the same for everybody, the opposition included.
“It’s an obvious miss for the fans as well because they put their new strips on to come to watch the Southend game and it was a brilliant day for us all, on and off the pitch.
“The players know that this is a game of local interest. The players are excited for any game, but this one has more value to the area, of course it does. We just want to represent what we’re trying to achieve, which is working hard, having good technique, scoring goals and keeping clean sheets.
“We’ve conceded one goal in two games, which is much better in terms of the facts, but I want us to be scoring a few more goals.”
Looking back at the last home game, he told us: “Personally, which is obviously removing it from any sort of governance, I’d say it was a complete success and it’s a shame that we can’t do that again, or grow it and have more in.
“After our experiment, that was when the virus seemed to raise its ugly head again, so the government have put all sorts of new conditions out in different areas, and we’re all struggling to work out what they all actually mean.
“In terms of football, I can’t wait to get the fans back, but until we get to that stage we need to look after the points and grow them.
“We have to accept the situation, accept that it’s a definite blow to not have fans in, but it won’t affect us in terms of how to try to approach the game because we know what we need to do.
“In terms of the bigger picture, it’s a blow because the Southend game was a definite success. Football is a sharing game, and we can’t share it with the fans inside the stadium, so it’s a shame.
“As I’ve said before, whatever the situation nationally or within football, it’s about what the players do on the pitch. I can try and prepare them and support them, but it’s about the players. Players pick teams and create cultures in dressing rooms.
“This group of players have a good culture and a good attitude, and we’re growing that as we progress. Relationships are being formed on and off the pitch, and what I’ve been really pleased with in terms of this recruitment is that players are committing to living in the area.
“It’s less temporary, and that’s the way it should be. We haven’t been able to assist with relocation money and things like that, the players have taken that on themselves.
“It doesn’t matter how well you do or don’t do, often as a manager you can manage very well but not get the win, so people don’t think you’re very good, then the next week you could do nothing all week but win, and you’re the best thing since sliced bread.
“We know that, we know it’s all about three points, so we’ve got to make sure we go out and earn that. The players know that.”
And thanks to a CUOSC initiative there will be over 100 supporters in attendance as brand-new cardboard cut-outs are positioned in the stands ahead of kick off.
“I think the cut-outs are a really good idea,” he said. “I saw the ones of Aaron [Hayden] and Nick [Anderton] we got made the other day and they’re really good.
“I almost started talking to one of them because they’re really lifelike! It will be good to have a few faces in the stand and it’s great that the fans want to support us in whatever way they can.”
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