An outbreak of Covid at the club in January added to the run of postponements which dogged an unprecedented month, and it brought much frustration with the virus having been kept at arm’s length for so long prior to it eventually finding its way into the building.
Chief executive Nigel Clibbens spoke to us about the situation the club faced as he confirmed that the EFL investigation was ongoing.
“We talked a lot internally about keeping it out of the building for as long as we could,” he said. “I was probably one of the more pessimistic people about what the ramifications could be. I looked at it and thought it could be really damaging if we got it, and it has been disruptive, there’s no getting away from that.
“The investigation into the club is ongoing and we’ve done a submission to the EFL about all of the steps we took, and where we think the issues might have been. A lot of that is speculation because you can’t say for definite that a certain person might have been a source.
“We can’t see anything like that here, we’ve had some very unique circumstances which I can’t go into now, because they’re personal about individuals. What you tend to find is that you have one source which links to other people, but in our case there is no link at all that we could find, apart from one which was beyond our control.
“I don’t think we could have done any more, the staff in the club will know how much I have talked about it, and everybody has tried to do their bit, and it’s just one of those things.”
“The EFL with financial support of the PFA are now paying for tests which started in mid-January, and if you look at the numbers that the EFL are putting out each week, you can see that the number of cases are dropping all the time, which is encouraging,” he continued. “We’ve just got to keep our guard up, but given the numbers in our club who have had it, the risk to other players is a lot less because nearly everybody has had it.
“There are still risks and you still can’t take your eye off the ball, so we’ve just got to be relentless with it. It is frustrating for us because we hear that some other clubs perhaps aren’t as rigorous.
“I haven’t been to an away game since Oldham right at the start of the season. None of the directors are going to away games apart from David [Holdsworth], so we don’t really see what other clubs are doing.
“We obviously speak to the staff who do go, but each club is unique. We’ve had games here where the away team have brought their ‘essential staff’ and there’s people all over the place. We’ve just got to look after ourselves and do whatever we can to keep up with the protocols.”
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