If there’s one thing football clubs have learned over this past twelve months it’s that nothing can be taken for granted, with seemingly fool proof plans quickly being discarded as the pandemic situation changes, in some cases by the hour.
Hopes are now high, of course, that the current vaccination programme will lead to a gradual return to some semblance of normality, but there’s no hiding from the fact that this prolonged period without the main source of income for clubs – bums on seats and feet on terraces – has thrown up financial challenges which the industry will be dealing with for many months to come.
And what if the return of fans to stadiums takes a slower trajectory than expected?
We asked League Two’s EFL board representative John Nixon that very question this week.
“At EFL board level we are thinking ahead all the time,” he commented. “We’ve said before that we’re really grateful for the money that has come in from the Premier League, but it isn’t sufficient.
“We need to find other ways, and we’re looking at other ways to help to fund clubs going forward. We’re looking at how we could facilitate an EFL loan and, of course, we have to keep talking to the Government to see if they can assist.”
“From day one of this Covid situation we’ve felt that we’ve found a way forward for a number of issues only to then find, sometimes within an hour or two, things have changed so dramatically that the decisions we’ve made are suddenly null and void,” he continued.
“By next week we’ll have the first 15 million people vaccinated and it does look as though we’re edging forward.
“I think we’re all devastated by the numbers we’ve seen who have lost their lives to this disease, but it feels like there’s more hope now, and that’s something we all need.
“Within our business that’s important. We want to make sure the sport is there when we get through all of this because football does provide real hope and a feeling of wellbeing for so many people.
“Whatever our issues are, we need to resolve them for that reason alone.”