As we complete week 12 of the UK lockdown, many of you will be aware that there is no provisional or firm dates for the resumption of non-league football.
The FA is planning for professional football to resume behind closed doors. Clearly, this is not an option for Reds and other clubs at our level, as we rely almost entirely on turnstile receipts, together with income from food and drink sales.
Our COVID-19 Survival Appeal now stands at nearly £22,000; a quite amazing sum which will secure the Club’s survival through the summer months.
The Board wish to gratefully thank everyone who has made a donation, and particularly the Reds Independent Supporters’ Club (RISC) whose fundraising activities have made a massive difference.
Due to the remaining uncertainty of when football will return to Borough Park, we now plan to leave the appeal open until further notice.
The above figure, does not include our share of the donations from the recent recreation of the 1958 Reds versus Manchester United ‘Stay Home Record’ match which was £4,863.40.
The National Health Service share of the fund is £1,621.13 and the Board will be distributing this to locally-based NHS Charities. This was a massive event for the Club, which was watched by football fans from across the world.
Although we set out to break our record home gate of 21,500, we always thought this was a little ambitious but the production was very well received. The press coverage in national newspapers will also raise our profile in the football world.
Despite the uncertainty, Danny Grainger and Steve Ruddy are putting plans in place to return to playing when it is safe to do so. We are delighted to have got a few of the players tied down for the next season and the managerial team are currently in conversation with most of the squad we are looking to retain. In addition, they are speaking to at least two or three potential new recruits.
The lads have all been given fitness schedules ahead of pre-season, to complete before the return to training. After a catch up on Zoom last week, Danny tells us that all the players are very upbeat and really looking forward to next season.
Anyone crossing Northside Bridge and looking down into the ground will see that the pitch is looking in particular good condition. Despite not knowing when football will return, we have taken the opportunity to invest both time and significant money in upgrading our playing surface.
We have improved the drainage, seeded, fertilised and applied 140 tonnes of top dressing.
Director, Kevin Aitken (part of our Stadium Project team) continues to implement a large programme of maintenance work to Borough Park.
Together with a growing group of volunteers massive strides have been made in improving our iconic, but aged stadium. The health and safety of our volunteers is of paramount importance, and everyone involved has observed strict social distancing at all times.
Finally, talks resumed last Monday with Allerdale Borough Council executive, looking at potential options for the redevelopment of Borough Park, post-coronavirus. The financial landscape, including local government spending, has changed so dramatically in the last three months. Only today, it was announced that the UK economy shrank by over 20% in April.
However, the new board is still receptive to finding a sustainable and workable solution. We were joined at the meeting by our neighbours, Workington Town.
Please continue to stay safe and well.