Rovers will be ready when football returns

GREAT WAKERING ROVERS Chairman, David Patient, spoke of his concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. But at a time where football clubs are desperately counting the financial impact, the one-time Barking and Aveley boss insisted the villagers were well-placed to ride out the oncoming storm.

The Rovers’ occupied seventh place in the BetVictor Isthmian League North Division – seven points adrift of the top-five.

“Of course, this situation is affecting football clubs at all levels,” Mr Patient told Yellow Sport.

“We have had a very season. Who knows? Maybe we could have made the play-offs and got promoted? But at the moment, peoples health and safety is far more important than the game of football.

“But we have been quite prudent since I came here. None of our players are contracted. We don’t operate outside our means so our circumstances could be a little easier to deal with compared to other non-league clubs around our level.”

But despite carefully balancing the books throughout the season, Mr Patient confirmed that the Burroughs Park club would miss out on other sources of income, adding: “We were due to stage several county and local cup finals at the ground as well as one or two private hires.

“We will have to do without that for the time being and look to make up the shortfall in the future.

But when football will return is as much of a mystery to Mr Patient as anyone: “I honestly can’t see the professional game restarting. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was October before we think about starting the 2020/21 season – The situation in the world is that serious.

“Our Burroughs Park ground has already been on lockdown for a couple of weeks. Although I don’t see the situation changing shortly, we have some helpful volunteers who can have the ground ready to stage a match should the relevant authorities give us the nod.

“In the meantime, we are all in limbo at the moment. But once football returns, we intend to continue to forge links in the local community and provided them with a football club, facility and a team to call their own. It’s important to let them know we are here and ready to welcome them once the game returns.”

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]