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CONCORD RANGERS boss, Danny Scopes, believes the club has a duty to offer residents a positive outlet and environment once football returns after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canvey as a whole is a tight-knit community, with the two football clubs very much at the hub. And with supporters counting the days until they can watch their favourites again, Scopes insisted that the Beach Boys, as well as other clubs up and down the country, must be ready to welcome the fans back with open arms following these difficult times.
“Yes, I think so. I can’t speak for Canvey Island too much as a football club, but I would imagine their ambitions and aims are similar to ours,” the Concord chief told Yellow Sport.
“You’ve only got to look at our attendances last year, the interest generated by the FA Trophy run and some of the performances from the boys. The crowds were up, we got a lot of local people through the turnstiles as well as a few from off the Island and in close proximity.
“You see them at games – more and more regular faces – you see their comments on social media and the interaction when football was stopped and subsequently abandoned – you could feel their disappointment.
Scopes continued: “I think it has had an adverse effect on people. A lot of our youth and junior footballers attend first-team games. Not being able to do all that is tough on them. Obviously, we hope to see them back once football returns and are sending out a positive message that Concord Rangers are continuing to be proactive during this uncertain period and will be here for them once football returns.
“I think it will be important when football comes back – you can see the demand on the Premier League coming back and people wanting it back – not only for financial reasons but because what a big tool it is in terms of offering people an outlet and something to look forward to every week.
“Non-league football is quite similar at all levels as a community. Once we get back it will be up to us to try and get that spark going again, offer up football, entertainment and somewhere people feel comfortable and a part of something.
“We, as a club, are looking for continuity with players. I think fans like to have their favourites. In recent seasons, we have had scenarios where there has been lots of change and new bodies coming in. I think now we are altogether more settled, giving the supporters a better chance of getting to know the players which in turn makes them more settled.”
Scopes believes familiarity will serve as a boost to the fans as well as adding continuity to matters on the field, adding: “We want to keep the core of the squad together – I think fans can relate to that, it gives them a bit of a connection. They will find it easier to support a group they know rather than having to get used to several new faces who they don’t know anything about.
“Health is more important than football, don’t get me wrong. But look at the aspects of when we lose our football at whatever level, whether you are a player, supporter, manager or in the media, you miss it. It is something we all need
“Concord Rangers do lots of incentives to get people over to the Aspect Arena like free ticket offers, youth tickets etc. Things like that will get going again, creating a positive atmosphere and igniting it all again.”