News & Star column 19.03.20

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When will we see the Blues in action again?

For those of us who love our favourite football fix it is a question gnawing away at the back of our minds – and one that is unlikely to be answered soon.

With the world at war with Coronavirus we are in unprecedented times. Sport must take a back seat and the health and safety of the community has to be paramount.

CUOSC will support the club as they seek to do what is best for players, staff and fans.

 Brunton Park has virtually been shut down this week. The players have been sent home with their own training programmes. The Neil Sports Centre is closed, all on site community trust activities have stopped as have all academy activities at all age group levels.

The Blues store will be closed on Wednesday and Sundays but will be open the rest of the week only between 10am and 3pm. However, the club would prefer business to be done online, by email or phone where possible to reduce physical contact. The club telephone line is operating as normal for direct enquiries.

The EFL have suspended the season until at least April 3 but no one is expecting it to restart then. Indeed, no one knows yet whether the season will even be completed.

With over 70s and the vulnerable being advised to self-isolate for up to four months it may be that the only answer will be to play games behind closed doors.

Whatever happens now lower league clubs are going to take a massive financial hit. Many will need help from somewhere, whether it be the EFL or the government, if they are to survive.

There have been suggestions that the mega-rich Premier League might help them out but you wouldn’t hold your breath.

United chief executive Nigel Clibbens has admitted the club faces a “volatile and unpredictable” time. However, we are luckier than some with recent player sales putting cash in the bank that will help deal with limited short-term disruption.

He has appealed to clubs to look beyond narrow vested interests and to come together to do what is best for the whole professional game. CUOSC would loudly echo those comments.