It has been a very busy week as the pieces of the jigsaw for the much anticipated return to action are really starting to come together.
Firstly, we were pleased to receive approval from the National League to move from Stage 2 to Stage 3 of the “Return to Action” protocols, having successfully implemented all the measures required of us to make this transition. Well done and grateful thanks to Dave, Kevin, Mike and Mostafa and the rest of the team for all their hard work to make this happen.
This means we have put everything in place now to fully comply with all regulations established to host matches at the stadium, albeit without spectators at this time. We have been working hard to also ensure, given Government approval, that we will be in a position to move smoothly to Stage 5 in good time for the start of the League season and host matches with spectators, albeit with a limited capacity, by ensuring we all adhere to the up to date social distancing regulations. Accordingly, we have completed initial calculations of our stadium capacity under these conditions, in the stadium; grandstand and terrace accommodation, but also with respect to capacity in each of the bars and public areas too. We await ratification of those calculations from the Local Authority Licensing Officer and will publish the result, and the club policies in respect of them, as soon as we receive it.
To that end, the grandstand has been “dressed” to indicate which seats can be used, with flexibility built in so as to accommodate those fans attending together from the same “bubble”, lines will be painted on the terraces and concourses to indicate how many people can stand in each area and they will be carefully managed by stewards, hand sanitiser stations have been erected and a multitude of new signs will be prominently displayed to convey important messages reminding us how important it is for us all to adhere to the new rules. Separate arrangements, gates and barrier constructions will also be put in place to ensure players of both teams and match officials remain separate from all other match goers, as is required of us in the Government Protocols for safe return to action.
The players have now returned to training; how good it was to hear from Matt Gray in his SUFCTv interview last Saturday and to be introduced to our two new signings, Tobi and Dean, and to welcome back the bulk of last season's terrific squad. They're getting ready for the pre-season friendlies and then a doubtless very busy start to the National League campaign. U's fans CAN attend our pre season friendly visit to Haringey Borough on Saturday week - you can pre-purchase an admission ticket right now on our website. Otherwise, spectators are still not permitted to attend friendly matches hosted by step one and two clubs ( ie those competing in National League and National Leagues North and South). However, please watch this space for details of a Live Streaming service which SUFCTv are finalising right now which will, in the first instance, enable all U's fans to watch our home friendlies at a nominal cost ( free to season ticket holders).
Following two successful test runs at the Fish and Chip Friday sessions, we will now be staging trail runs for limited numbers of fans to watch the live-streams of our home pre-season games from the comfort of our bars. See our website for more news on that. The MBA Lounge will be open again this evening ( Fri 4th) for drinks from the bottle bar; don't forget it's National Fish and Chip today so why not pop down to the club and partake?
Well done also to Marvin and all the Academy team for successfully working through and delivering on the new protocols which have presented significant challenges in respect of recruitment, pre-season and now the education modules. Also to Duncan and the Women's teams for similarly navigating through all the requirements so efficiently. A great team effort all round.
The Early Bird Season Ticket deal has flown the nest but our prices remain sensational value. Don't forget that purchasing a season ticket will gain you priority access to matches as soon as we know our “new” capacity.
Finally a huge thank you to everyone who has already contributed to the very important United We Stand 2020 fundraising scheme, designed to help us return to action in the aftermath of the financial hole left by Covid-19. As you may have seen from the rather hypnotic counter on the website we have now raised nearly £20,000 from just over 200 supporters. A truly magnificent start. It would be amazing to see 500 supporters donating whatever they can to this scheme so, whether it's £20 or whether it's more, EVERY contribution helps so please donate what you can and spread the word to friends and family and wear the pin badge with pride! The more we raise, the better our Football Club can recover.
I told you there was a lot going on!
Thank you, as always, for your wonderful support and to all our amazing volunteers for all the hard work they've done to bring us to this point. Now, bring on the Football!