We still have 11 games to play, more than a quarter of the season, but the players and management have put us in a good position. A lot more water has yet to flow under a number of bridges but if we are lucky enough to end the season with promotion into the Football League then, as a club, we are ready for whatever may come next.
Planning applications have been submitted for a small stand at the Collingwood Road end of the ground, to bring our total number of seats to over one thousand, and for new turnstile enclosures. Turnstiles in the Football League have to be of an auto-count nature and our wonderful antiques fall a little short technology-wise.
We have also put in an application to improve our floodlights to EFL standard, which would mean changing the pylons, but this would also enable us to take advantage of the latest developments in technology that focus more light onto the pitch and cut light pollution. The placing of the pylons is also important, so as not to prejudice any further stadium developments in the future.
Replacing our fantastic 3G pitch with grass is not a planning issue, but just putting down traditional grass would leave us with the same problem that initially led us to considering 3G; namely that the local geology would give rise to frequent waterlogging and restrict us to just one team playing on the pitch. We are therefore considering a modern hybrid solution, as used widely in the Premier League, that would allow a few more hours of use each week but, of course, this comes with a higher price tag.
Perhaps the most problematic element that we might face is how to re-home the many community teams that would be displaced if we no longer have a 3G pitch. There is no immediate silver bullet solution to this but we are following one option in particular that could play a big part, but it is too early to say much more about that, as well as exploring other avenues.
Beyond these headline items there are a million and one other things that would have to be addressed if we were to win promotion, some straightforward and others a little more complicated and costly but nothing that cannot be achieved.
This week we announced that Matt Gray and Jason Goodliffe have both signed extensions to their contracts, which is great news for everyone. When we interviewed Matt he promised us one thing, that his team would always work their socks off, which is something nobody could deny he has delivered on.
Although the national position with regards to the coronavirus does seem to be showing some encouraging trends, it is most disappointing that spectators can still not be allowed into stadia and that we have no confirmation as to whether that might be allowed before the season ends, although we are all ready to make the necessary arrangements at a moment's notice. What we can announce however, is the return of the famous Friday bottle bar. This will re-commence next week, 16th April, outdoors only of course but with the return of fish and chips.
Finally, don't forget that passes for viewing the live stream of Tuesday's match at home to Torquay United are now on sale here, and are free to season-ticket holders.