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Weekly News - 10/2/21

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Weekly News - 10/2/21

Rewind the clock nine months to last summer, the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic and history is repeating itself for Paul Phillips and the Matlock squad as they itch for a return to normality.

Again it is the uncertainty that is key with no news yet of whether there will be a return to playing anytime soon.

The signs are that the NPL will again have a null and void season with clubs now seriously behind with their fixture schedule, the Gladiators for instance still having 36 league matches to play this term. Clubs have been balloted on what they feel should happen,, a decision from the FA being expected imminently, possibly after an update from Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the possible lifting of restrictions.

“As was the case last year, we’ve set players individual training programmes for them to follow and we’ll find out later who’s been following them but I know the vast majority of them will be working hard and doing what they can” said Phillips.

“There’s different programmes for different positions, Everyone’s doing their bit, it’s got to the stage where everyone’s pining to play for the last competitive game was two months ago now. While we fully understand the reasons why, we’ve not been able to train or play since before Christmas.”

Phillips says that this matter has only become more in the forefront of administrators’ minds since the National League North and South recently suspended their fixture lists , although some clubs have returned to action.

“There’s more being said about this since the Conference North and South became affected, why wasn’t this more of an issue when our league, equivalent leagues and those below were forced to stop playing? No disrespect to clubs from this level and I speak to a lot of managers across the leagues, but why the big showdown now, it winds me up! Clubs still have bills to pay”.

Phillips probably echoed the thoughts of many of his Pitching In NPL colleagues.

“We can’t plan too much and if the season is restarted soon, we’d probably need at least four weeks to get the squad up to full fitness. At the moment we’re doing all that we can do.”

That policy and the players Phillips and his management team recruited served Matlock well and naturally all connected with the club hope that history repeats itself once the vaccination programme has been completed sufficiently and that measures are in place for NPL football with fans to return.

“Naturally I’m speaking with our current players and looking at possible additions for next season. But I think I speak for all of us that a return to normality can’t come quickly enough. I’m getting fed up of getting back in the house and putting on a pair of joggers or pyjamas for another hight in.”

Meanwhile the funeral for former Matlock’s FA Trophy 1975 winning FA Trophy Final manager Peter Swan will take place at Chesterfield Crematorium on Friday morning (10.30 am). With no admission allowed in the crematorium grounds except for immediate family and friends, people can show their respects along the route from the Mill Pub in Brimington from approximately 10 am to the Crematorium.

Ian Richardson