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Weekly News - 8/4/20

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Weekly News - 8/4/20

Paul Phillips is preparing the best he can for next season, whenever that be despite the world and football being thrust into crisis from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ratification from the Football Association of the Northern Premier and equivalent leagues in the non league pyramid being made null and void for the 2019/20 season has been delayed after 150 clubs voiced objections to the decision which for the moment has clouded the issue even further.

But Phillips has soldiered on, just in case things return to normal and the 2020/21 league season begins as usual in August.

The Matlock boss believes that despite the protests, the FA will support the decision taken by the Northern Premier, Southern and Isthmian Leagues.

“How do they resurrect a season now, some clubs have made players redundant, it’s just not feasible although I would have liked the season to have finished. We have to be realistic, some clubs would have difficulty putting a team out. It’s different to what happens at the top end, there’s lots more alternatives for full time clubs. This is an unnatural disaster for the world, people are losing their lives. The impact on us all is ongoing, I can understand the top clubs’ frustrations,, and I’m not saying this because we’re third bottom, but I don’t know what else could have been done.”

The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting everyone in the game as Phillips acknowledges, but for him personally it is another challenge on top of the obstacles he has faced since arriving at the Proctor Cars Stadium in January.

“ Nobody expected this pandemic, least of all me on top of what’s happened at the club in the last few months. We’re now preparing for a return to action as best as we can. We’re talking to players and trying to sort the pre season friendlies . We don’t know though what we’ll have to spend, everything’s in limbo, but we’ve got to have our plans in place, in short we’ve got to do the best we can.”

Matlock’s fundraising appeal via their Just Giving page, as the Gladiators strive to bridge the gap in lost finance caused by the cancellation of their last six home matches of the season, has reached £8215 by 10pm on Tuesday night,. The initial target is £15,000.

That total includes an amount submitted offline by supporter and Social Club Treasurer Dave Apperley who will be in the manager’s hot seat for one of Matlock’s pre-season games. The idea came from Phillips.

“I’d seen it done at other clubs higher up the pyramid and I thought why not here for a donation to the appeal. We asked for £1000 and Dave was first in, he obviously has a great feeling for the club and it’s helped us massively in where we want to go. He’ll pick the team for the game and he’ll do what he needs to do during the game” said Phillips who will be there to offer advice if required.

Over 220 people have donated so far and each person will enter a draw to win either a shirt signed by the 2020/21 squad and in a separate prize, the chance to train with the squad, play in a pre season game and receive a video of the match.

Phillips is delighted with the response so far.

“To see the appeal pass the £8000 mark is truly amazing and I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed, I can’t believe how generous people have been “

Ian Richardson