Linnets general manager Mark Hearle fears the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could change the ' landscape of football ' for years to come.
Speaking to the club's website www.kltown.co.uk Hearle said ' Firstly on behalf of the football club may I wish all of our supporters good health and ask them to continue to follow the advise of the government and the NHS in these times of concern. I would also like to place on record our thanks as a club to everyone working in the NHS both locally and nationally who are working around the clock to treat the seriously ill from this terrible pandemic. I have began contacting some of our elderly supporters and season ticket holders to enquire upon their wellbeing and bringing them up to date with developments at the club as well as just having a general chat with them' continued Hearle.
Having seen the latest government briefings in regards to the length of social isolating and restrictions on everyday life being extended further Hearle admitted a return to the days of football returning to The Walks and crowds of 1500 supporters inside the ground look a long way away. ' I must admit the comments made at the weekend by the authorities were very sobering and gave plenty of food for thought. These are the thoughts of professional people and have to be respected and I would expect even further tighter restrictions to be put in place in due course. The isolation must continue until such times as the risk has diminished enough and if that bring's us round to the Autumn then that will be the case - people's health and safety must always come first, football means very little to at present.
Hearle admitted the ongoing uncertainty had effected his role greatly and called for clarity from the football authorities on the Linnets position. ' We have been in a state of limbo now for too long and initially we need an answer as to how the 2019/20 season will be decided. Once this is done we then have closure on that particular situation but then need to have a timescale on the start of next season if that is possible - and I am not sure that we will be able to be given that after the events of the last few weeks. At present I am keeping in touch with companies who had agreed to match day sponsor packages and informing them of the situation. All are understanding and I'm hoping they agree to carry over their packages to next season if we don't play any further fixtures of this campaign. I have struck deals with new board sponsors for next season but these were struck before this situation arose and with the very sensitive state of industry at present and going forward we should remain understanding of their position as well. Some of the existing board sponsors I have been in touch with have said they will continue to help us but we have to expect that some may not be able to continue to support the football club going forward .
We have lost an awful lot of business in the function rooms both for night and day hire. One education supplier has over 20 dates booked with us over the summer which would have created some very useful income in what is a slow period for football clubs but of course this is now being reviewed on a weekly basis. As soon as we know what's happening we are hopeful of making season tickets available for next season but until such times as we have clarification on a date to commence I feel we should be cautious. With all of this ongoing, and likely to be so for a while yet, the general landscape of football from top to bottom , will change dramatically in my opinion'.
Hearle concluded by thanking everyone who had donated to the club's appeals for help since the season was suspended just over two weeks ago. ' We have received some very generous donations from right across our fan base over the last couple of weeks and some lovely letters of support as well from people wishing us well and I cannot thank everyone enough for their generosity. All of these monies will assist us as we move forward in paying bills that continue to arrive even though we have little if any income at present.
I am able to confirm that the undisclosed fee for Alex Brown was paid for personally by the chairman from his own money last week and also that all off field staff are also assisting the club in way's suitable to both them and the chairman over the next few weeks and months'.