Covid-19 pandemic the toughest test to date, admits Wisbech Town chairman
- Credit: Archant
Paul Brenchley believes the Covid-19 pandemic has been the most difficult test he has faced as Wisbech Town FC chairman as the club bids to stay afloat.
Brenchley was club chairman when the Fenmen moved to the Elgoods Fenland Stadium 10 years ago as attendances dropped, but he admits he has not faced a challenge like the virus both on and off the pitch.
“I think these are the most trying times,” he said.
“They came back after we moved to Outwell and we slowly built up to one of the highest local gates, but the pandemic has certainly tested our mettle.”
Although the club has tried to encourage older supporters to return, Brenchley believes their reluctance could have its side effects.
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“We’ve got advertising round the town, we’re on social media, but I don’t know what else we can do,” he said.
“We cannot run the club and the team by gates alone. If that’s had a severe impact, it affects the budget and everything else.”
Brenchley, who wants to resume in the new year once supporters are allowed at all clubs in the Northern Premier League South East Division which Wisbech play in, has been boosted by lockdown grants.
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He also wants to fund a new training facility and introduce more junior teams as part of growing Town’s impact in the community.
“I’d like to think Wisbech Town is the number one club locally and want to push for community spirit,” Brenchley said.
“I’d like to go down that route with the children’s football; I think that’s the way forward. I’d like some training facilities at the club, but whether I can get more money for that I don’t know.”
The FA confirmed clubs in Tier 3, which 18 teams in Wisbech’s league are in, can allow home spectators up to 15 per cent of its capacity but clubhouses will remain shut unless they operate as a takeaway or click and collect service.
Although this is a positive step to regaining a vital revenue stream, Brenchley believes the impact of Covid-19 will not disappear any time soon.
“To be honest, I don’t know whether people will drift back. Whether in the new year it could change but I think Covid will impact this for a long time,” he admitted.
“If I could get to 300-350, I’d be ecstatic, but if we could stick to 200+, we’d keep our heads above water.”