Familiar Faces Leave City As Pandemic Effect Kicks In

It was almost inevitable that at some point, staff would be made redundant at the football club.

It is a sad fact of life that many people across a range of industry will lose their jobs as a result of the recent crisis. Hospitality is bound to be one of the most affected areas and when you look at the names of the people leaving the club, it is in customer-facing roles or roles that require matchdays to go ahead as normal.

I had got wind that some people might be losing their jobs, heartbreaking at any time of the year, but when today’s news hit I was very surprised to see four names of people I have had regular dealings with over the years. Recently, both Louise Handley and Sharon Humphrey-Sanders have been really good with me, whether around my book launch, the Priory Academy sessions or just generally on a matchday. Both will be sorely missed I’m sure, but with no events or activities at the club, and a reduced capacity when they do return, it is an unavoidable situation. Thank you both for your help and support over the last couple of years.

Into the ticket office and Joanne Dawson has taken voluntary redundancy. Jo was a hugely popular figure in the ticket office and always had a joke about my beard when I went in recently, after someone mistook me for her husband Paul. I’m not sure how flattered he would be! In recent years I’ve found the ticket office a pleasant place to be, staffed by hard-working individuals who often took stick for the system they worked with rather than their own efforts. I recall one day when Arsenal tickets were on sale, a bloke in a van hurling the most awful abuse through the window at the girls in there, and it saddened me to hear it was a regular thing. Jo, as well as those who are still there, always did their very best under some trying circumstances at times, and her presence will also be missed.

Finally, I was very shocked to see Dawn Cussens was leaving the club. I think I’ve been around a bit, taking up the role of Poacher back in 1998, but Dawn was already a staple of the office then and has been for 38 years. She got an award for service at the 2016/17 presentation dinner and recently I’ve had dealings with her testing the new ticketing scheme, as well as getting tickets for the Priory School for the game against Burton. She was as much a part of Sincil Bank as the turnstiles, Chris Ashton and Alan Long, and a club statement had her explain the difficult decision to take voluntary redundancy.

“Of course, it’s been a difficult decision,” Dawn said. “I didn’t originally plan I would be leaving just yet, but I’ve been able to leave on good terms and with a smile on my face. I look forward to being able to come back and visit my work family once we get back to playing games at LNER Stadium again.

“Friendships I have with people at the Club extend beyond work. Every single person has left a permanent stamp on me. Liam (Scully) has reassured me that there will always be a place for me to come back as a fan and I told him that if there’s any help the Club needs in the future, I’ll be more than happy to help.”

I understand Liam Youngs, a performance analyst of two years, has also left the club, and when anyone loses their job it is sad, voluntarily or not. These moves are reflective of the current climate and perhaps a necessary evil, but it doesn’t make them easy to take, for anyone that knows those affected. Sadly, as football continues to look at itself in the mirror, other clubs will have to do the same or face the consequences. Teams such as Mansfield might be flashing the cash and making life feel like it is back to normal, but it isn’t and only those who act quickly and robustly will survive in the longer term.

Thank you to all departing staff for their efforts over the years and all the best to them for the future.