It’s been quiet for a few days over the weekend, giving us time to catch our breaths after a busy period for the club.
I’ve had a few people contact me about season tickets, and how I feel about the second window and the potential for playing in front of socially distanced crowds without signing. Personally, before I go club-specific, I think there is an element of overkill about how things are being dealt with and I can’t help but feel football fans are getting the unfair end of the deal. I noticed 300 fans could be indoor watching snooker without facemasks, or that beach parties for inner-city kids can go ahead, but at the moment Lincoln United couldn’t have their 150 fans turn up to a game. Every time I’ve been to Lincoln United, for instance, social distancing hasn’t been a problem. That’s not a dig, it’s fact; why should a club that relies so heavily on such meagre sums be punished, yet snooker fans can gather indoors with far more risk?
Moving on to Lincoln City, it surprised me to hear on the Hope and Glory podcast that Lincoln players have to stagger their meals and that they weren’t allowed into the training centre building at first. Surely, after being tested and seemingly having regular temperature checks, they should be allowed to mix freely? Or have I missed something? I’ve also noticed that whenever a footballer tests positive for Covid (Aberdeen) it is big news, yet we hear nothing about other sports, do we? I have this deep feeling that football is getting the rough end of the stick, which I’m sure has nothing to do with players being openly attacked by Matt Hancock at the start of Covid and then Marcus Rashford (for one) humbling the government a few weeks later. Yes, I know that’s bordering on a conspiracy theory, but it is how I feel. I’m not a Covid denier, I never have been, but much of society is getting back to normal and yet football is jumping through hoops when there’s little evidence outbreaks are caused by people being outdoors together. If we must, wear face masks, but the crazy restrictions being allegedly placed upon us (no singing, max 30% capacity) could kill the game as we know it.
That brings me around to our situation and the second window. This was something discussed by the Supporter’s Board and as always, I’m happy to let you know my initial thoughts. Being honest, my gut reaction was no additional sales window. I felt that those who committed early shouldn’t be part of a watered-down ballot because others had a chance at a later date. As the discussion went on, I changed my mind, courtesy of points made by a representative of the club (I won’t say who as the discussion is obviously in confidence). Their point was people should have a chance to renew their ST, otherwise, the interpretation could be that some fans were being valued more highly than others. Whilst loyalty is something the club appreciates dearly, to effectively close down the ST sales to everyone would be hugely unpopular. I’m happy to admit I changed my mind after hearing the arguments, I’m not so obtuse as to form an opinion and never be wavered by it.
I can fully understand those who want a refund on their renewal made in February and I respect those who do not want to watch Lincoln City under the conditions likely to be imposed upon them. Personally, I do not want to miss any games and am in a position where the money is already spent, so I’ll roll with the punches and go when I get the chance. It’s a decision people won’t be taken lightly though, but it does disappoint me that some of the negativity seems to be directed at the club. In the current climate, they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Doom and gloom merchants point out people don’t want to attend games and will want refunds, but that’s obvious, isn’t it? I respect people’s decision, I’m sure the club does too, but they’re doing their best in my opinion. Our signings have been strong, we’re still trading and yet this tough decision still had to be made. I know it might not suit you, it might be you pay on the day and can only make 10 games a season and therefore are missing out. I feel for those adversely affected, of course, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time under normal circumstances, so how could you ever please a majority under these unique criteria?
I do feel bitter about how the situation is being handled by authorities. I don’t like the fixture structure for the League Cup and EFL Trophy, and I certainly don’t like the idea of only seeing 50% of the games in silence from a different part of the ground to usual, but I will go and I will stick to the guidelines because I can. I feel the club are suffering just as much as you and I, but they have to comply with the regulations imposed upon them. Even if that does mean Tayo Edun having to eat his packed lunch in the corner away from everyone at the training ground despite him (and his teammates) clearly not having Covid. These are crazy times, managed by even crazier people and sadly no one is exempt from what I feel is slightly over-zealous interpretations of safety.