Secretary’s Update – 2nd August
I realise that things are either moving very fast or not at all so I shall do my best to bring everyone up to date with the situation regarding the return to playing competitive football as it is best known today.
By way of reminder, once government approval is given for the return of paying spectators, it is hoped that we will return to league action on Saturday 5th September and the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup is provisionally scheduled for Tuesday / Wednesday 1st/2nd September. The Preliminary Round of the FA Cup is provisionally scheduled for Saturday 12th September. The draws for these rounds and the early rounds of the FA Vase have yet to take place. As expected, to avoid fixture congestion, it has been announced over the weekend that the Somerset Premier Cup will not take place this season but we await information regarding other county competitions.
A programme of pre-season matches is underway involving our three senior teams. Unfortunately, the government regulations do not permit spectator entry and we’re really sorry that supporters will be unable to watch these matches either home or away. An in- house practice match took place last Saturday and it was pleasing to see the standard of football played despite the inevitable lack of match practice. Fitness levels are high and it is a credit to the all the players and coaches that despite the difficulties of the recent months, they are extremely well prepared for the coming season. It’s good to welcome back so many familiar faces but also a number of new arrivals to whom we extend a very warm welcome and hope their time with us will be enjoyable and successful.
A great deal of activity continues behind the scenes to ensure we are ready for the new season and compliant with a host of COVID regulations designed to keep us all safe. We are obliged by the FA to publish a risk assessment detailing the steps taken to mitigate the risks posed by COVID and this should be on this website later this week.
When action eventually returns, supporters will notice a number of changes designed to keep us safe. Those who have already visited the bar during weekends will have noticed the changes there and after four weeks these are operating successfully. People entering the bar will see the one-way system, floor markings, hand sanitisers and queuing system and will be asked to provide contact details that will be kept for 21 days.
Screening has been put in the turnstiles and in common with many clubs, we are looking at ways in which admission will paid for by card payments. We’ve all become more used to this in recent months in supermarkets, pubs and restaurants and we see the removal of cash as an important safety measure. Travelling supporters are likely to encounter similar measures at many other clubs so do come prepared. Despite the additional cleaning and hygiene costs, our admission charges are unchanged.
We realise this may be problematic for some and we would encourage anyone concerned to speak to us about the possibility of buying a season ticket for all or part of the season – prices will be announced once we have more clarity regarding the start date. A good deal is guaranteed!
To protect players and coaches we have had to make an important change to spectator accommodation. To ensure social distancing amongst substitutes and bench staff, we have closed the side of the ground behind the dugouts and the substitutes will now sit in the seats in the stand on that side of the ground. We realise this may not be popular with some and we hope that it is a short-term measure only but believe this in everybody’s best interests. I have no doubt that all supporters will be pleased to help us keep each other safe by complying with these measures. Expect to see other changes before the season starts and we hope to have more stewards on hand to help supporters deal with these.
As I have said before, rumours abound so if you prefer truth and transparency keep up to date with postings on this website or do feel free to contact me or any club official with any questions or concerns.
Stay safe and UTC!