Firstly, and most importantly, we hope everyone is safe and well during such difficult and worrying times. However important football is to us all, the health and well-being of everyone at this time must be of paramount importance.
From a footballing perspective, our season came to an abrupt halt after our draw at Chippenham in mid-March and at this stage, we await further direction on how the season will conclude. The National League have asked clubs to vote on whether to end the season by cancelling all remaining fixtures, and depending on the outcome of this vote, clubs will be further asked to vote how the league should be decided.
As a club, after careful consideration by the Board, we have cast our vote in this matter and done so with the intention of trying to protect the long-term future of our club as well as the wider league. The National League have requested that the vote remains confidential however we will update our supporters at the appropriate time on our vote and the reasons behind our decision.
The season we have had to date has been nothing short of incredible and I’m sure we have all dreamed of the possibility of clinching promotion and the scenes and memories that would have created.
As a Board, we have all had our own issues to deal with as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and we apologise for limited communication during this time. However, we continue to work in the background to protect our club from the impacts of this virus.
The events in recent weeks have impacted businesses, families, football clubs and the entire nation. Whilst promotion remains our ambition, the long-term financial health of the club has to be front and centre in our planning and decision-making. Ensuring that Wealdstone Football Club survives and is able to continue to play our role in the community and compete at the highest attainable level is our goal.
We have furloughed our playing staff and management and continue to engage with the National League and other clubs as everyone seeks to find a pathway through the current challenges. We have applied for and received a £25,000 grant from Hillingdon Borough Council as part of the Government support measures and have taken as many cost reduction actions as we reasonably can.
Despite this, the impact of the lockdown and the current situation with football has and continues to have a hugely damaging impact on our financial position. Football clubs at any level cannot survive without revenue however the further down the pyramid you go, the more critical gate receipts and bar income typically become to a club. We hope further support measures are made available in some form and we will pursue whatever becomes available to help the club.
We are proud of what we have achieved on and off the pitch this season and whatever the final outcome, we will consider our position, consult with supporters where appropriate and work together to ensure that we can all enjoy this club and everything it stands for long into the future.
Finally, we hope you and everyone close to you stay well during this difficult time and we pass on our sympathies to anyone who has lost friends or relatives. Our club has lost two incredible stalwarts in recent months in Mark Barton and Miriam Goodman – please stay safe and well.
Rory Fitzgerald, Wealdstone FC Chairman
Credit: Wealdstone FC