How good it felt to be back out on the grass at Twerton Park after we were finally given the green light that the playoffs will go ahead. It’s certainly been tough for all of us, with little purpose or reason to start the day off positively while on lockdown, but as football people we have found it very odd after the season was abruptly ended with us in such a strong position in the league.
As a group of staff we went about our work to keep the players fit both mentally and physically. Individual fitness programmes were sent out along with fitness testing schedules. We also set up staff and player Zoom meetings to check how everyone was doing.
As a group of staff we went about our work to keep the players fit both mentally and physically
I was busy doing CPD hours to keep my coaching qualifications validated with online coursework and FA seminars. Hours have also been spent on game reflection, watching back clips of areas for us to develop and what we have been very good at.
Going forward, we have to fall under the National League protocol for training. All players and staff have to be Covid-19 tested weekly along with regular temperature testing so we can monitor every individual closely. It is not the best experience in the world but we know it has to be done and to date we are all clear. Twerton Park is deep-cleansed, including equipment, pre and post sessions. This has already become our new normal and very much part of our routine.
We entered phase one of the return to training programme at the end of June, which means we were all social distancing as much as we could with sessions being based around technical and conditioning non-contact drills. Our target is to get every player fit and at their peak for the playoff eliminator against Dorking at Twerton on 19 July. There will be a lot of hard work taking place on and off the pitch.
All of the protocol demands – along with us having to extend player and staff contracts – comes at a huge cost to the football club. The idea to set up a Crowdfundraiser has proved key in making sure we can afford to participate. We set £35,000 as a fundraising target, the estimated cost to the club. As I write this piece I am overwhelmed by generosity of the fans and residents of Bath with our new total sitting at £48,000!
It’s not only our fans but sports and football fans all over the country and overseas that have kindly put their hands in their pockets and taken up one of our well-thought out package options.
Looking to the future we hope to see supporters back in Twerton Park when it’s safe to do so. This is imperative for us as a football club to survive, with average attendances well over a thousand, with the gate receipts allowing us to live as a club week to week.
For now the focus is on the pitch as we await 19 July where we will be doing all we can to put some smiles back on our supporters’ faces as we try to bring our wonderful club further success.
City’s return to action on 19 July was ended as they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Dorking Wanderers in the Vanarama Eliminator at Twerton Park. The rest of the Crowdfundraiser money raised will now help as a base for planning and preparing for next season’s campaign.
See also some of our other Big Rethink commentaries: