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Club News

Club update with Paul Godfrey

23 March 2020

Club News

Club update with Paul Godfrey

23 March 2020

Cheltenham Town's most recent match was just over two weeks ago on Saturday 7 March.

Although not a particularly long time ago, it seems like a lifetime given everything that has happened since then in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.

The club has been stuck in a state of limbo with 10 league matches left to play of the 2019-20 season and no prospect of being able to get back to normal business any time soon.

Cheltenham Town director and club secretary Paul Godfrey provided a brief update on the club's activities over the past 10 days since the initial call was made to suspend all Premier League and EFL matches.

"It's been a remarkably busy few days considering there is no football," said Paul.

"We've been trying to adjust to new ways of working while keeping abreast of all the latest developments. Obviously the situation changes seemingly by the hour but we are in contact with the football authorities, who are working very hard on behalf of clubs and we are ready to respond straight away to anything they need from us.

"The administration and commercial staff have been working from home since the start of last week and all have been given projects to follow. At the moment we're planning weekly staff meetings by video conference to keep up-to-date with everything.

"The academy are currently all away from work and training has been shut down but it gives the staff some breathing space to work on the coaching programmes and other paperwork required for the various industry standards they have to meet.

"With regard to the first team squad, we were hoping they would be able to do some training in small groups this week but the plan has been put on hold in order to respect the government's instructions on social distancing. The players will continue to train away from the club and our sports scientist Josh Harris has provided them with a very detailed programme.

"The football staff are being guided by the club doctor with regard to their activities and they are also meeting on a weekly basis. We will continue to monitor all the information from the various authorities and regulate our activities accordingly."

One of the biggest challenges for the club has been to keep the business going with no income from matches and no future calendar to work with regarding the end of the current season and the start of the next one.

"The Board of Directors have also been in regular contact with each other," said Paul.

"Clive Gowing has produced an emergency cashflow forecast and we are reviewing all of the latest elements of financial assistance that have been announced by both the EFL and government. Financially we are OK for the short term but the longer the disruption continues, the more difficult life is going to be.

"The most difficult thing is not knowing when we can start playing again. There has been a lot of communication and some heartening co-operation between different clubs but the one thing that comes through is that people are already desperate to play some football. It's going to take some creative thinking and a lot of co-operation from the various stakeholders in the game to make things work but the good thing about football is that people are so passionate about it. I'm certain there will be a high level of determination to solve even the most difficult problems once we have a timescale.

"The most important thing for now is to follow the instructions on self isolating and social distancing because the sooner we can turn the tide of the virus, the sooner we can get back to something like normal life."

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