Last week member clubs of the National League voted to end the 2019/20 season on an unweighted points per game basis, thereby confirming the automatic promotion of Barrow and creating the opportunity for play offs to determine a second promotion place.
The outcome of this vote for your Club is that we are now able to focus on the start of the 2020/21 season, albeit there remains ongoing uncertainty in respect of its exact start date and the practicalities of hosting, and travelling to, fixtures in accordance with government guidelines for elite clubs on the return to play. Although the government has recommended that we aim for a September start date, some fundamental uncertainties remain, such as whether this will be with spectators or not.
In terms of football matters, Manager Dave Challinor is naturally keen to start pre-season training as soon as possible and also to complete his squad recruitment to challenge for promotion next season. Be assured that work behind the scenes is already underway in this respect.
Off the field, commercial initiatives such as the launch of season tickets and hospitality packages are being finalised, however without a clear start date – and, crucially, without knowing how many seats we will be allowed to sell within Victoria Park and how social distancing can be effectively applied and monitored across all areas of the ground (including within hospitality) – we feel it is inappropriate to offer them for sale at this stage.
By way of example, if our Covid-safe capacity is less than the number of season tickets we typically sell we must consider the most appropriate method for sale and allocation of those tickets. This is just one scenario we are evaluating amidst the uncertainty.
Despite the majority of our staff being on furlough, we have been able to progress a number of discussions with supporters, sponsors, suppliers and other key operational and strategic partners of your Club. These discussions have focused heavily on the quality of our communications and engagement moving forward and exploring the ways that we can continually improve the standards that we must operate to in order to provide you, the supporters, and the wider community of the town with a professional football club to be proud of.
We hope that you continue to understand that our main priority at the moment remains the health, safety and wellbeing of our players, staff and wider community. As more precise details of the start of the new season become clearer we will share them with you at the earliest convenience. We will also be able to firm up the details of our commercial offerings and supporter engagement initiatives.
In the meantime, stay safe and thank you for your continued support. We look forward to welcoming you to Victoria Park as soon as it is safe to do so.
Acting Executive Director