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01 Apr 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 10

Runcorn Linnets Juniors

It was great to see all the Little Linnets back at the Millbank this week, it's been far too long since I've heard the sound of kids playing football. I'll be there myself on Thursday to help coach my son's Under 8s team and I can't wait to get back out there.

Although no spectators are allowed yet apart from parents/guardians, it is a step in the right direction for football and it won't be long until we can welcome you all back.

2021/22 League Start Date

The NPL have provided us with an update on the start of the league season. It will start on Saturday 14th August 2021.

Providing there are no disruptions to the league schedule, the league season will be completed at the end of April, with play-offs being staged over the Bank Holiday weekend. However, the season could be extended to 31st May if required.

Now we have a start date, Calum and Colin can start to properly plan their preseason. We will begin to announce our preseason friendlies as they are confirmed.

National League System Restructure

Discussions around when the long-awaited league restructure happen are continuing. A potential roadmap to implement the additional division at Step 4 (which the NPL will manage) plus further re-organisation at Steps 5 7 (as any new division at Step 4 will need to be supplemented by clubs from Step 5), in time for next season, has been tabled and the FA Executive given feedback.

I personally think the restructure will happen before the start of next season as Steps 5-7 are keen for it happen sooner rather than later.

Although any restructure will not necessarily make our league any easier it will make travelling to away games easier and more affordable, both for the club and the fans. It is certainly something that I as Chairman, would support.

Financial Support

More financial support for businesses have been announced in the last week. We have already applied for a restart grant provided by Halton Borough Council which is available to all businesses affected by the lockdown and we are waiting to hear back from them.

The next round of the Winter Survival Fund grants has been announced and we have been told that the application process will be much less onerous than the last round of funding. Once the applications are open, we will have a look to see if we qualify for a grant and apply if we do.

Although our costs are massively reduced when we are not playing, we have lost out on additional income from the bar and pitch hire, so we will apply for any grant support that we qualify for.

Ground Improvements

Work is nearly complete on making the compound safe and improving the overall look of the area from the turnstile to the pitch area. All the volunteers have worked very hard over the last few weeks and the place is unrecognisable. I don't want to be repeating myself all the time but I don't think I could ever thank the volunteers enough, they are giving up their free time pretty much every day to help transform the club and it is very much appreciated by myself and the rest of the board.

There is other work planned, both inside and out but I will update you all on that when we are a bit further along with them.

As always, thank you for reading this update and I am happy that I no longer have to say stay home but still want you all to stay safe, so I can see you all when the Linnets are back.

Dave Jones

Chairman - Runcorn Linnets FC

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