TOUGH times can bring people – and football clubs – closer together when it is most needed.

Witton Albion and Northwich Victoria are on that course as the coronavirus pandemic and consequent UK lockdown continues to turn lives and the economy of the country upside down.

In an unprecedented week which seems certain to have ended the campaigns of all the town’s football clubs over a month early – as leagues prepare to shut down until next season – Albion chairman John Salmon has been lifted by the actions of the club that share Witton’s Wincham Park home as tenants.

He has also been bowled over by money pledges, on the back of a prolonged period without income from home matches and social club use due to wet-weather postponements, and all this while facing the prospect of no more league or cup games for more than four months.

“Brian Turner, the chairman of Vics, phoned me on Friday night and I was expecting a payment holiday request in the current circumstances,” said Salmon.

“But not only did he say we’ll pay the rent next week in advance, he’s paid it.

“He said he’d read the statement I issued on Friday, thought it was brilliant and agreed we’re all in this together.

“I think it says that Northwich Victoria honour their arrangements in such difficult times and that we’re standing together on this.

“Brian Turner’s a good man, he does what he says he’s going to do, a man of honour, and as a consequence of this we’re in discussions about further forging our relationship going forward.”

Salmon was unable to divulge further detail at this time, but made it clear the discussions do not centre around a merger.

Vics’ groundshare payment, and the pledges of more than £3000 from Witton supporters since Friday, will contribute towards helping the club and its vital stadium asset to continue ticking over in the weeks and months ahead.

Salmon confirmed Witton’s contracted management team and all players were paid wages on Friday after having played ‘at great personal risk’ what now seems certain to have been their last game of the season at Lancaster six days earlier.

“Moving forward, as far as possible we will honour our contractual obligations between now and the rest of season,” said Salmon in his monthly statement update.

“Non-contractual players will not be paid. Sadly, that is the way of things.

“We will of course do our utmost to redress this from any Government Grants.

“We will be in discussions with HMRC and other business creditors about a payment holiday.

“Suffice to say that running a stadium of our size and quality costs money.

“This year we have shown a monumental change in the business from where we were last summer.

“It is a testament to the hard work, dedication and generosity of all involved that we avoided a potential disaster and put ourselves on a firm financial footing.

“This firm footing has enabled us to ride out the storm of winter and the bleak period that we have had to endure with hardly any games being played.

“We met hardship and difficulty full on and prevailed.

“The annual accounts to June 2019 show an incredible improvement.

“Shareholders will be getting copies and notice of the AGM shortly.

“While an AGM date has been set, the current circumstances dictate that this will be largely a paper exercise. Peoples’ health is paramount.

“Having got through our difficult time last summer, we are going to have to do it again. We will do it again.”