NOW that the premature end of the 2019/20 season has officially been ratified by the FA, we can take a look back at how the new fan owned and fan run Northwich Victoria FC has fared since the take over back in 2017.

Back then, the club survived thanks to a small group of loyal supporters headed by Dave Thomas and Brian Turner, who wouldn’t let the club they loved die.

Thousands of pounds were raised to ensure the survival of the club after administration and the club started life in the North West Counties Premier Division in 2017 under the managership of Paul Moore.

The first year was to be a period of survival, with the trials and tribulations of starting a season off with not much more than enthusiasm, hope and the love of your club.

It proved hard, and results were disappointing, and Paul eventually found the pressure of running his own business and managing the club too much and resigned towards the end of September.

Steve Wilkes was the man who was selected to replace him as manager, and it soon became apparent that Steve and his backroom staff bought into the ethos of the new club.

We finished the 2017/18 season in 16th place, but with a lot of things learnt, and more and more people believing in the club again, the foundations were becoming firmer.

A groundshare agreement was reached with Witton Albion, and there was a buzz around the club again at the start of the 2018/19 season.

The hard working committee had spent the close season securing new sponsors and Steve Wilkes had been assembling a new squad.

The foundations were there for a better season and so it proved.

The club reached the semi-finals of the FA Vase, and only missed out on reaching Wembley after a heart-breaking penalty shoot-out loss against Chertsey Town.

This FA Vase run brought supporters (old and new) back to the club and there was a real buzz back.

NVFC eventually finished the season fourth in the division albeit a long way off worthy champions City of Liverpool.

However, it was a season full of positives, both on and off the field. Crowds were growing, people were pulling together as never before and hopes and expectations were high for the forthcoming 2019/20 season.

However, the pattern for the season was set in the first match as we conceded a last minute goal to lose at home to Whitchurch Alport, a costly habit which continued through the season with leads being thrown away on an all too regular basis.

This was highlighted in November in the second round of the FA Vase, when we threw away a three-goal lead to draw 5-5 against Wythenshawe Town, and eventually losing the replay 2-1 in a poor display in deepest Wythenshawe.

Results and performances had just started to improve again when Covid-19 forced the premature end to the season, but there was no disguising it had been a disappointing season for the Vics.

However, the club is in a better situation than it has been for a long time.

The groundshare at Witton Albion has been extended giving benefits to both teams.

Support is still slowly growing and the club is in the safe hands of the supporters, and we simply can’t wait for next season.

Life is never dull at Vics, and we are thankful that we have a club to support after we came so close to losing it three years ago.

So when life returns to normal, why not come down and see for yourself how things have changed, and how the club is being run by the fans.

Your local clubs (and that includes all our rivals) need your support more than ever now so forget Premier League and TV football, get down and enjoy the experience of non-league football, it may just surprise you!

Stay Safe everyone.