The 1874 Column by Matt Waters

GOALS from Jake Parker, Matt Woolley and Aaron Smith secured our place in the first round of the FA Vase and subsequently Wayne and Paul’s 100th win in charge of the club.

After the game co-manager Wayne Goodison told me he hopes football can continue in a “safe way.”

“To be honest lockdown did affect me," he said.

"I spend a lot of my time coaching and watching football so to have that taken away from me and the players was a struggle.

“We got the news in June that we could return to training and everybody was keen to do that. As a coach it posed interesting problems because we wanted to create something which was enjoyable but social distanced.

“It was ok for a period and served it’s purpose and now it’s so good we can play competitively again. The last couple of weeks we’d seen a difference in the players and the realisation that the season starts now and we’ve got that first game done now so we’re up and running.”

“I hope from a Government perspective that we can continue in a safe way and start to get some structure in the season, not just for us but for everyone in non-league.”

With our league campaign due to start this Tuesday away at Barnoldswick Town, Wayne continued saying pre-season has dragged for everyone whether it be players, fans or coaches.

"For us last season has gone now," he said.

"We spoke to the players at length at the start of the pre-season and we knew it was vital to prepare well this year.

“It’s been difficult preparing because we have been waiting for proper football to return and now, we’ve played today and our focus turns to the league.

“We’ve tried a few things during pre-season and learnt some things too. We’re just happy football is back.”

One of the key factors for footballs return has been clubs adhering to the relevant guidance making sure everything is Covid secure.

In terms of the ‘matchday experience’, Wayne believes that it is, “crucial to get it right so there can be no excuses.”

“Again, this is something new we are dealing with this season and it’s very different. Footballers are notorious for wanting habit and I know that from playing days and we give that to the players the best we can.

"It’s crucial to get it right so there can be no excuses.

“We’ve been told to wear masks and we will do everything we can do to ensure our playing environment is safe. We see that as our duty.”

Finally, Wayne paid tribute for the hard work everyone at the club has put in, in order to get our games on.

“I looked around the ground today and I think the club have done brilliantly. The respect from everybody to adhere to these guidelines was amazing and it’s what 1874 is all about,” he said.