THE VICS COLUMN - By manager Steve Wilkes

HAPPY New Year. I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas under the current circumstances.

I’m sure people have had good things happen to them and their families in 2020, but in general, I think most will be happy to see the back of it.

I’ve been asked to try and explain what it’s been like as a non-league football manager during these past few weeks and months. Well it’s been tough.

Personally, I struggled with the second lockdown that was implemented after the Runcorn Town game on November 4. I’ve missed the players, the dressing room, the camaraderie that you have with your staff, the supporters, especially my best mate Kenzie and everyone else that is connected to the football club.

I’m used to being out of the house four/five nights a week watching or being involved in a game, so doing absolutely nothing, has been hard to adapt to.

When you think we’ve only played seven league games to date and we started back for pre-season on Saturday, June 6, which is over six months ago, you realise how inactive things have been.

Yes we’ve played three cup games as well, and we have played 14 friendlies, but we’ve never felt comfortable in thinking that we’re going to get a run of games over a couple of months.

In all the time since the season actually kicked off, we’ve managed just two training sessions.

People keep asking me if I think the season will finish. The honest answer is, I have no idea. It’s going to be purely down to what the Government allow us to do.

I just hope people start adhering to what they are being asked to do, that’s the only way that this virus will be controlled.

People can’t keep travelling in and out of different Tiers, they can’t go and visit friends, just because they want to. Anyway, enough about the politics.

We have two new players on board that signed over a month ago, but haven’t made their competitive debuts yet.

Chris Cheetham has come in to replace Mike Hale, who has retired and we welcome back Jack Fleming, who we’ve re-signed from Caernarfon.

Flemmo needs no introduction and I’m sure the fans can’t wait to welcome him back.

We are having quite a bit of banter in the players’ group to keep us in touch with each other, unfortunately I can’t print any of it.

The players are training twice a week on their own, well that’s what they’re telling me.

So hopefully if and when we get the green light to resume, we won’t be too far away from the fitness levels we expect.

The gesture the club made regarding buying all the tickets for the away game at 74, just shows what kind of football club we have.

The idea was mentioned by club secretary Dave Thomas and the rest of the committee agreed that it would be a fantastic idea.

On top of that we had the ‘keepy uppy’ challenge alongside the Northwich Vixens that I believe raised over £1,000 for Mid Cheshire Foodbank and The Salvation Army. Massive thanks to Emma, the captain of the Vixens for all her hard work in setting everything up.

On a personal family matter, my daughter Olivia has been back home from America since the end of November. She had to have two negative tests five days apart when she returned home before she could leave the house.

She flies back to America on Sunday, but only if she has a negative test 48 hours before she flies. It’s been so nice having her back home, she celebrated her 21st birthday on November 3 last year and due to the travel restrictions, I was unable to go and visit.

And I’m going to be a Grandad at the end of March, beginning of April, as Zack and his girlfriend Kym are expecting their first child, so that is something to look forward to.

Another nice thing that has happened during this pandemic is that my wife Alison has been at home, instead of flying around the world each week.

Not sure she’s enjoyed being stuck with me all this time though.

So, please look after yourselves, keep following the guidelines and hopefully we will all be seeing each other sometime soon. Take Care, Steve.