THE VICS COLUMN – by Peter Tonge

IT’S coming up to the Christmas period – normally an extremely busy time for non-league football.

However, even with the league due to restart again on Saturday, this season we only have three games during the festive period but they should be three crackers.

Firstly, Saturday sees Bootle visit Wincham Park hoping to extend their 100 per cent record in the league this season.

Now, that sounds a very impressive record seeing that its mid-December and the season started back in October, but due to Covid-19 and the restrictions imposed upon Liverpool during that time, coupled with the weather has meant that Bootle have only played three league matches so far!

However their record of having scored 14 goals and conceded five in victories against Charnock Richard, Squires Gate and Longridge Town is quite impressive.

Next up for Vics is the Northwich derby against 1874 Northwich up at Barnton.

Normally a Boxing Day affair and the main course of the Christmas menu, this match has been moved to the evening of Monday, December 28, and is bound to be a tense close affair as always.

Unfortunately, with a crowd limit of 300 due to Covid restrictions, Vics have been limited to only 45 tickets for this match which is strictly ticket only and they are being distributed by a ballot system for members of the club.

Hopefully by the time of the reverse fixture due at Easter, we’ll be back to normal conditions and be ready to welcome the 4-500 spectators who would normally be expected at this fixture.

The final course of Christmas fayre for Vics is a home clash against Ashton Athletic on January 2.

Ashton had just turned a corner with two consecutive wins when the league was suspended after four straight defeats, so it will be interesting to see how they fare on their return to action.

One aspect of this stop-start season, at least for Vics, has been the number of injuries which players have picked up in the fixtures (friendlies and league) which have been allowed so far.

Last Saturday, Vics managed to pick up four injuries during their friendly against Sandbach United, three of them to defenders, and they ended up playing two full backs as central defenders in the second half.

Hopefully none of them seemed too serious, but it shows how players need regular matches and training to maintain their fitness.

Let’s hope that the season settles down now and we get back to playing regular matches and 2021 proves to be a much better year for football – and indeed for everyone – than 2020 has been.

Please note that this piece was written before Boris’s latest announcement and things may have changed for the better or for the worse, so please keep checking the website and social media for all the latest news.

Stay safe, everyone.