THE 1874 COLUMN – by Matt Waters

1874 manager Wayne Goodison believes that being at home for our first games back against Padiham and Northwich Victoria should give the players all the motivation they need to put in good performances.

He said: “In some ways it feels like we are starting the season again.

“We think we’ve trained well and being at home in both of those games means the players should have motivation they need to go out and get results.

“For the Vics game in particular, it’s always eventful and a good occasion and I’m sure it will be again this year.

“I think it will be different for both clubs because we are at a limited capacity and both of us would ideally want more supporters there, but we have to respect the rules and I’m sure it’ll be the same when we go to them later in the year.

“However, with it being mostly our fans there they can use it to their advantage and play off the home crowd.

“There’s no easy way of playing games and in these types of fixtures especially with such a long lay-off, anything can happen.”

The return of football at our level comes around once again in uncertain circumstances.

With another lockdown looming over us, Wayne added his frustration of no current plan on how to resolve the season.

“There’s so much disparity and lack of leadership from our governing bodies it makes it incredibly difficult to prepare when you don’t know when and how long you’re going to be playing for,” he said.

“Players at this level aren’t stupid – they see things in the news and how it affects their lives and right now, football doesn’t provide them with the enjoyment it should do.

“What happens if we go into another lockdown and miss another month’s football?

“Understandably, the clubs inside the promotion places will want it to be points per game even though we’ve played five games.

“The reality is we could have finished last season rather than having potentially two uncompleted ones.

“I think the FA will wipe this season like the last one because ultimately, they don’t care about clubs at our level.”

Finally, in a message for supporters over the festive period, Wayne said he hopes those supporters who have been isolating can return to the games in a safe environment in the near future.

“We don’t know what the future will hold. It has been very strange year for us all and I hope all of our supporters follow the guidance and stay safe this Christmas.

“We’re lucky that we’ve been in a position to allow some fans back to see us play despite mixed messages.

“It is been strange for us and the players this year not being able to interact with the supporters on a matchday in quite the same way but when the time is right, we hope to see you all at a game very soon.”