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New Season Kicks Off But Return To Stadiums Suspended

By Bradford City Supporters Trust, Oct 2 2020 08:20PM

So, the new season kicked off as well as could be as expected behind closed doors, and the Bantams fortunes have been somewhat mixed. After a promising start beating Bolton Wanderers 2-1 in the League Cup we were knocked out of that competition, somewhat embarrassingly, and also the EFL Trophy too.  Our first win in the League was then snatched from us in injury time after having the misfortune of having two men sent off, away at Forrest Green Rovers in Gloucestershire. We made up for it in the Stevenage game, coming back from one down with an impressive display that shows a McCall style of play beginning to emerge, with short passing in midfield coupled with the inevitable long balls in our 2 - 1 win.

In an ironic twist of fortune, the New Lawn Stadium, home of the 'vegan club', Forrest Green Rovers was one of the eight EFL clubs to pilot a return of spectators to stadiums when the Bantams were the visitors, at a time when everyone who plays a part in football was eagerly awaiting the return to stadiums from the beginning of October.

Now, since the recently reported spike in Covid infections, and the Government being forced to act reluctantly to re-introduce aspects of 'lockdown' across the country, the return to stadiums has now been suspended. It has been reported in the press that fans may not be able to return to stadiums until March and this was raised at a sports governing bodies meeting last week attended by the officials from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The ban will be kept under review.

The FSA (Football Supporters' Association), the democratic national body to which supporters trusts, such as ourselves are affiliated to is lobbying the DCMS to provide an urgent financial package to stop clubs going bust and, as soon as possible if it is not safe for supporters to come back to stadiums even if clubs are restricted to a reduced capacity. See more here.

We are deeply concerned that EFL clubs have already lost a combined £50million as a result of playing behind closed doors last season, or as Leagues One and Two are concerned, not playing at all after games were initially suspended, and stand to loose a further £200million in 2020/21, should the whole season be required not to have fans in at all.

Invariably, no income from fans coming to grounds puts great pressure on clubs to financially sustain themselves and brings the scenario of more struggling clubs going bust such as Macclesfield Town, being the latest casualty.

The Bantams Supporters Trust is doing its bit to help our club, with sponsorship of Stuart's Assistant Manager, Kenny Black, and of a display banner that you may see soon on televised games.

Chelsea Manager and former player, Frank Lampard Speaking to Sky Sports last week said it is important that the Premier League supports EFL clubs financially. It is believed that a support package is been discussed between the Premier League and EFL. If this indeed happens it will demonstrate that money can be redistributed from the top to the bottom in a more sustained way which could secure struggling clubs whilst go some way to closing the wealth gap between the richest and poorest clubs.

How We Can All Help

The FSA is encouraging individual fans and affiliated or associated supporters’ groups to contact their local MPs who can make representations to the Government asking for urgent measures to protect football clubs.

To find out who your MP is and Ideas for your emails to them click here.

Best wishes and stay safe.


From all of us on the Bantams Supporters Trust Board

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