Echoing life across the country, we have experienced an extraordinary stop-start season for grassroots football. Preparation for the new season began in the summer of 2020 starting with non-contact training, soon followed by a return to competitive matches as the pandemic eased. While the start of the senior season was delayed for a few weeks, the Colchester & District Youth Football League kicked off as it does every year on the second Sunday in September.
Since then football activity was completely suspended on two further occasions – first in November and then for three months from the end of last year. As with daily life, keeping up to speed with the ever-changing Government regulations has been a challenge. There have different rules for youth and senior teams, guidelines that vary depending on tiers and rapid u-turns including the recent change permitting spectators in public spaces.
The enthusiasm amongst players to return to football on each occasion has been uplifting. After the quiet winter months, it is fantastic to see and hear School Lane buzzing again – full of action and activity that perhaps we took for granted before. The season has been extended into June to allow as many cups and leagues as possible to finish.
Despite the turmoil and disruption, the Club looks as though it will have fared better than many grassroots clubs. Although important sources of revenue for the Club such as takings from the Bar and Coffee Bar are significantly lower, this has been offset by welcome contributions from sponsorship, grants, and donations. We are very much looking forward to the future and will be refocusing on realising our full potential to develop an all-weather playing surface at School Lane.