Hessenthaler discusses finances
Hessenthaler discusses finances

“I’m worried for football certainly for the lower leagues because of the financial repercussions this current crisis is going to bring…”  Dover Athletic boss Andy Hessenthaler’s stark warning to the rest of football as the sport faces up to life in the current crisis.

Speaking to KSN as all football in this country is suspended until the end of April at the earliest, the Dover boss continued, “There has been a lot said about the situation and obviously there was such an inconsistency with our game on – obviously the other games were on although some got called off in the end in our League. 

“I’ve been listening to what the Chairman said and to be fair he felt the game should have been played certainly for financial reasons and I get that because it was massive in terms of finances because I don’t think that this is going to get any better. We’re four weeks behind Italy and in four weeks’ time it’s going to get a lot worse in this country.  So, I just think that it was inevitable that the National League was going to be suspended and come in line with the EFL”.

A lot has been made of the increased gates at games that were played last weekend, Hessenthaler said, “We had a gate of I think it was around 1,300 – people love football don’t they and want to support their team and they come out and I think the crowds last week show that people still want to be there and watch games.  But obviously with what’s going on – there are so many cases now – when they talk about mass gatherings you cant and the Government are advising them not to happen so it was inevitable that most sporting events were going to shut down for the foreseeable future.

“I’m just concerned for Dover; concerned for all lower League clubs – the Gillingham’s – its not going to be easy because we all need the revenue – we’re a full time football club now too and I’ll have meetings with the Chairman and staff. 

“I will be guided by the Chairman on how we’re going to do things – will we carry on training or what are we going to do? So, it’s all still very much up in the air but it is very concerning.

“With regards to the training, I think a lot of clubs are on shut-down to keep players away from each other so I think most clubs will be giving their players a programme.  My son Jake (who currently plays for Grimsby Town) has been given a programme for seventeen days to keep training by himself basically away from the squad and then go from there.  We’ll have to consider going down that route ourselves, but again that’s another decision for the Chairman after our discussion whether we give the players a programme for the time that they’re off until we come back.”

Hessenthaler then issued a stark warning to football fans everywhere.  He said, “At the moment I’m really not sure if we will be playing another game of football this season – I worries me and I just think that its just going to get worse, and at the moment I am concerned if the league will finish or not.  My gut feeling at the moment is that they’ll finish the season behind closed doors – that’s my gut feeling

“A null and void season I just don’t see how that can happen.  Obviously if you look at the likes of Liverpool, they’ll be uproar wont there the amount of points they are clear – they’ve won the League, haven’t they?  The likes of West Ham will be hoping that it is null and void but seriously that’s why it can’t happen.

“You’ve got to fulfill the fixtures even if that means behind closed doors even it that does mean that some players do get the virus and have to stay away meaning you’ve lost a few players and only have a number of players available to work with, but you can still fulfill the fixtures and then that will have to be the case even if there are no fans in the stadium.  So that still doesn’t help us financially but for me that might be the way perhaps you can finish the league without fans watching games.”