Quinton keen to keep playing
Quinton keen to keep playing

On Friday, the leagues immediately below the Vanarama National League South announced that they would be recommending to their member clubs that the season should be terminated immediately.

Welling manager Brad Quinton loves his football and does not want the season terminated at National League South level but he did admit to having some misgivings. “Football will always be there.” he said. “Fans make football. Without fans football’s a completely different breed. It’s awkward. It’s a completely different attitude.”

The current situation has further challenges. “You can’t have all the players in the same dressing room.” he continued. “You have to have them in two or three dressing rooms, five or six at a time, so you have to go and do two or three team talks. Collectively, you only get them together when you go out on that pitch. It’s something from the norm that everyone needs to try and understand.”

Voicing his concerns, he added “I’m not one for saying call a halt on the league but it gets to a point of how are you going to fit all the games in. That’s when you’re going to have to be realistic with what you’ve got to do and the main thing is that if people are going down with it, through no fault of their own, certain people are fit and healthy and can look after themselves but when you go back to your loved ones, that’s when I worry. 

“If I worry that one of my squad players gives it to one of their loved ones, and something happens bad, God forbid, it would make me feel really bad. I wake up and I’ve dreamed about that and I think about that. I don’t want it to happen so you have to be honest and football will be back but we have to be healthy and be honest with ourselves.”

On the subject of the trident leagues below, he said “I’ve been told they’re stopping. There’s no point, It’s not going to go on. Now you’ve got to look at what happens with people, do they come up? Are there any relegations? The league and the F.A. have got to get together and try and organise it and I think that if everyone understood where we’re all going and what direction we’re pulling in,  are we going to fit them all in? Is everyone safe? Is everyone following the tests?”

Many teams in Welling’s league are testing regularly. Quinton confirmed that his club is taking it very seriously. “We’re all having tests done, we’re having lateral testing twice a week, our squad players, and if all the players can feed that out, we’ll be as safe as what we can do and that’s the most important thing so fair play to our directors.

“My main issue is the health of my family, the health of their families and their loved ones.” he continued.

“Training and everything. You can’t bring trialists in because you have to worry about have they had Covid tests. You have to try and keep a bubble. It’s so hard. It’s so hard to do.”

Although a couple of clubs are full time, the vast majority in the NLS are semi-professional so players have other jobs outside football. “If they work as well, these players, if they tell their work that they caught if off one of the footballers, some people’s work won’t pay you because you haven’t caught it at work, you’ve caught it somewhere else, and I know it first hand.”

Other managers have been more forthright in voicing their concerns. Dartford manager Steve King has suggested a one month break and Jon Underwood, manager of Slough, has also called for a halt. As the infection rate continues to rise, it will be interesting to see what happens next.  

Picture supplied by Dave Budden.