Focus all on Premier League insists Romford chairman

Delight for Romford Chairman Steve Gardener (Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Delight for Romford Chairman Steve Gardener (Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Romford chairman Steve Gardener insists non-league supporters, players and clubs are feeling left out as focus seems to be entirely on the Premier League during the coronavirus pandemic.

Allowing fans back in the stands in grounds up and down the nation is vital for non-league clubs as the majority depend on the matchday revenue to keep themselves going, otherwise risk being able to run and potentially face having no choice but to go out of existence.

A petition to ‘Let Fans In’ was trending on Twitter this week, but the Boro chairman knows they must still be cautious with the pandemic ongoing.

“I understand that we’ve got to be cautious and I understand we’ve got to follow the government guidelines, however it does seem strange to me personally that you’ve got a club that has a small clubhouse can have supporters stand in the bar on a Saturday within the guidelines set out for pubs, but then can’t go stand in an open area to watch the football,” said Gardener.

“Cricket has gone back, I read on Twitter someone put ‘I went down to my local club on the weekend, the village cricket team was playing on the left and that was okay but on the right was the local football team but I couldn’t watch them’.

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“There seems to be some anomalies that are difficult to sort out and I think the other thing supporters and clubs are frustrated about – and I share that frustration – is that it appears while we have this wonderful pyramid in the UK that no other country in the world has got. You can go from the bottom to the top, there is 800 clubs trying to progress, everything seems to just be focused on the Premier League.

“Even when we had the local lockdown in Leicester and they were allowed to play their game, we shouldn’t be travelling abroad, but now we’ve still got the Champions League and Europa League. I think a lot of supporters, players, and clubs feel a bit left out at the moment.

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“Fans of non-league football are always telling people football is not just about the Premier League or the Football League or the National League or even step three or four, there is hundreds of clubs at step five, six and seven.

“Yet every day we’re reading about clubs going bust.”

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