Dagenham director Thompson insists they need help in order to survive

PUBLISHED: 10:40 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:40 23 September 2020

Dagenham manager Daryl McMahon during Hornchurch vs Dagenham & Redbridge, Friendly Match Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 5th September 2020

Dagenham manager Daryl McMahon during Hornchurch vs Dagenham & Redbridge, Friendly Match Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 5th September 2020

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Dagenham & Redbridge managing director Steve Thompson insists they need support to help survive if they must play games behind closed doors following the latest government announcement.

The National League, National League North and National League South are due to begin their seasons on October 3, which was set to coincide with the planned return of spectators.

However, the Government’s announcement on Tuesday that it could be another six months before fans are allowed in stadiums due to a rise in coronavirus cases has now put that in doubt.

The National League board will meet on Thursday to discuss the implications that the latest guidelines and restrictions could have on them.

“It was really horrible, we’re a small club, we rely of a small amount of people and volunteers,” Thompson told 5LiveSport.

“We’ve been preparing the ground for the last two months to start playing in front of spectators from around October, 3.

“We need some support, you gave us great support at the beginning, you gave us the furlough money and we were able to hibernate.

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“I don’t want that again, I don’t want to have to put my players and staff back at home, give us some support so we can set up a streaming system.

“It won’t give us the income we need but it would allow us to continue so that in six or nine months time all of these clubs are still here for our local communities.”

Dagenham hosted a pilot event last night (Tuesday) against Concord Rangers which was a success but the director was keen to make it known this is about more than even football.

“We had a pilot event and we had just 600 people, everything worked well, Public Health were here and they were very impressed with what we’ve done and what we’ve set up, so to not be able to do that on October, 3 put the 67 National League clubs in jeopardy across the country.

He added: “There isn’t the money at our level, we’re not a Premier League or Football League side, and we haven’t got the big TV deals that they have got so we haven’t got anything to fall back on.

“You’ve also got to remember most non league football clubs are essential parts of their communities.

“It’s not just about the home matches, here at Dagenham & Redbridge, we’re open 365 days a year. We’re part of the community, we have pensioner group, a deaf society, a bereavement society and all of these people are using the club everyday of the week.

“We have weddings and other functions that help our incomes.”

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