Football cancellation would be devastating blow for Ottery

Action from the pre-season friendly between Axminster Town and Ottery St Mary. Picture: SARAH MCCABE

Action from the pre-season friendly between Axminster Town and Ottery St Mary. Picture: SARAH MCCABE - Credit: Archant

The possibility of a second successive football being cancelled would be particularly cruel on Ottery St Mary. 
The Otters were denied the chance to secure a league title last year and are in a similar position of strength at the top of the Devon Football League this time around. 
It would be particularly harsh on the players and coaching staff, while the club also has concerns about their annual summer tournament. 
“We will get by financially, somehow, because we have to but, looking further ahead, we are not sure if our summer tournament will be allowed to happen,” said Ottery chairman Mikey Ringer. 
“The tournament is a shot in the arm financially and didn’t happen last year, which is ten grand out of our budget. 
“The managers and players at Ottery are very understanding of what is happening in the world and a lot of them work in frontline jobs, such as schools and healthcare. 
“I do feel for the senior team because it could be two years on the trot now when they could have secured a league title. 
“We were on course to win the league last year and it would be the same now. Our first-team has not lost a game all season, the reserves are flying high as well and the development is doing great. 
“We have young players coming through but they need games to develop even further. It’s the knock-on impact that is worrying. 
“Our under-16 girls, as an example, have only played one league game all year. 
“Young players need to be developing. Individual skills are great but football is a team sport, and it is important for people, physically and mentally. 
“My biggest fear at the moment is the mental welfare of players. Everyone is going through a tough time, the men, ladies and juniors. 
“I know the FA are looking at the issue and clubs are working together to safeguard the mental health of players, coaches and everyone involved in football. 
“We’ve got to do what we can during the lockdown period to keep people active.” 

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