Sidmouth Town boss: ‘Coronavirus is the ‘worst possible’ ending to the season’

Sidmouth Town away to Upottery Ref shsp 11 20TI 9933 Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Town away to Upottery Ref shsp 11 20TI 9933 Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Town manager Danny Burwood has described the COVID-19 pandemic, which has suspended all grassroots football, as the ‘worst possible thing’ in terms of their season.

Sidmouth Town at home to Brixham. Ref shsp 07 20TI 8018. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Town at home to Brixham. Ref shsp 07 20TI 8018. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Burwood said: “First and foremost, there’s a lot more than football going on in everyone’s minds, so it has gone to the back of my mind because there are so many other things you have to take into consideration.

“Looking on the football front, Sidmouth had a tough decision. There was a situation where the South West Peninsula League (SWPL) postponed while the Devon and Exeter Football League (DEFL) decided to carry on as best as they could.

“We have a team in the SWPL and three other teams in the DEFL, they took the very brave decision of pulling all four teams out which in my eyes was the sensible thing to do.”

Burwood highlighted the message of Liverpool head coach Jürgen Klopp who earlier said that ‘if it’s a choice between football and the good of the wider society, it’s no contest. Really, it isn’t.’. Burwood said: “What a lot of people don’t understand is it’s not just the footballers that are the main concerns, it’s the stalwarts of the club such as the groundsman, the chairman and the secretary.

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“The people who go unrecognised throughout the whole of the season are the ones most vulnerable to this terrible virus.

“That’s what we have to take into consideration and from a football point of view, it’s not ideal.

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“I’m a Liverpool fan so I’m gutted but when you look at someone like Jürgen Klopp, who is about to do something amazing with that club, if he can take that approach to life then it’s a no brainer for the rest of us.”

An extended break could have a heavy financial cost for many clubs across the country but Burwood is confident the Vikings will see it through: “I’d like to think that everyone locally would keep a good mindset on to what is happening.

“As far as the football club is concerned, they’ve always got other people’s best interest at heart.

“There will be a knock-on effect and it will make the club struggle but there are some good people at the club who know exactly how to run the club and what to do in a situation like this.”

Burwood expressed his doubt at the league returning and said the pandemic was ‘the worst thing possible’ in terms of their season: “If they bring it back in mid-April, we’ve got 15 games to play.

“Credit to Phil Hiscox [SWPL secretary] for how he’s dealt with it but we’re looking at a Thursday night trip to Millbrook followed by a Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Good Friday. It’s just ridiculous.

“As a club, this is the worst possible thing that could have happened because everyone at the club was in full belief that we were going to pull through this. We had started to click even with all the rain postponements so we were looking forward to the task of pulling ourselves out of this.”

If Sidmouth have played their final game, Burwood said the opportunity manage the club this season would be his highlight. He said: “Going into Peninsula Premier, which is a massive step for the club, it showed and I think the club has learnt a lot from this season in terms of where we want to be.

I believe that the club are set up well enough. Jay Thorne has just taken over as chairman which is a good thing going forward. He’ll get back to organising events that surround the community in football.

“The lows are, and this sounds like an excuse, but we’ve just been a bit unfortunate this year. Maybe the step up was too much for some of the players which we have now come around to realising that.

“Another low would be the way the season has ended, as it would for every club. Nobody likes to be without football especially those in Sidmouth and I’d imagine the whole county is seething.

“There’s a lot of teams there that wanted to carry on playing but the FA have made the right decision.”

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