Chairman Graham Furness pictured with Centre Half Reece Fielding
It looks as though the coronavirus as brought a premature end to Park Steels season.
Although the season is only suspended until the end of April at this stage, chairman Graham Furness doesn't think it would be feasible for teams at this level of the football pyramid to be able to complete their fixtures. Stocksbridge Park Steels have had a good season and have been in and around the play off positions all season, the final two months of the season would have seen some important games played towards a promotion place. The management and players can take great pride in how they have performed since August.
The big question now is what does the future hold for Park Steels and other non league teams. Stocksbridge are South Yorkshire's highest placed team in the football pyramid and to stay at that level in normal times is hard enough,but now all income streams have dried up for the unforeseeable future all plans for the close season are on hold.We made the decision at the start of this season to reduce our playing budget but we still had to be mindful to keep the team competitive at that level,and looking at our league position we achieved that. Normally as we approach the end of one season we would be looking towards the summer and pitch /ground improvement and setting a budget but that is on hold.
Our income streams at this club are limited and are reliant on our excellent sponsors ,advertising around the ground and on our social media posts ,and the monthly draw ,the sports club doesn't belong to us and therefore doesn't generate any income towards our costs. With all the uncertainty around at the moment and firms and shops having to close we are not sure how many people will stay with us over the coming months. Obviously we have also lost the income from local finals and Sheffield Wednesday under 23 games over the next two months. It has been suggested that we start a just giving page to help the club, but we feel at the minute it would be inappropriate to go with a begging bowl when people are losing their jobs, businesses and worst of all their LIVES to this disease.
We obviously want to maintain this club for the community and the four hundred plus juniors we provide football for in the Stocksbridge and surrounding areas and also provide football at different levels of the pyramid with our reserve and under eighteen teams.
Nobody knows how long this situation will last all we can do is keep monitoring the situation and make decisions as we go.
Personally I hope that the situation will bring some sanity back to non league sport and the inflated wages that have been introduced by benefactors at club's at our level and below will disappear and sport will go back to being played for the right reasons.
The most important thing thing throughout all this is that everyone stays safe and well and are ready to try and get back to normality eventually.
Let's hope my second season is not so eventful off the pitch.