Welwyn Garden City expected to lose money hosting Aldershot Town as COVID-19 perils laid bare

Welwyn Garden City's Dylan Ebengo and WGC chairman Ray Fiveash

Welwyn Garden City chairman Ray Fiveash pictured with Dylan Ebengo. - Credit: WGCFC

Welwyn Garden City are "holding their own" but the perilous nature of finances for non-league clubs during the pandemic is laid bare by the fact the Citizens expected to lose money when hosting Aldershot Town.

Under normal circumstances a high three-figure crowd, maybe even four, would have packed into Herns Lane to see the FA Trophy third round clash with the former Football League side.

Welwyn had hoped to get 400 in but those plans, which had included the printing of tickets, were scuppered by the placing of Hertfordshire into tier three, meaning the contest would have to be played behind closed doors.

That, along with the need to pay expenses for four match officials instead of three among other things, had City's chairman Ray Fiveash in a reflective mood.

He said: "The worse thing about playing a club like Aldershot behind closed doors is that we’ll probably lose money, even in a competition like this. 

"If we’d played away we may have actually made money. 

"Apart from that we are holding our own because we’ve had a few grants from here, there and everywhere. 

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"Without the grants we may have struggled to make 100 years, and it is our anniversary in 2021."

Life in tier three was going to be hard enough and there was talk of "localising the competition" before the newly-created tier four status brought an immediate and swift suspension of league fixtures.

Fiveash though says there is not a lot clubs can do at the minute.

He said: "A lot of people are getting upset [about the lack of football] but you have to accept that there is nothing you can do. 

"Some people say I’m taking it too lightly but what’s the point in winding yourself up about it. 

"The uncertainty is horrible. Not knowing what you can do next is the hardest thing. 

"When we had the first lockdown we’d just bought a load of beer the day before. 

"I’m sure the players are feeling just as bad as we are. They get into a routine of playing "

Following the tier three announcement for large swathes of the south east, the Southern League had said a formal restart date would unlikely be before January 9 but they would give clubs "at least 10 days’ notice" to allow preparation time to stage league matches.

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