Maidstone United CEO Bill Williams: We are continuing to work hard behind the scenes to firm up our Covid-secure plan, so that we are ready for when the green light comes

Thursday 10th December 2020

MAIDSTONE UNITED have postponed their home game against Braintree Town on Saturday after a player and member of support staff tested positive for Covid-19.

The Vanarama National League South club are following guidance from the Football Association and National League, which means management and players will be self-isolating until 00:01 on Saturday 19 December.

The self-isolation period includes the Stones’ FA Trophy Second Round home tie against Poole Town on Tuesday 15 December and the club will provide their fans’ with an update on that fixture as soon as possible.

In a statement on the club website, chief executive Bill Williams said: “This is a position no club wants to find themselves in. We have followed the guidance since our return to training back in mid-August and will of course comply with the period of self-isolation.

“It is a timely reminder that this virus hasn’t gone away and indeed Kent has seen a significant increase in cases over recent weeks.

“I send my best wishes to our players, management and staff, and hope we can all return safe and well from the 19th.”

All clubs in Kent were placed in Tier Three restrictions from the UK Government so the club are unable to open their doors.

Williams said earlier in the week: “Are you a regular quiz-goer? If so, commit Margaret Keenan and May Parsons to your memory – I bet their names will come up in many a general knowledge round in the months and years to come.

“Margaret was the first person in the world to receive the Covid-19 jab and May was nurse who made history when administering it.

“The rollout of the vaccine is fantastic news and it really is the key to unlocking the normal life that many of us have craved since it was taken from us back in March.

“We cannot allow ourselves to get carried away and let our guard down with all the precautions we’ve taken since the spring. Many commentators are predicting next April at the earliest before some semblance of normality returns.

“We cannot be complacent here in Kent. Maidstone is now in that unenviable position of being in top ten of the highest cases per borough in England. Medway, Swale, Gravesham and Dover all feature too.

“For that reason alone, I am not anticipating a reduction in Tier Three status from the 16th. Could it happen on the 30th? Possibly, but a lot will depend on the impact of the five-day, three bubble thing over Christmas.

“We are continuing to work hard behind the scenes to firm up our Covid-secure plan, so that we are ready for when the green light comes.

“It won’t come as a surprise to you that I watch a lot of football on the telly – too much Mrs Williams would say. This weekend, as much as the football, I found myself pausing the Sky box to look at seating layouts and distancing on terraces.

“Was it perfect? I am sure every safety officer will have learnt something but I think for a first attempt it was as good as you could have hoped for. There were a couple of incidents but on whole it appeared to me that fans were happy to co-operate with the new rules and procedures – anything to get back watching live football.

“When you return to our stadium, things will be different. Three set zones, three set entrances, staggered arrival times, no swapping ends at half time – they are just a few of the measures we’ve had to introduce. It will all be explained beforehand, so everyone will know what to expect and what’s expected of them.

“I am looking forward to getting back to the league action this weekend, it’s been a bit stop-start of late. Firstly, the Dulwich match was postponed due to a floodlight problem at their place and last weekend was supposed to be FA Trophy but the competition was still a round behind due to lockdown.

“With the leagues below us suspended till later this month, you fear for some fixture congestion, especially with the wet winter season yet to kick in.

“Hakan Heyrettin has kept the team ticking over with training sessions and friendlies. It was pleasing Saturday to see Jack Mayhew from our under-23s and Max Sutton, who’s played for us since under-8s, feature in a game against Ramsgate.

“Nothing pleases me more than to see players go through the youth system and into the first team, it’s what every club, at all levels, wants to see.

“We only have to look back to the days when Alex Flisher and Tom Mills emerged from our youth set-up – two of the finest players ever to have worn our shirt.

“Through the under-23s and Academy, I hope our player pathway will see more young talent like Jack and Max emerge. As the saying goes, we all love ‘one of our own’.”

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