It is somewhat strange to see clubs one step below us in the Non-League pyramid now allowed crowds up to 600 on their terraces and our gates and turnstiles have to remain locked, says Tonbridge Angels chairman Dave Netherstreet
TONBRIDGE ANGELS chairman Dave Netherstreet says he feels frustrated that fans are still banned attending matches at Longmead Stadium.
Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two, National League, National League North and National League South clubs cannot open up their turnstiles and must play their games behind closed doors.
However, Isthmian League Premier Division clubs will be allowed to let 600 fans into their stadiums, 400 at the level below while clubs at Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division level can let in 300.
Last night, Beckenham Town, Chatham Town and Sheppey United attracted crowds that reached the limit set by the Government and Football Association.
The National League held a meeting yesterday and member clubs are desperate to open up the turnstiles having not made any match day revenue since March.
“It is somewhat strange to see clubs one step below us in the Non-League pyramid now allowed crowds up to 600 on their terraces and in their clubhouses and despite ourselves following to the letter all the protocols presented to us and the local authority indicating they are satisfied with our arrangements, our gates and turnstiles have to remain locked,” the chairman said in a statement on the club website.
“I shall be contacting our local MP Tom Tugendhat who has already shown support for getting fans back into stadiums to see if he can help in unlocking this impasse.”
A club statement said: “There was a belief that there would be some news on a plan which would have seen spectators gradually returning to stadiums.
“In fairness to The National League, they are making strong representations to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to allow at the very least pilot events and defined attendances for pre-season friendlies but with no apparent breakthrough as yet.
“Things can of course change very quickly and suffice to say that there should be a sudden change of heart from Government, then we will be ready to play our part in the process in getting supporters back into stadiums in a safe manner.”
Steve McKimm’s side kick-off their Vanarama National League South campaign with a trip to Billericay Town on Tuesday 6 October before hosting Hungerford Town on Saturday 10 October.
However, their first competitive outing will be a FA Cup Second Qualifying Round tie on Saturday 3 October. The competition reaches the Preliminary Round stage this coming Saturday.
Visit Tonbridge Angels’ website: www.tonbridgeangels.co.uk