Bridlington Town manager Brett Agnew hopes the Non League Football season is not halted in the coming weeks.
The game is facing an oncoming storm with the Government introducing the new three tier lockdown system as hospital admissions rise because of Covid-19. The North West Counties League is almost unable to operate and the Toolstation NCEL is under threat due to the restrictions placed on parts of Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
Agnew is praying football is given permission to keep playing and he admits he has throughly enjoyed managing again after the lockdown.
“I’m trying not to think it about it (potential disruption),” Agnew told Non League Yorkshire.
“I don’t want to go back to how it was a few months ago because I think there’ll be a lot of unhappy people and a lot of mental health issues if the football gets stops.
“For me it is my only release. I’m not one who does other things (outside of work) because I’ve got three kids and there’s also a lot of places you can’t go to now. I kind of struggled when it was the lockdown. I don’t want to think about it (the season being halted), but it is in the back of your mind because the Government are on the television all the time.
“The last two months have been great and you can see elderly people at the games looking really happy at getting out of the house.
“People are happy to get and out about for some fresh air and to watch the football. It has been great to see people again and also great to see some fresh faces. There’s been a lot of fresh faces at a lot of the games. I just hope it continues because it is good for people.”
Agnew’s Bridlington are sixth in the NCEL Premier Division table after winning four and losing two of their opening six games.
Brid host old foes Athersley Rec tomorrow and Agnew is pleased as his side bid to secure a third consecutive victory.
“I spoke to the lads after the Yorkshire Amateur game and I said we now need to go on a run, a five or six game unbeaten run to level it out (at the top),” he said.
“There’s a few teams who have had a fantastic start. Garforth have had an excellent start, so have Liversedge, Grimsby and Mansfield.
“We need to look after ourselves. I’m relatively happy with the start. In years gone by Bridlington haven’t had a great start and that’s probably hindered them.
“Losing two out of six is not bad, especially when you’re playing one of the favourites for the league in one of them. We’re happy with where we are and we’re working on things at every training session and looking at strengthening game-by-game and that’s by the lads playing with each other because we have a relatively new side. There’s seven or eight players who haven’t played together before.
“I’d say the best performance was the opening game against Grimsby Borough. They are a good side and they’ve hammered a few teams recently.
“I think the only disappointment was the Knaresborough game and that’s the only game in which we have played poorly. Getting beat by Yorkshire Amateur is not unheard of because they have a really good side this year. It was just the manner which was disappointing. We could have taken the lead in that game and it would have been a different game.
“Some of the performances, we could have really put teams to the sword and scored more goals. That is probably the only bugbear. But we’ve won four out of six and we’re up and around the top so it hasn’t been a bad start.”
Brid’s last two games – the victories over Handsworth and Barton Town – have seen former Penistone Church striker Nathan Keightley appear for them.
The forward recently joined Brid from Goole AFC and Agnew agrees that he is a great addition.
“I was surprised Nathan messaged me because I thought he would have gone somewhere closer to home,” he said.
“He’s been and around the top of the goal-scorers chart for a few years and he’s obviously very quick and direct and that’s exactly what we need.
“At the moment it is taking him a little bit of time to adjust to the way we play and get used to myself, Bows (assistant Anthony Bowsley) and Lamps (Joe Lamplough).
“When someone of his calibre comes along you’d be stupid not to at least give him a go and I wouldn’t be doing my job right if I didn’t.
“It was a must that I went for him. He’s been brilliant and he’s told me that he wants to be challenging for titles and that’s he always enjoyed playing at Brid’s ground over the years (for Penistone).”
If you have enjoyed reading Non League Yorkshire over the past few months, please consider making a donation to the not-for-profit organisation NLY Community Sport which provides sport for children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. CLICK HERE to visit the JustGiving page. There is a video at the bottom of the page showing our work.
NLY Community Sport, run by James Grayson and Connor Rollinson, has always had combatting social isolation at the top of our objectives when running our Disability Football teams. As we slowly return to ‘action’, our work will play an important role in reintroducing our players, who have disabilities and learning difficulties, back into society.
We have six teams, a mixture of Junior and Adult teams – Nostell MW DFC, Pontefract Pirates, Selby Disability Football Club and the South Yorkshire Superheroes (Barnsley) – across Yorkshire.
We have enjoyed great success over the past three years. Several of our players have represented Mencap GB in Geneva, including Billy Hobson from Selby and Greg Smith, whose story is quite inspiring.
Like most organisations, we have been affected financially by the Coronavirus and because of the cancelled Lucille Rollinson Memorial Tournament, we are down on projected income for the year and we have incurred losses in the last few months.
We have not been hit as badly as other organisations, but we do need raise £2000 to put us back at the level we were at in mid-March and enable us to make a difference once again to our players’ lives in the future, without having financial worries. Several of our players are suffering from effects of the lockdown and we are determined to be in the strongest position possible to provide services for them.
Any amount raised above £2000 will be put towards new projects (when the world returns to normal) designed to further benefit people with disabilities and learning difficulties. You can learn more about the organisation HERE and on our Facebook page.
Watch the video below to see highlights from our three years as an organisation. The video was produced for our players at the end of March to remind them of good memories from the last three years.