Kettering Town and Brackley Town join forces with clubs to request grants and not loans to keep the season going

David Mahoney and Francis Oliver have put their names to the statement released today (Tuesday)
Kettering Town chairman David MahoneyKettering Town chairman David Mahoney
Kettering Town chairman David Mahoney

Kettering Town chairman David Mahoney and Brackley Town chairman Francis Oliver are two of 12 Vanarama National League North club bosses to have signed a letter to ensure any further financial support is in the form of grants and not loans.

An initial package of £10m in grants was agreed to cover the first three months of the National League season after the campaign got under way behind closed doors.

Although some clubs were able to have fans back in grounds briefly, all matches are now being played in empty stadia due to the rise in Covid-19 infections across the UK in recent weeks.

Brackley Town chairman Francis OliverBrackley Town chairman Francis Oliver
Brackley Town chairman Francis Oliver

And, with speculation being that any further financial support for National League clubs may come in the form of loans, a dozen National League North chairman have now penned a statement directed at Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden MP.

The statement reads: "When National League clubs agreed in October to start the season playing behind closed doors, this decision was based on reassurances that grants would be provided to compensate for essential revenue lost from fans not returning on October 1.

"Had these assurances not been provided then many clubs at our level may have taken the decision not to commence the season.

"Matchday revenue from supporters attending games and its associated income streams are the lifeblood for our clubs.

"We are grateful to the Government, The FA, and the National Lottery for recognising this and the roles our clubs play in their communities. We thank them for the grant support we have received to date.

"The initial package of £10m was to cover the first three months of the season with the clear understanding that grants would continue until it was safe for crowds to return. There was absolutely no mention of loans at that time.

"As clubs we have worked diligently to comply with elite sport protocols and ensure a prudent approach to financial management based upon the reassurances given in October.

"We the undersigned clubs therefore call on the Secretary of State Oliver Dowden, the Department of Culture, Media & Sport and the FA not to betray the trust National League clubs placed in them by agreeing to commence the season and to ensure the additional £11m in support is in the form of grants not loans."

Joining Mahoney and Oliver in signing the statement are: Wayne Bradley (Alfreton Town), Anthony Platten (Blyth Spartans), Martin Knight (Bradford Park Avenue), Andrew Morris (Chester), David Johnston (Darlington), Joshua Greaves (Farsley Celtic), Alex Petheram (Gloucester City), Neil Male (Kidderminster Harriers), Ian Kyle (Southport) and Tony Wilson (Spennymoor Town).