Rebuilding starts at Brackley despite 'the unknown'

Work is due to start on the building of Brackley Town’s new clubhouse this week - a year on from the devastating fire that resulted in the previous one being destroyed.

Thursday, 11th June 2020, 7:34 am
Updated Thursday, 11th June 2020, 7:36 am
Brackley Town's clubhouse was devastated by a fire a year ago

Saints chairman Francis Oliver confirmed work will be getting under way with the hope being that the new clubhouse will be ready to be opened in December.

Oliver also revealed a new stand is due to be installed at St James Park to help bring the ground up to National League standard.

But, despite the positivity, Oliver admitted quite what happens once the gates of the ground and the doors of the new clubhouse are opened again remains “the unknown”.

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Brackley chairman Francis Oliver

Football clubs have remained closed since the outbreak of Covid-19 and it remains unclear as to when non-League matches will start again.

In their latest update to their 68 clubs, the National League confirmed that August 8 remains the official start date for the 2020-21 season but that it will ‘inevitably need to be reviewed and updated’.

They also said ‘it is assumed that it is not practical and sustainable to commence the new season if matches are to be played behind closed doors’.

And Oliver said: “My personal view is I think it will be September at the earliest but, for all I know, it might even be January.

“But nothing can be done until decisions are made about crowds and whether they limit them or not. It may be that there is a limit of 500 or 1,000 people to be allowed into the grounds.

“At Brackley, our average crowds are around 500 so we would have no problem with social distancing but if you’re a York or a Chester where crowds are 2,000 and more then it might be a bit different.

“I just don’t know how you sort it out. You can only look at each club’s individual circumstances. It’s a very difficult one.

“We are concentrating on getting the clubhouse rebuilt which will start this week. We are hoping that by December it will be up and running.

“But then you have the other side of the coin. You hire your clubhouse out for parties and are people going to have parties after recent events?

“There’s so much that is unknown and it is difficult for clubs at our level.

“We are lucky financially because we got to Wembley in the FA Trophy recently and we get decent crowds.

“We are having another stand installed and that will be the final piece in the jigsaw as far as capital expenditure for the ground is concerned.

“You’ll always have your maintenance but we will have a ground that is fit for the National League aside from a few bits and bobs.

“That side of things will be sorted but what actually happens income wise from clubhouse use and crowds at games is the unknown.

“We can’t wait to get a clubhouse up and running but we don’t know what will happen when we open the doors."