AFC Mansfield chairman believes footbal may get the reality check it needs next season

AFC Mansfield chairman Andy Saunders believes football may get the ‘reality check’ it needs next season.

Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 3:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 3:03 pm
AFC Mansfield chairman Andy Saunders says football may get a reality check next season.

Clubs across the lower levels of the professional game and the non-league pyramid are likely to find cash hard to come by as the economy seeks to recover from COVID-19.

But Saunders believes a reduction in the recent spending-surge across the game may not be a bad thing.

“It will be interesting to see what clubs do this year,” he said. “The money that will be spent in football in general will be less than what has been spent in the last few years, mainly because sponsorship may be significantly down.

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“It might be a bit of a reality check for football in general to see where we are.

“A lot of money has been spent over the last few years and it might be a reality check football has needed from League One down to step seven.”

And Saunders, who helped form the Bulls back in 2012, knows securing the backing of the local business community and fans is key to ensuring stability across the non-league game.

He added: “Lots of companies are coming out of lockdown, but what position are they going to be in? We all rely on the local butcher, baker and the candlestick maker to give sponsorship.

“You would like to think the sponsors we had last season will be back on board. Our main shirt sponsors are back on board.

“We will be speaking to all our sponsors from last season to see if they are back on board as it is a better time to speak to them now that we are emerging out of lockdown.

Work has been going on at the Forest Town Arena to ensure the ground is ready to go when football finally returns.

But that in itself brings difficulties to an already stretched team of volunteers.

“We have had to mark the dressing rooms out so players are 1m apart,” explained Saunders. “There are additional costs such as paying for thermometers to check the players’ temperature when they turn up and purchasing sanitisers.

“A lot of people that tend to volunteer at our level of football are older people, some of who may be in the risk area.It is not easy.”