On Saturday evening, after being contacted by a number of clubs, the Northern Premier League (NPL) announced that playing league fixtures on Boxing Day 26th December and New Year’s Day 1st January would now be optional.
I have had long telephone conversations with the Chairmen of Stalybridge Celtic, Rob Gorski, and Buxton, Dave Hopkins, and we all agreed that holding our festive derby games with a limit of 300 home supporters, no social club, no sponsorship packages or other match day income, could only generate losses for our clubs, and that these games would be better postponed until games can be played in more normal conditions with supporters from both sides able to attend.
The board is also conscious that with the new strain of the virus already appearing in the north of the country, there is every likelihood that further lockdowns may well be imposed in the new year, making completion of the season in its current format highly unlikely.
It is therefore with regret that we have taken the decision not to play our games over the festive season, and our home match against Buxton on New Year’s Day has therefore been postponed. Our away match at Stalybridge Celtic on Boxing Day has also been postponed, and Buxton have postponed their Boxing Day fixture against Matlock Town, again with the agreement of both clubs. Most of the other fixtures in our division have also been postponed.
The decision has not been taken lightly, but the Directors are conscious that we are only the current custodians of our wonderful football club with its 135 year history, and it would be irresponsible of us to deliberately lose money in this time of great uncertainty.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has given up their time over the past year to help in running this great club, to thank the players, management team and backroom staff for giving the quality of football enjoyed by us all, and to thank the supporters for following the team home and away, and particularly in supporting our fundraising activities throughout the lockdown periods. You are all very special. I wish you all a happy Christmas.
Steve Hartley, Chairman, on behalf of the Board of Directors of Hyde United