Town assistant boss on the suspension of the season, coronavirus and all things Southern Road

PUBLISHED: 12:52 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:52 19 March 2020

Exmouth Town players celebrate one of their seven goals in the win over Chipping Sodbury Town. Picture: ROB CHIDGEY

Exmouth Town players celebrate one of their seven goals in the win over Chipping Sodbury Town. Picture: ROB CHIDGEY

Archant

Exmouth Town’s superb season looks set to be consigned to the history books as ‘null and void’ after the Fooball Association announced on Monday evening that it was suspending all grassroots football with immediate effect.

Town assistant manager Andy Rawlings summed up the general mood at Southern Road when he said: “This crisis that the cornonavirus has brought to our door is far, far bigger than football.

“In terms of our season, if it were to be deemed ‘null and void’ then of course we’d all be very disappointed.

“Yes, we are having a great season and, as things stand, we are very much part of the mix with regard to the race for the title.

“However, as I have already said, we have to live with the times and if the decision is made to end our season then we have to respect that and make sure we are ready for whenever we can get things underway again.”

Last Saturday the Town number two and team boss Kevin Hill were both amongst a near 150 crowd that took in the Town third team game.

Rawlings said: “I think the turnout showed just what we have got going at Southern Road and there’s clearly a growing passion for the club within the local community and the wider beyond.”

He continued: “The third team bagged a handsome win and played some good football, but, for me, the ‘bigger picture’ was the turnout and such numbers being present underlined what football means to people and, over the coming weeks and months an awful lot of people are going to miss their football - but, again, it is very much the case that what we are all living through and going to live through for the foreseeable is so much bigger than a sport we all love and, for now, it’s all about staying safe, listening to the advice and instruction we get from higher up and doing as much as we can to help others.”

Back to football and the Town number two said: “On a happier subject - football - and taking into account that at some stage normal service will be resumed, we, at Exmouth Town, are determined that this season’s efforts will not be forgotten and we will use them to continue on an upward curve when we do get the go ahead to start again.

“I cannot give you names, but I can say that Kev (Town boss Kevin Hill) and I are already looking at next season and what sort of additions would benefit the squad and give us the best chance of taking this club further. When you take into account how well we have done so far this season it underlines that we are close in terms of the squad we have.

“With the exception of Bradford Town, who we have not played home or away, we have gone toe-to-toe with everyone else and that has been helpful to us in management terms with regard to what we think we need in terms of improving the squad - and the team.”

Rawlings also lamented the suspending of all grass roots football when he said: “Clearly, the need to bring all football to a halt is going to impact significantly on the younsters and, at Town, from Under-8s up, we have been able, so far this season, to offer football to the masses and I know the youngsters are, like us all, going to really miss the interaction they get from being part of a team.

“Hopefully it will not be too long before they can get back to playing - June and July, while very much the usual close season for football, is when the junor tournaments all take place, but even they must be under threat as things stand.”

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