Ilford boss admits it's now 'doom and gloom' for a potential return

Ray Lawrence/TGS Photo

Ilford in action against local rivals Woodford Town earlier this season - Credit: Ray Lawrence/TGS Photo

A return to action is starting to look unlikely admits Ilford manager and chairman Adam Peek. 

Recent government announcements regarding extending Tier 4 together with education restrictions, mean that the league has no option but to extend the suspension until the next government review date, as they cannot play within the NLS in Tier 4 due to government directives to the FA. 

“It’s looking more doom and gloom, but it’s a waiting game I guess,” Peek admitted. 

“It’s very difficult because obviously you're basing it on the information that we’re given from the government and it’s very uncertain. 

“Every two weeks we review and then you kind of assess where you are, but I can’t see us coming out of this in January at all. I can’t see there being any football being allowed to be played until at least mid February. 

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“I think that’s even being a little bit optimistic. It’s unfortunate as we just don’t know, but the later the decisions are made the harder it will be for the season to commence. 

“You’ve got to look at different clubs, especially in our league. If they ground-share or share with cricket or athletics like we do then they don’t have their pitches after early May. 

Ray Lawrence/TGS Photo

Ilford in action against local rivals Woodford Town earlier this season - Credit: Ray Lawrence/TGS Photo

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“We’ve got 23 games to play and if you go into February and March, how do you get those games done in the space of eight to 10 weeks? You’re asking for three games a week. 

“I, for one, certainly would not be encouraging or voting for a league resuming based on three games a week.” 

Peek is, however, confident that his club will survive through the pandemic. 

“It’s not easy from any club’s point of view. I think I said to you before the club is more financially stable now than it’s been for years. 

“Had it been this time last year then the club wouldn’t have survived - certainly not. But the stuff we did in terms of getting the club stable will see us through, and will do until the end of this season and next season. 

“A lot of our money is tied up in commitments to the youth set-up and obviously if those can’t be fulfilled then potentially there’ll be some money we need to give back or reduce off next season’s fees which will then affect us next season. 

“It's slightly different with the youth set-up as it can continue, up to under-18s, but the league they play in - the EJA - have made the decision that while we’re in Tier 4 at the moment they don’t feel it’s appropriate to be playing."

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