Ramsbottom United’s two festive fixtures, against Mossley away on Boxing Day, and at home to Trafford on New Year’s Day, have both been postponed.
Whilst the Pitching In Northern Premier League have allowed clubs to play should they mutually agree to do so, the restrictions imposed have made playing for the Rams untenable.
Clubs at our level (non-league four) would only be allowed a maximum of 200 spectators, with no away fans present.
As such, loyal Rammy supporters who follow the team home and away, would be barred from making the short journey to Mossley for a game that would otherwise have attracted a crowd well in excess of 500.
Likewise, Ramsbottom United would have been looking forward to welcoming a similar attendance against Trafford.
To have sanctioned playing would have resulted in the club having to deny many potential supporters the opportunity to attend, and the decision to postpone has been made to ensure that the club does not offend any supporters by refusing them entry.
Similarly, Ramsbottom United fully supports Mossley’s decision which would have proved unfair on our supporters, as well as seeing the team play without encouragement from the terraces.
Many other teams in the league have made a similar stance, with the hope that these restrictions will be eased in the coming weeks, allowing a return to a sensible limit being imposed rather than the current one.
As the immediate future looks rather bleak with regards to potential further lockdowns, the financial implications of playing with such reduced numbers has also been a factor for most clubs, and it is interesting to note that the other two leagues in this country (Southern and Isthmian) have both issued a blanket postponement of games over the festive period.
Without a crystal ball, it is impossible to foresee when we will return to action, but the hope is that as we enter the new year, signs of a return to some sort of normality will prove sufficient to restart the campaign with full approval to welcome back supporters in more sensible numbers.
In the meantime, the club wishes everyone a merry Christmas and what surely must be a happier New Year.