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Interviews

O'NEILL | MASSIVE CHALLENGES, WORRYING TIMES

11 June 2020

"There are no other revenue streams coming in. Is that a worry? Of course it is"

Lee O’Neill says the uncertainty over the future of the game is providing massive and worrying challenges with Town trying to plan for a number of scenarios for next season.

The Covid-19 pandemic halted the 2019/20 term in March and while Town wanted to conclude the campaign, a vote by League One clubs this week saw an unweighted points per game formula adopted to determine final league placings, with Blues in 11th.

Town’s general manager of football operations acknowledges that isn’t good enough and that Blues only have themselves to blame but the wider ramifications of the pandemic that will see games resume behind closed doors in the Premier League and Championship is a major concern.

There is even talk that some League One and League Two clubs won’t be in a position to start the new season until supporters are allowed to attend because of the financial implications.

“It’s very uncertain times for us and for every other club, especially those outside the Premier League,” Lee told the Club website.

“It’s incredibly difficult to plan for next season when we don’t know what it’s going to look like. When will the season start? When will it be safe for players to be back in training? Is the testing procedure still going to be in place to test all players and staff? When will fans be allowed back? How many fans will be allowed back? How will all that affect budgets?

“There are a lot of questions to be answered, a lot of clarity needed and until we get more information, it’s almost impossible to put concrete plans in place.

“We have had great support from fans renewing season tickets for next year but there are no other revenue streams coming in and if games are played behind closed doors next season, there won’t be. Is that a worry? Of course it is. It has to be.     

“We are putting plans together as much as we can to cope with different scenarios but as I said, it’s very difficult because of the uncertainty.

“The challenge on the pitch will be the same, to have a squad capable of winning promotion.

“There has been and will be a lot of reflecting on what went wrong because to finish 11th clearly isn’t good enough.

“We felt that if the season resumed, with key players coming back from injury and five home games, the top six was within reach but we only have ourselves to blame.

“We were in a good position at the end of January but our form over the last two months wasn’t what we would have hoped for or expected and that has cost us.

“We have to look at what we can improve on and use the hurt of now to spur us on to win promotion next season.”


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