A bottle of Corona

A theme song for the next few weeks…

So, Covid-19. Not some foreign “Ultras” group or secret code used by DTB members, but something that has now officially buggered things up for a few weeks.

Once certain players and managers were diagnosed with it in the past 48 hours, and with other sporting contests around the world getting cancelled, the EFL and others getting called off was as certain as us failing to score in a game.

Tomorrow at Donny is off, ditto the games against Tranny, Rochdale and Lincoln, and that’s just for starters.

Because of the demise of Bury (RIP), our next fixture is at home to Sunderland on Good Friday, which is just over a month away. That’s assuming that it’s safe to resume playing again, and somehow the predicted peak has neared or passed by then.

Which does cause a problem for places like this – I’m already having to consider doing things I’ve happily put off for a while, like give this place a well-deserved redesign.

Like the proposed semi-permanent stands at NPL, the current design was created in a hurry but has been in use way longer past its intended use-by day.

Assuming I don’t “forget” to do it, that’s in the pipeline. Apart from stuff relating to our new gaff, I’m going to be stuck for material. So you’ll have to make do with this update for now.

I suggest you read all this v-e-r-y slowly. Take your time over a paragraph. Re-read a sentence or two again. Over-analyse why I used a particular word and make a mental note of all the punctuation I haven’t done.

Because it’s not like you’ll have much else to do in the next three weeks.

OK, I expect a few non-league games to get played, so best keep an eye out in case you’re beyond desperate. The Conference and its related regional divisions are playing tomorrow, by the way, although they’ll be called off by about 12pm.

By the time 4th April comes round, the whole world will probably be in some sort of Clockwork Orange-esque dystopia anyway, with random acts of violence from people bored out of their skull.

Not to mention the piles of dead elderly people, the biggest collection of motionless OAPs since the last Dons Trust meeting.

Assuming that we do return just before Easter, you have to wonder what the state of play will be. And there are so many questions that remain unanswered.

Like will the season be extended? It has to be, unless you start getting into the realms of Saturday-Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday. We’ll have dipped out on four games, others may have even more of a backlog.

If it does get elongated, what happens to the (current) last game of the season? That’s due to be played Sunday 3rd May, with a 12pm kickoff. Does that revert to Saturday at 3pm as usual?

I’m sure there’s other questions right now, but these are relatively straightforward to sort out, providing the EFL has any remote degree of common sense.

Yes, I know.

Even if you prolong the campaign into June, and either have a truncated close season or simply move 2020/21 to late August/early September, it’s still do-able. It will mess up more than a few holiday plans, but you’ll cope.

The fun starts if we don’t return on the 4th, especially if it takes longer into April/May to start again. Then what? Play until the middle of July, effectively delaying the next season by at least a month?

Get to that stage, and it’s as likely that some form of ending the season will happen. Nulling and voiding the entire campaign is an option, though we’ll spend six months clearing the fallout from half of Merseyside exploding.

I can’t see that going down well with teams pushing for promotion, so maybe something like teams in auto promotion spots go up, no relegation but extra drop zone places for 2020/21?

And some playoff type tournament for those looking to extend the season? Do what they do for the Conference playoffs, the higher placed team has less fewer fixtures to go through.

Whatever they decide is fine by me. All I’m interested in is a solution where we don’t go down, which avoids having to play games.

From our point of view, this might have come at the right time because Sanders, Wordsworth and possibly Nightingale may be back for the run-in.

I can’t say I’m upset at not being at Doncaster tomorrow, although I was earmarked for the Madejski, because finding a vaccine for Covid-19 is easier than finding anyone in an AFCW shirt who can score goals.

At least we can take stock, and almost literally reboot for the final nine games.

This might have come at the absolute worst time for Tranmere though, because they were on a legitimately impressive roll and would have likely overtaken us at some point this month.

When you’ve got momentum, and suddenly it’s stopped, it’s not always easy to get back into the swing of it again. Especially if/when the season restarts, where going on a mini-winning run can make every difference.

That’s what we’re all hoping for anyway, if the season isn’t truncated early. Yeah, it’s childish, but I’ll take every little advantage there is. Fuck being moral.

I suppose there’s other stuff in the AFCW world to keep us occupied. It would be our luck to see NPL get delayed because of Covid-19, although I’d rather be on an open-air construction site at the moment rather than a stuffy office.

Mind you, if we’re apparently ahead of schedule as it is, and next season gets delayed, then maybe we’ll open 2020/21 back home after all?

There’s no sign of the loan getting announced though, and the continued attempts to market the PLB resemble a deceased horse getting repeatedly flogged.

A new approach to bridge any shortfalls between loan and current monies raised is needed. And for once, we’ve got a little bit of time.

There’s been some suggestions of a debenture for those who want to sit in the new West Stand, and I think that should be a definitely possibility.

As the PLB (and Seedrs) suggests, there is a percentage of people who will willingly pay for it without batting an eyelid, so we should take advantage of that.

Because while trying to get £1m extra for the bond may be a “game changer”, it’s gone into overkill. Most people who are going to invest have done so already, and not very many will be in a position to invest some more.

Outsiders will be harder to reach anyway right now, especially if there’s some uncertainty over finance generally, and good luck trying to do yet another load of mass leafleting with things increasingly getting shut down.

If there is a loan already on offer, providing it’s not prohibitively expensive we would do worse than to finally agree it. We may have more options in seeking a £6m/£7m loan than in getting one for £11m, but I doubt we’re that spoiled for choice right now.

It might be more than we want to pay/service, but it will give a helluva lot more peace of mind. That’s worth a lot, and who knows – it might even generate a bit more consumer confidence and therefore some more investors?

That’s worth thinking about. Especially as we won’t have the games to ruin the weekends.

I hope our players – the ones who don’t get ill – use the time wisely, because they’ll have a nine-game season upon their return to save themselves.

Especially our strikeforce. In lieu of any meaningful action for the next month, perhaps there should be dedicated shooting practice sessions that vetted fans can watch and observe?

With the threat of them being coughed on if they’re as useless in training as they are when playing…