Aldershot News & Mail : 2020-08-19

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NEWS&MAIL Azeem: we are doing a lot of hard work behind the scenes Aldershot chairman Shahid Azeem reckons the club is doing everything it can to create a safe environmen­t to watch football GRAHAME LARTER, WK200347 SHOTS CHAIRMAN SAYS CLUB PREPARING AS BEST IT CAN FROM PLAYER CONTRACTS TO GETTING STADIUM READY ciation, and they asked 7,000 people of all different demographi­cs what they thought. “Bearing in mind Covid has started to slow, even though a month ago it was still very much on the agenda, around 70% to 80% of those people said as soon as football starts they will come back. “All we can do is take all the precaution­s, but the fact is until there is a vaccine nobody is really going to feel comfortabl­e. “However, there are people in the shops, they are out eating. I’m of the opinion that if I’m going to die I might as well enjoy myself doing it. That’s not everyone’s view, I accept that. “So as long as we can do everything we can to make it a safe environmen­t to watch football, that’s all we can do. “It will be different. This period has been a re-set for everybody and people now want to get out and about. It will be a different format but it will be enjoyable and it will be good when we can see supporters back again. “Football is about crowds and the atmosphere.” Sprucing up the EBB Stadium has been high on the agenda recently and he added: “In the last few weeks we’ve started working on the ground and we have had volunteers in to help the upgrade, painting and so forth. “There has been a lot going on behind the scenes, working on social distancing and working on different scenarios. “We are looking at all the processes that are evolving all the time and working with the safety advisory group and emergency services. “This week we are starting a pitch renovation. It’s not a major job as it’s been kept in great condition and we haven’t played on it since March 4. There hasn’t been the normal wear and tear so it’s not a major renovation, but there are areas that need attending to. “We have a new kit coming too. We are trying to manage things to keep the club going.” An online petition to ‘let fans in’ has gained traction in the past week or so and Azeem, the High Sheriff of Surrey for 2020/21, reflected: “There’s a survey run by the federation of supporters asso- “The majority of our staff are on furlough but we will be bringing people back soon. We just have to make the most of the options available from the government and grants to make it work.” Boss Danny Searle is biding his time over signings, especially as the new season is still seven weeks away and Azeem commented: “We are looking at the players available and we think there will be a lot more as we get nearer to the start. There are going to be players released by Football League clubs, with others cutting budgets and having smaller squads. At the moment we aren’t chasing players. They are coming to us, some who aren’t represente­d by agents and those with agents. “We are working to a different model. We are thinking if we wait there will be more players available for a better price. We are not going out there to panic buy. “Revenue is going to be down and we are looking at a reduction in commercial income, possibly between 30% and 40%. That’s not just for us, that’s across the board with other clubs. So we have to be careful.” By CLIVE YOULTON SurreySptC­live SHAHID AZEEM has revealed the measures in place at Aldershot Town to protect the club financiall­y and said, “the players on new contracts won’t be paid until one month before the season starts”. The indefatiga­ble Shots chairman said the club have been “doing a lot of hard work behind the scenes” to get ready for the new National League campaign and that contingenc­ies are in place in terms of player wages should there be a delay to the season, or it is suspended because of a further spike in Covid-19 cases. “At the moment we are all geared to October 3 and hope that’s when we can start,” said Azeem. “The players will be paid from September 3. We have those new contracts in place for players and in the majority of them there is a clause which says that should the government, or authoritie­s, or Football League decide to suspend the season, then payment to the players will be suspended too. Published by Reach Southern Media Ltd, at Stoke Mill, Woking Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 1QA. Registered at the Post Office as a newspaper. Printed at Reach Printing Services (Watford) Ltd, St Albans Road, Watford, Hertfordsh­ire, WD24 7RG PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­ +1 604 278 4604 . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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