The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Postponing campaign not an option – Johnston
Peterhead general manager Martin Johnston insists putting next season’s League 1 campaign into cold storage for a year is a non-starter for his club.
Clubs in Leagues 1 and 2 are due to meet today to discuss plans for starting the new season with a full season in August, a 27game season beginning in October or an 18game season getting under way in December among the options up for discussion.
But a the option of postponing the entire campaign is also being considered and Johnston says that is one which his club simply cannot entertain.
He said: “Hibernation would be absolutely disastrous for Peterhead and many clubs in my opinion. We can’t mothball people’s jobs.
“We’ve been fortunate to have a safety net from the government but it is changing month to month.
“We need to have football in Peterhead and mothballing is absolutely not a consideration as far as we’re concerned.
“We’ve been asked to decide what we prefer, coming back in August, October or December, but we don’t know what we are coming back to.
“We don’t have a crystal ball in Peterhead.
“We’re optimistic in that we think possibly football will be back sooner rather than later. A 36-match season is out of the question.
“We’ve spoken about a 27-match season at the last meeting.”
Johnston believes an alternative strategy in the event of a second wave of the coronavirus sweeping the country should also be discussed.
He said: “I know (SPFL company secretary) Iain Blair has a really difficult job but at Peterhead our preference, given the circumstances as they are, is to start some time in October with a 27-game season but we need a Plan B.
“We need an alternative up our sleeves should there be a further delay.
“There hasn’t been great debate about hubs. For example, we could use Pittodrie, as it’s on our doorstep, I’m sure we could facilitate our average home crowd of 700 easily within the South Stand.
“We have a situation where it’s looking like we will have Partick Thistle and Falkirk in League 1 and they could probably accommodate a closeddoors match and stream matches next week.
“Closed doors at Peterhead is not a possibility financially.”