The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Post­pon­ing cam­paign not an op­tion – John­ston

- Sports · Soccer · Peterhead · League One · Scottish Professional Football League · Plan B · Partick Thistle F.C. · Falkirk F.C.

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.”

 ??  ?? Not back­ing down: Martin John­ston
Not back­ing down: Martin John­ston

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