Reassurances over Enfield Town’s future

Tottenham Hotspur grounds staff were sent to assist with pitch maintenance at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur grounds staff were sent to assist with pitch maintenance at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium in Donkey Lane, home of Enfield Town FC (credit Tottenham Hotspur FC)

Andrew Warshaw reports from an Enfield Town FC fans’ forum held via Zoom

There may be no football at Queen Elizabeth II Stadium until at least the autumn, but Enfield Town is doing its utmost to keep communication channels open with fans.

Early in May, instead of the usual player of the year awards ceremony, a Zoom chat was held with members to look back at the season and plan for the next, whenever that might be.

Muhammadu (‘Mo’) Faal, who realised a lifelong dream of playing professional football when he moved up four leagues to join Bolton Wanderers in January, was named player of the year by fans after scoring a remarkable 24 goals in 25 games for the Towners. Scott Thomas was named players’ player and manager’s player of the year after a string of influential displays in defensive midfield.

Enfield chairman Paul Reed admitted to members that at the time the season was declared null and void: “Things were pretty desperate – I don’t think we can dress it up any other way.”

But, he made clear, it was exactly the same for all clubs at Enfield Town’s level, where gate receipts are all-important and where the Covid-19 crisis has had a catastrophic effect. The good news is that, thanks to a business grant and rate relief, together with one or two vital cost-cutting measures, the club will not only survive but will be ready to go again whenever non-league football is given the go ahead to start the 2020/21 season.

Despite the coronavirus, the board are meeting every two weeks online. Paul says there are “many unknowns” such as how the club deals with social distancing in the dressing rooms and the bar. However, what we do know is that manager Andy Leese will be in charge again, and he and captain Marc Weatherstone both believe the club have unfinished business after ending the curtailed season in seventh spot just outside the play-off positions.

The plan is to keep the core of the squad together and try and make one or two additions. “All of us managers are in the same boat,” says Andy. “No-one knows when we can even start pre-season but I’d like to think we can push on again. There’s a real togetherness and that brings resilience.”

Marc, one of Town’s two contracted players, said there is little wrong in terms of spirit and that all that was needed were one or tweaks. “There were games where we picked up points that we might not have done in previous seasons,” said Weathers, as he is known.

“The dressing room is strong. People like Scott Thomas, for instance. I know Mo got the fans’ vote for player of the year and he’s a great striker, one of the best the club’s ever had. But for me, no-one touched Scott in terms of reading the game, probably the best defensive midfielder I’ve ever played with.”

Meanwhile, with its own state-of-the-art training ground just around the corner, Tottenham Hotspur has lent a helping hand in terms of pitch maintenance at QE2 Stadium. Spurs were able to bring over their high-tech pitch care equipment, and the work carried out involved aerating and top dressing the goal areas, followed by an over-seeding and watering of the surface to give the grass the best possible chance of survival during the summer months.

Town director Christine Hamilton said: “A big thank you to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club for their help with our pitch during these difficult times.”