Dolly Blues manager Mark Fell has concerns over letting fans into grounds next season

Lancaster City boss Mark Fell reckons non-league football has the scope in principle to let supporters into stadiums next season – while maintaining social distancing.

Lancaster boss Mark Fell (Photo: Tony North)
Lancaster boss Mark Fell (Photo: Tony North)

But the Dolly Blues manager believes in practical terms, the prospect of keeping fans apart and safe from the risk of contracting Covid-19 may prove difficult.

By and large, grounds outside of the professional leagues tend not to be packed out each week.

Indeed, the Dolly Blues enjoy an average attendance of around 150 to 200 hard-core supporters , and they are easily accommodated by the club’s Giant Axe stadium, which boasts a capacity of more than 3,500.

It is feasible that the club could employ strict social distancing measures during home games when football gets back up and running whenever that may be.

It is something Fell and chairman Stuart Houghton are looking into, although as the City boss pointed out, how feasible that will be only time will tell.

In theory the prospect looks possible, but in reality when a game is going ahead and emotions are running high, will fans be able to keep themselves apart over the 90 minutes.

“Having spoken to Stuart, he is of the view, and I am of the view, that we could socially distance,” said Fell, who is still waiting for clarification from the Northern Premier Leaguie as to whether they believe the new season will kick-off in August .

“We have a big old football ground and we could probably take the same crowds that we had last season and implement social distancing measures.

“We averaged crowds of around 200 – maybe just a bit less last season – and I think you could socially distance the fans quite successfully.

But having said that, if we score a 91st-minute winner in a big game at the Shed End how much social distancing will go on then?

“I would suggest in the heat of the moment there won’t be a lot.

“We have got a responsibility to the supporters to keep them safe.

“So I think it will be very tough practically to have social distancing in place.

“It will be easier in non-league to let the fans in from a space perspective, but a lot harder to police, especially in the heat of the moment.”