Magpies are feeling the financial strain left by the effects of the deadly coronavirus

Chorley are struggling financially under the catastrophic effects of the deadly coronavirus – that is the stark message from chairman Ken Wright.

Thursday, 19th March 2020, 1:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th March 2020, 1:42 pm
Chorley chairman Ken Wright

The Magpies joint-owner revealed that nobody connected to the club had, up to now, been diagnosed with the illness.

This despite the club’s National League game away at Bromley last weekend being called off after a member of staff displayed symptoms of the disease on the coach journey to the game.

Chorley’s game was one of several to be postponed in the division due to concerns with regards to the disease, although six fixtures went ahead.

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On Monday, the league’s Board took the decision to step in line with the Premier League and the EFL and suspend the season until April 3.

The likelihood, due to the severity of the virus, is that there will be an indefinite period – stretching beyond the next few weeks – where no football will be played.

Without the revenue stream of gate receipts, Chorley – like the vast majority of other non-league clubs – will struggle to make ends meet with players’ wages to pay and bills to meet.

And Wright admitted the club, like many other businesses in all walks of life, is facing an uncertain time.

“We are like everybody else – we’re struggling,” said Wright. “To be perfectly honest, these circumstances are something which we are struggling to come to terms with as a football club.

“We have shut down the club, it’s not open.

“We’ve no income so you don’t need to be a brain surgeon to work out that we have got issues and problems.

“There are no games being played so inevitably there is going to be a knock-on effect from that financially.

“We will try to cope with it and deal with it like we always do, and hope that the situation with regards to this virus is resolved sooner rather than later.

“What’s happening at the moment is a circumstance which we in this country have not experienced before, certainly in my lifetime.

“I hope the medical people can find an innoculation which they can give to people which will resolve this.”

With a number of players contracted, Wright revealed the club is committed to honouring those deals, but if the money runs out then they face a predicament.

He is hopeful that non-league clubs could get a helping hand through this period perhaps from the Premier League, the EFL or the Government.

“We will have to keep paying the contracted players as long as the money is there,” he said. “The money will run out and like most non-league clubs, we are always on a hand-to-mouth existence.

“We are always on a tightrope. When you have no income, how are you expected to pay staff?

“It always is a struggle financially when you are a non-league club.

“During my tenure as chairman, there might have been a few occasions when we have had to pay the players late, but we have never not been able to meet the wages, but we are in a situation now where we can’t meet the wages because there is no income.

“We will have to see whether any monies are made available from whatever direction and if there are then that could change the situation.”

Wright admits he is flummoxed as to what will happen next with regards to this season.

The Magpies are currently bottom of the table and are staring relegation in the face.

“I think the season will inevitably be suspended past April 3,” he said.

“I have no idea what is going to happen if I’m honest.

“We are obviosuly bottom of the table, if the season gets cancelled will we still get relegated?

“Will teams be getting promoted?

“A lot of people are speculating about this, that and the other but until we know what is going to happen, we can’t respond and make plans.”