Past 12 months have been tough for footballers in non-league

Chorley star Lewis Baines revealed players of his ilk have had to deal with an uncertain time over the past 12 months.

By Craig Salmon
Monday, 10th May 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 7:38 am

The 22-year-old defender has known nothing else but being a professional footballer since the age of 16.

A trainee at Fleetwood Town, Baines went on to sign professional terms with the Cod Army at the age of 18.

In the four years since, he has enjoyed a number of temporary spells at different clubs, including Bamber Bridge, before arriving at Victory Park on loan during the 2018/19 season.

Chorley defender Lewis Baines (photo: Stefan Willoughby)

He went on to make the move to the Magpies permanent in 2019 and has agreed another deal to remain at the club next season.

But the uncertainty surrounding the profession at the top level of non-league over the past year has meant Baines has looked for a way of making money outside of playing. Chorley’s past two seasons have been curtailed prematurely and clubs at that level have been forced to cut their cloth accordingly.

Baines has taken up a coaching role for a company in recent months to help supplement his income and is also studying to become a personal trainer. “I don’t feel sorry for myself,” he said. “I do feel sorry for other players who are in my position.

“The past two seasons have been sort of put on hold because of the Covid situation and the money situation with clubs.

“Clubs at our level have not got a lot of money at the moment to pay players and I know many players who are around my age and have been in the Football League – they have nothing at the moment.

“So hopefully we can get fans back in and we can play a full season in 2021/22.

“I am enjoying doing the coaching. It gives me something to do and keeps the mind ticking over rather than just being sat at home with nothing to do or at the gym all the time.”

Meanwhile, Chorley’s Under-19s have moved through to the quarter-finals of the Under-21s North West Development League. The young Magpies produced a clinical display on Sunday to overpower Poynton JFC away from home, winning 5-0.

Chorley did not have everything all their own way and only led 1-0 at the interval courtesy of Josh Stansfield.

Lewis Boyd made it 2-0 after half-time and an own goal put the tie beyond the hosts. Stansfield got his second and the scoring was completed by Joe Bowles.

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