Exmouth Town number two: “We are itching to get back - but might have to play the long game!”

PUBLISHED: 07:10 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 07:10 27 May 2020

The Exmouth Town flag that can be seen at home and away games. Picture MARTIN COOK

The Exmouth Town flag that can be seen at home and away games. Picture MARTIN COOK

Archant

Exmouth Town assistant manager Andy Rawlings is in awe of the amount of work being carried out at Southern Road by an ever-increasing number of Town supporters.

He said: “It is heart warming and so up-lifting to see the amount of work that is being done. Kev [Town boss Kevin Hill] is right at the heart of it all too and it’s a fact that his enthusiasm is so infectious and his actions underline just why he so highly respected in and out of the game.”

The Town number two continued: “Kev and I are in regular contact over the phone and he is always keen to tell me his latest ‘project’ at the ground! Indeed, we speak about progress off the pitch before we talk about players and plans etc.

“But that, in itself, underlines this current situation with football in as much as no one knows when we will return to anything like ‘the norm’ we all used to accept as being ‘how things were done’.

“I think there is little doubt that when we do get our game back it will, at least for some time, be nothing as it was previously. Personally, I hope we are back playing this year, but as I have already said - who really can tell!”

Rawlings had encouraging news for Town followers on the playing front when he said: “Of course, fans will be keen to hear of player retention and any strengthening.

I am very certain that the make-up of football will be different - for a time - in as much as I think it’s the clubs who offer that little bit extra, who will benefit in any post Coronavirus football world and I don’t mean that in financial terms. I think money may well much tighter than it might have been and so the clubs who will prosper may well turn out to be the ones who are really looking after their players and, when you see the togetherness at Southern Road, its easy to feel that Town will be just one such case.

“The place (Town’s Southern Road home) is looking immaculate; it certainly makes you proud to belong to such a club where so much is being done by so many.”

He continued: “In terms of our current players, the only one we have lost from last season’s squad is ‘Avers’ (Steve Avery), but that’s only because he’s so keen to be playing on a more regular basis and was very keen, on leaving, that we retain his signature so that if we do need him, he will still be able to help out as and when.

“Of course, we’d like to add additional quality to the squad, but that sort of thing will have to wait until we do get a green light to get back into some form of action as I don’t doubt there’s going to be a run of players at other clubs who might well be looking at their options.”

He added: “I’d also like to think that there may be players who think along the lines of ‘Town has been there for me over the past few seasons and now it’s my turn to be there for them.’

Rawlings then donned his ‘commercial hat’ when he said: “One thing I do feel very passionately about is that, when we do all get clear of this pandemic situation there’s going to be a level of struggle in business terms and I feel it’ll be so valuable to us going forward to look to work with the local business community and by that I mean I don’t see us beating on door after door asking for sponsorships etc. It’ll be more of a two-way partnership where, perhaps, we as a club might be able to help that local business that is struggling in a post Coronavirus world.

Finally, he returned to then ‘when football might return’ question saying: “I think there’s little doubt that we are all seriously missing the game we love now. Yes, it is a fact that some things in life are more important than football, but I also believe that our sport does play a huge part in people’s mental health and general well-being and so the sooner we can get some semblance of normality back , the better it will be for us all.”


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