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News Archive > Sport > Game Comes Second to Our Safety, Says Gilby

Game Comes Second to Our Safety, Says Gilby

By Tom Howe 15th January 2021

Game Comes Second to Our Safety, Says Gilby
Bodmin Town’s Jordan Trott, (left), and Lee Bevan in the thick of the action - but when will Darren Gilbert’s charges be allowed a return to play

Bodmin Town manager Darren Gilbert has told the Voice ‘there are more important things’ than football, as the country continues its fight against covid-19.

As England returned to lockdown restrictions from January 5, so did grassroots sport up and down the country, with non-elite football amongst the elements under suspension.

When and how the game can continue has been a hot topic since the curtain was brought down once again, with a number of different methods suggested to complete the 2020-21 season and avoid another null-and-void campaign.

However, long-time Bodmin boss ‘Gilby’ has talked down immediate return to action proposals, saying football clubs have a duty of care to keep those involved safe.

“I can see where [they] are coming from,” reflected Gilbert when asked about the potential of South West Peninsula League football returning in March. “At the end of the day, the people at these clubs, especially the likes of our club, as well as Liskeard, Launceston and others I know, have all got people over 70 [years of age].

“Brian (Retallack), Sandra (Retallack), Sheila (Chapman) and Terry (Huddy) are all over 70 and are all vulnerable but we need people like that at the club for the club to run. It is tough for everybody at the moment. I love football. I was born and bred with it but, at this time, there is a lot going on in this country.

“Death rates are going up, infections are going up and football isn’t really important to anybody at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be back on the pitch with the boys and back with my kids doing the football but there are more important things at the moment. The country needs to get back to square one to start with.

“With the club not being open at the moment, we are keeping our heads above water but that is probably just about it. There are no games so no revenue coming in. The club isn’t open so there are no drinks being sold. You hear from the Premiership where some of them are saying they are struggling because they haven’t got television rights and have lost this and lost that. They want to have a look at grassroots football where we have to fund everything ourselves.” Gilbert, himself a former Bodmin captain, added: “The boys have been good. It has been a pleasure this year. We had got it to a point where we were starting to see dividends. The players were playing well.”

“We have probably got a whole new team from the beginning of [2020].

“We feel that we have got things right, with the right blend and characters in the team.

“They are all bouncing off each other. It is disappointing because we were just hitting a bit of form.”

After a reshuffling of the fixtures, Bodmin’s next scheduled game is currently pencilled in for Saturday, March 6 when they visit Kimberley Stadium to take on title-chasing Saltash United.

“If it does all reopen, we will have to cross that bridge when it comes to it,” concluded Gilbert, whose sixth placed side haven’t played together since a 4-0 win at home to Wendron United on Saturday, December 12.

By Tom Howe 15th January 2021

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