West Midlands League plan a bumper Boxing Day bash

The West Midlands League have scheduled a bumper Boxing Day programme as they bid to get their season back on track.

The second national lockdown has left clubs inactive for a month and seen them take another hit in terms of lost revenue.

The lockdown is set to end on December 2, with the league due to resume on December 12.

Secretary Neil Juggins has finalised a full run of fixtures for the remainder of the season and that includes a rare Boxing Day schedule.

Prior to the lockdown, clubs throughout the league had enjoyed a rise in attendances with fans still banned from attending elite level games.

And the league are hoping that supporters will be allowed back at grassroots level so that clubs can cash in on the festive programme that also sees games on Saturday, January 2.

Two Shropshire derbies catch the eye with AFC Bridgnorth at home to Shawbury on Boxing Day and then welcoming Shifnal on January 2.

“Neil has done all the rearranged fixtures. They have been updated and put out on the FA Full-Time site this week,” said league chair Wendy Juggins.

“We restart on December 12. We said to the clubs that we would give them a week or so to get sorted and a chance to start training because the players have been shut out for a month.

“There might be one or two changes with regard too kick-off times but we have a full programme.

“It’s the first time we have had a full Boxing Day programme for five or six years.

“We always give clubs the option, but obviously the players are not professionals and there are a lot family commitments at that time of the year.

“Boxing Day football used to be fantastic and clubs used to get good gates.

“Fingers crossed fans will be allowed back into grounds once we come out of lockdown.

“We have tried to give them Boxing Day fixtures that will help them generate some money.

“Prior to the latest lockdown and with elite clubs not allowed to welcome fans, a lot of our clubs had seen a rise in attendances.

“I think the biggest fear for clubs has always been playing behind closed doors. They can’t afford that.

“For our clubs, it’s the spectators that keep them alive.

“With no money coming in and with match officials, lights and stuff like that to pay for, it takes all their money.

“We don’t know whether clubhouses will be allowed to open when the lockdown finishes, but even to get people paying to go and watch will help.

“It’s what keeps grassroots football ticking over.”

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