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Pinchbeck United want to see supporters allowed back into non-league grounds

Pinchbeck United boss Lewis Thorogood has called for the football governing body and sporting authorities to have a ‘really hard look at themselves’ over the issue of fans being allowed back into stadiums.

Although games on public land are now allowed spectators from this week in groups of no more than six or two households, staged events – such as those organised by the United Counties League club – must be played behind closed doors.

Pinchbeck had been hoping to allow fans back to the Sir Halley Stewart ground this week but could now have to wait until May 17 – stage three of the Government’s roadmap – to open their gates again.

Knights boss Lewis Thorogood. Photo: Chris Lowndes (46110151)
Knights boss Lewis Thorogood. Photo: Chris Lowndes (46110151)

They played their opening match of the Kingfisher Lighting United Counties League Cup campaign behind closed doors on Saturday and tonight’s friendly with near neighbours Wisbech Town will also be held without supporters.

Thorogood said: “We had hoped that we would be allowed a limited amount of supporters after April 12.

“We are in an environment where the chances of getting the infection are limited and zero if you have the right measures in place.

“They were happy for us to have supporters in the grounds when the infection rates were higher back in October but they are now not happy to allow it when the infection rates are the lowest they have been.

“It is a joke and the Football Association and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport need to have a really hard look at themselves when it comes to supporting grassroots football.

“All they are actually doing is killing it and they don’t seem to think that is a problem.

Pinchbeck’s Connor Bell goes up for a header in Saturday’s cup clash with Harborough. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Pinchbeck’s Connor Bell goes up for a header in Saturday’s cup clash with Harborough. Photo: Chris Lowndes

“We are lucky financially that we can cope and manage the situation but that isn’t the point.

“A midweek game against a local side like Wisbech would probably have attracted a crowd of around 150 people and, if that had been the case, it would have been very safe and wouldn’t have been a problem.”

The friendly against their Northern Premier League South East Division neighbours will help the Knights continue their preparations for the league cup campaign.

After a 2-0 home defeat against Harborough in their group opener on Saturday, they are back in action at the Sir Halley Stewart again this weekend when Rothwell Corinthians are the visitors.

Thorogood added: “The game on Tuesday will mean we can have a look at some other lads and a few different options and see where it takes us.

“The 2-0 scoreline on Saturday was disappointing, but it is only one game though. We have got another four left in this competition to put it right.”

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