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ESP’s man behind the scenes at Posh, Phil Adlam, has the latest news from the football club…

Firstly, I hope you are all staying safe and healthy during these difficult times. I think I speak for everyone when I say, ‘bring on 2021’ even for a bit of a change! As a football club, we are considered ‘elite’ when it comes to playing matches and although we have to do so behind closed doors, that brings a smidge of normality to my life and the lives of others that work here.

Is it the same? No. However, I think right now we take anything we can get. We obviously want and need fans back in stadiums, but equally, given that I am writing this column in Lockdown Part Deux, you can understand why that’s not possible at this moment in time.

It is a real shame though because we’ve made an excellent start to the season, progress in the newly named Papa John’s Trophy and the Emirates FA Cup and again, at the time of writing, we are top of Sky Bet League One. Long may that continue.

I wanted to give a bit of insight into the current world of football because I am sure you, the reader, are wondering how we are still moving forward. Well firstly, from a financial standpoint, we, like every other club in the EFL, are desperately seeking a bailout from the Government or the Premier League (or both) to ensure that no clubs go under.

A general view of the match action between Peterborough United and Oxford United as the match is played behind closed doors due to COVID

We’re fortunate that we have three owners who have the best interests of the club at heart. We’re also fortunate that we have numerous assets, including Ivan Toney, who are worth millions of pounds on the pitch. However, despite the above, we do not have a bottomless pit of money, we are surviving month to month.

We have, thanks to the hard work of a small band of staff behind the scenes, made the stadium Covid-19 secure, we have procedures and protocols in place to keep everyone safe and we have also produced document after document to show that we are ready to welcome back supporters when we are given the green light to do so.

Siriki Dembele scores the second goal of the game against Oxford United

The two teams get changed in separate areas at the stadium to adhere with social distancing, staff wear masks, hand sanitiser is everywhere and we keep people a safe distance apart. People talk about the new-normal and although I definitely haven’t accepted that phrase, we are now in a routine where it does actually become the norm.

In fact, we played an FA Youth Cup tie a few weeks back at Newmarket Town and there were 300 supporters present because of the level they play at and I will be honest, it felt very weird to have those fans there, the noise was something I wasn’t used too!

Peterborough is a vibrant city; those that live within it are always reluctant to give it praise for some reason. Taking a stroll through the city is hard right now, shops are boarded up, pubs and restaurants are closed and it feels like a horror movie with everyone wearing masks. It is fair to say that 2020 has been tough, but you can find strength from the situation.

Appreciate life more. Appreciate seeing your friends and family more. Appreciate your surroundings and the city you live in. And most of all, appreciate yourself. Surviving 2020 will be a Netflix film in years to come. Let’s get through it together.


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