Relief for Allinson as St Albans City given date for resumption of competitive football

PUBLISHED: 08:59 28 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:59 28 July 2020

Ian Allinson, manager of St Albans City. Picture: DANNY LOO

Ian Allinson, manager of St Albans City. Picture: DANNY LOO

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

St Albans City will start their season properly in October after the National League released a statement confirming the go-ahead.

It came late on Monday evening via the Wrexham website and said that clubs in the North and South divisions “will commence the season with the FA Cup second qualifying round on Saturday, October 3”.

The National League above Saints, home of the Welsh side, will begin on the same day with league fixtures.

The statement also said that the season will run until Saturday, May 29, with play-offs scheduled for June.

And they also confirmed that one of the National League South or North would start a team light, and play only 40 fixtures.

All the decisions are subject to government guidelines with the dates for the season end and play-offs “subject to FA approval” but seem to have been made with getting crowds back into the grounds.

That may be at a reduced capacity with Concord Rangers chairman Anthony Smith saying that he was expecting “a reduction at round 50 or 60 per cent”.

That shouldn’t be a problem for Saints though as that would leave Clarence Park able to accommodate around 1,200 spectators, well above the average attendance of last season.

Regardless though, the news will come as a blessed relief to St Albans manager Ian Allinson who had told HertsAdSport earlier on Monday that he was in the dark as to what was happening and because of that, struggling to formulate a solid plan for pre-season.

He said: “We’re just relying on the government and the National League to makes a decision. A lot will depend on when we can have crowds.

“I’ve heard that the National League will start on the first Saturday in October. I haven’t had that confirmed by anyone but that’s because they need to have crowds back.

“We always start off with a big squad but we may have to go with an even bigger one.

“Pre-season is under way although we’re just ticking over until we know when we can start.

“We’ve done a couple of Saturdays now, just a little bit of fitness to test where people are. They’ve come back quite good.”

The club may also be able to now move towards an announcement of pre-season friendlies, although there may be other issues with that linked to coronavirus.

Allinson said: “We have got a couple booked in but we’re not sure how we stand with the pro sides.

“They have had testing but we’re not in a position to do it.

“We’ll have to wait and see where we stand with that and then it’s just a case of sorting out the dates.

“We have some dates booked in but until we know when we start, we can’t confirm things.

“Leigh Page is doing a lot on the COVID-19 rules and regulations to try and get it out this week but everything will be behind closed doors.

“We’ve got loads of clubs who want to play us.”

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