Manager's thoughts - Gavin Morrison, Dorking Wanderers U19's
By Tyla Crandon
The coronavirus pandemic had a very serious effect on our way of life, and it also included the world of football at all levels of the professional and amateur game.
Leagues across the world were either been suspended for a period of time or finished, early such as the Belgian Pro League did back in April of 2020. During that time of uncertainty, it was unclear as to whether the other divisions across Europe would follow suit or with enough time are able to finish their campaigns off in time for the start of next season.
The National League Under-19 Alliance was, unfortunately, no exception to the pandemic as all of the leagues within the alliance were suspended until the foreseeable future at the time. One such club that was affected is Dorking Wanders who's Under-19 side is managed by Gavin Morrison. Before the suspension last year, Dorking sat 3rd in Division D with 29 points, only 3 points behind top of the table Sutton United Ambers, with Metropolitan Police in 2nd also having 29 points.
It was all set up to be a tasty end to the season with three of the top teams in Division D battling it out in order to be crowned champions of the Division. However, the coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to proceedings, with the decision being that all leagues within the Alliance would be finished early.
I spoke with Gavin in March last year about how this crisis has affected his team both on and off the pitch, what his players are doing during this time and whether the season can be completed. This is what he had to say:
" Obviously everyone’s in a hard time with this, classroom side we are still doing lessons but online through zoom which includes our maths and English GCSE retake lessons and also the BTEC programme!
On the pitch, our players are being tested with individual training plans, review sessions, and performance profiling. As well as going through our game footage from this season!"
Based on his quotes, it's clear to see that his players are still getting the education they need as well as maintaining their fitness levels. Although many clubs in the lower end of the footballing pyramid could face an uncertain future ahead, with football leagues below the National League being declared null and void, Mr Morrison remained hopeful that their league campaign can be completed in time and the Division D title race will start to hot up again, as it was before the suspensions of the leagues within the alliance.
This mindset of finishing the league season has been mixed with football fans, with some saying that we should be able to continue the season in some way, shape or form, while others argue that for health and safety reasons the season should be declared null and void. Either way, the ramifications of this pandemic are still yet to come as football faces an uncertain future the likes of which we've never seen since the world wars.