Student story: How has Coronavirus affected Poynton Junior Football Club?

A news story by Tasmin Potts: 

The Coronavirus outbreak has affected many of our local youth organisations, and clubs.  Football clubs and organisations are one of the many things that have had to alter their ways of coaching and communication.  Poynton Junior Football Club is one of these.  Tamsin Potts interviewed three people connected to the club to discover how they have been affected.

Kealin Smith is the Development Manager of Poynton Junior Football Club and reported that the players are ‘taking ownership’ of their fitness and believes that the players could actually come back ‘in better nick’ than before. Poynton Junior Football Club is a volunteer-run club, with volunteers now ‘trying every means possible to stay in contact’ whilst working from home.  These methods include WhatsApp groups, Zoom Meetings and FaceBook Messenger.  Kealin told our reporter that the Covid-19 outbreak has put local community plans on hold, but has overall given Poynton JFC a ‘time to plan for next season’. Mr Smith thinks that the club is ‘still moving forward, just at a slower pace’. Although players will come back keen, he is worried how the loss of match play will affect the players’ progression and development.

Once a manager with Poynton JFC, Karthik Shyamsundar is now the Assistant Manager of Stretford Paddock FC, a newly-formed club which started as a YouTube channel and now has 24 players.  Karthik believes that the adult volunteers in the club have been ‘mentally affected’, by the coronavirus situation in that they now have to adapt to the changes whilst trying to stay in contact with everyone…but they are still able to carry on working from home.  Mr Shyamsundar told us that the current situation has allowed a supportive community via social media and WhatsApp between players, coaches and parents, with people sharing ideas on how they are keeping fit at home. Nevertheless, Karthik worries that football club finances and sponsorship deals in particular may be affected – meaning some football clubs will not have the funds to carry on in September. 

Alex Brown is the owner of 8by8 Football, which runs in conjunction with Poynton Junior Football Club.  He knows that this enforced rest will affect players’ training and fitness, but feels positive about the situation as he reported that players are still managing to keep up with some aspects of training at home.  Alex and the Volunteers at 8by8 have found it ‘relatively easy to stay in contact’ and there have been some real positives. It has given everyone ‘time to slow down’ and plan for the upcoming season.

In conclusion, adapting to the situation we are now faced with has been difficult for our local football community, but everyone involved is trying their hardest to find new ways to do things such as trying to maintain their normal working and training habits.  Effectively, coaches are still able to plan for next season, which is a real positive note in these worrying times.  However, people’s routines have had to adapt in order to create the positive that has come from this.