Preston North End, along with the rest of the world, has had to deal with all the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic and Peter Ridsdale, owner Mr Trevor Hemmings’ representative, has explained how they have affected the club.
Speaking to iFollow PNE, Peter discussed the club’s efforts in the community, the team’s planning for when they are allowed to return to training and playing, as well as how Covid-19 has affected football finances.
“Covid-19 has affected the club in various ways,” he told the official channel. “Clearly, from a football point of view, we have had to deal with the fact there are no matches to plan for, no training and the players have been given individual programmes to keep them fit.
“The biggest single challenge is the mental challenge of not having something definitive to play for – not knowing when the matches are going to be and when the season is going to finish. We were so close to the end of the season, with the club still in the Play-Off positions, so that in itself has been a challenge.
“A lot of the staff have been working from home and as a club, as a whole, we have risen to the challenge. The initiatives that have taken place within the community, from the Invincibles Pavilion being taken over by the NHS for training, the car parks for blood testing units, the community and education trust delivering hampers, the players contributing to a number of initiatives, we have all risen to the challenge, albeit in very strange circumstances.”
There has been plenty of conjecture about how the crisis will change football and in particular its finances, but Peter says that the club’s policies, led by the owner, have put it in a position to come out of the situation ready to plan for the future.
“The financial challenges are something we don’t know what the ultimate outcome will be, because we don’t know how long the current climate will go on for, however, a number of clubs appeared to have problems very quickly,” he continued.
“We are club that prides itself on the way we have been running the football club, which is clearly from the owner. His support is valuable, in the sense that without his support, we would not be here.
“For those that have criticised the way we have run the club in the past with prudency in terms of the wage bill and the transfer fees and market we are in, what is clear now is that Mr Hemmings was right all along and the way in which the football club is run.
“It has allowed us, so far, to sail through relatively unscathed, but with his continued support and we should be held up as how to run a club in the good times, let alone the difficult times, but as we sit here today, we are in great shape.
“The players and staff have been paid throughout this pandemic and hopefully we have a light at the end of the tunnel when we can play again, where we can plan for the future.”