The club has been unable to bring supporters back to Croft Park this season as we have been following the protocols for elite sport. These are guidelines laid down by the government which allowed sport played at a certain level to continue while all grassroots sport was suspended during the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the introduction of the Tier system by the government, some National League clubs have been allowed to admit spectators if their area falls into either Tier 1 or Tier 2 of the banding. The North East of England has been in Tier 3 since the introduction of the system and we must continue to play matches behind closed doors.
Tier banding is being reviewed by the government on a fortnightly basis and we are hopeful that with the reduction in coronavirus infection in our area, we will be changed to Tier 2 and be allowed to re-admit supporters to our games. The next review is scheduled for Wednesday 16th December.
However, when supporters are eventually allowed to return to Croft Park, they will be faced with quite a different match day experience, and in preparation for this we would like to outline some of the main changes to current practice:
- All our matches will be all-ticket, which will need to be purchased in advance via an online ticketing portal.
- When you purchase your ticket, you will be asked to enter contact details for track and trace purposes. Your personal details will not be used for any other purpose.
- There will be no cash turnstiles in operation.
- Supporters can purchase a ticket for a specific area of the stadium, i.e Fergy Stand, Commissioners Quay Standor Lennon Properties Stand. You will be asked to enter and leave the stadium by a dedicated entrance.
- Because of the stop/start nature of this season and matches being postponed at short notice due to Coronavirus, we will not be selling any season tickets. All tickets will be sold on a match-by-match basis.
- Tickets can be printed or stored on your mobile device and will be scanned on entry to the stadium. The system only allows tickets to be scanned once to prevent fraudulent entry.
- Away supporters will not be allowed to purchase tickets
Once you are inside the stadium, there will be other changes to our match day operations. These are designed with the safety and comfort of supporters in mind:
- Croft Park has been allocated a revised capacity of 1103, which reflects the need to respect social distancing. The online ticketing system will only sell tickets up to the revised capacity of each stand.
- We need to receive authorisation from both the local authority and National League before we are able to re-open the Port of Blyth Stand to supporters. This is due to additional safeguards we have to implement regarding the movement of players and non-playing personnel and their proximity to supporters. This may mean the stand is not available to use as soon as other parts of the ground.
- We will not be selling any refreshments at matches and the social club will remain closed to supporters.
- Portable toilets will be provided in the areas of the stadium not currently served by toilets. This is to reduce movement within the stadium.
- Face coverings should be worn when entering, leaving the ground, and at all times within the stadium.
- Smoking and vaping is not allowed anywhere in the stadium.
We understand that these changes represent a quantum change from watching matches at Croft Park in previous seasons. To help in the transition to this new way of watching games, we will be employing more stewards who will help and assist supporters during their visit.
We are sure that supporters will have a number of questions regarding the safe re-introduction of spectators to our matches. The club would like to address any concerns before the ground is re-opened and therefore you are invited to email any questions you may have to the General Manager, Mike Coulson, at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will print the most asked questions and answers on our website to provide supporters with the information and confidence to return to Croft Park.