In the second part of our interview with manager Craig Hogg, he discusses the impact on the players, looks ahead to next season and gives a message to the fans.
EFFECT ON PLAYERS
WE are currently just waiting for a Government decision as to when we can train as a group together because the players just need to get out and kick a football again more than anything.
They haven’t kicked a ball since December and some of them haven’t kicked a ball in what will be over 12 months, closer to 13/14 months.
People need football just to have that release for the mental and fitness side of it.
As much as I feel frustrated that I haven’t been able to coach, is players that have suffered the most throughout this.
Players at tier two clubs and below have been victims of uncertainty, indecision and lack of communication.
There is a number of ways you can look at it really and whether it is a Government issue or whether its an FAW issue, opinion is divided on that.
But for me tier two should have had elite athlete status early doors and if that is a Government body deciding that, then I feel they didn’t taken tier two football as seriously as we do in tier two.
It has been really difficult for the players and I can’t understate that enough. It’s been really, really hard.
I’ll be honest, I’ve had concerns with a couple of my players. I’ve kept in contact with the group – individually and as a group as well.
We’ve had various things that we’ve done on Zoom to touch base with people, but privately I’ve had concerns about the mental wellbeing of a couple of my players.
It is nothing serious or drastic, but I worry that they aren’t the same people that I worked with four or five months ago.
Whatever else we have going on in our lives, football is a release, it is a distraction and something that we live for and love.
We miss the fans and being part of a fantastic organisation at Colwyn Bay. To have that taken away from us because of this awful pandemic has been hard. It’s impacted people in many different ways.
The players have kept themselves motivated and have got their own players group as well. We’ve had quizzes, done fitness assessments on Zoom to keep people engaged.
But you can’t replace the football engagement because that is key. It’s the social interactions, it’s the fitness side of it and the mental wellbeing side of it as well. It’s doing what we love.
I’m thankful now that we’ve got closure because I think now that will help us all with the process of putting what has been the last 8-10 months to bed.
We can begin now to look forward to getting back in and training ahead of the next campaign.
ONCE we’ve got a clearer idea of the national health picture in the next couple of months, I think that will impact on when we can get in to pre-season training.
A key facet for the club is will fans be allowed back in when we do restart competitive action further down the calendar?
As much as we’ve missed playing football, the fans have missed turning up in their numbers to watch football as well.
In terms of planning for next season, once the Government have made certain decisions I think that will expedite and bring forward our planning more to the forefront of how we want to do it.
We are proactive and we have to be. Myself and Neil Coverley (director of football) have had numerous conversations along with Iain Bennett (assistant manager) in terms of what we want to do in terms of the squad, the way we want to play.
We’ve recruited good players. Some of the players that we recruited in January will certainly remain at the football club, but some will return to England because we had agreements with the clubs that they joined us from in England.
There will be movement of players, there always is prior to a new season starting.
But what we’ve got now is a really good group of lads who we’ve worked with, know how we work, and know each other – and I think that really bodes well for the football club.
We know what we need to add to the squad. Recruitment is such an important facet of football. You can be the best coach in the world, but you’re only as good as the players that you recruit as a club.
For us we are constantly looking at what we are doing and how we can improve it and we’ll be taking that into the next campaign for sure.
MESSAGE TO THE FANS
THE message would be to keep believing in us, keep believing in the process and keep believing in what we want to do and keep backing us.
The fans at Colwyn Bay are so valued by everyone who crosses that white line. All fans are so important to football clubs, but the fans at Colwyn Bay are special – to react the way that they did when we made a huge historical decision to leave England, and to back us the way that they did in Wales last year.
We are in a very fortunate position to be able to say we work for Colwyn Bay FC because of how well run the club is and because of the outstanding fanbase that we have. One day we will reward your support with success on the football pitch.
The direction that the board want to take the club in and the impact that the board are having is refreshing and the information that is being fed back to me is brilliant in terms of what they are planning and what they’d like to do and what they intend to do to go about achieving it.
There is a lot going on at the football club. The academy is in a strong place, the ladies team is going to be launched and there are other initiatives that are at the planning stage and are in the pipeline.
It bodes really, really well, especially with the Supporters Group being so much more involved in the football club.
The football club feels like it’s unified, all pulling together in the right direction and that has to continue. The club has changed and changed for the better I feel and I’m proud to be part of the club and the family football we have in the Bay. It’s really, really special.