Coalville Town

By Callum Crabtree

As the lockdown for COVID-19 continues, the uncertainty for non-league football grows continuously.

For players, management and all other members within clubs, their future employment may be in serious doubt. With no definitive start date yet cemented for any divisions in the non-league pyramid, Coalville Town captain Steve Towers admits his future is dependent on the game restarting.

“I’ll be 35 soon so I’m heading towards the latter end of my career,” he said. “If it goes on for so long the club might not want me, or I might not be in a position to be able to play anymore; you just don’t know how long this will last.”

Despite questioning his own future, Steve is adamant that the club are in safe hands.

“We’ve been given no indication by the club to suggest things aren’t OK going forward, but it is difficult because nobody knows when it’s going to restart,” he continued.

“It’s hard to say at the minute with what’s going on, but from what I’ve seen, and what I know since I’ve been at the club is that it is ran really well. We’ve not got a massive gate so we don’t rely on a massive fanbase, as it’s not there.

“However, the chairman does it. The club is well ran, so in terms of Coalville itself, the club will be alright.”

Fitness challenges have been all the rage to keep people’s minds occupied during the lockdown, with the ‘5K challenge’ being the most popular amongst footballers.

Steve admits that without a start date in sight, he has struggled to motivate himself during this period.

“I find it very difficult to work out when there’s nothing to work towards. I keep generally fit anyway, because I do quite a lot of walking, for example, when I’m with my dog, but in terms of football fitness, I do find it difficult when there’s nothing to motivate me.

“If there was a date where they announced that we were starting to get back into it; that would be my motivation.”

During these uncertain times, the lack of direction can take its toll on the mental well-being of people, of which no one is exempt.

As club captain, Steve admits that if anyone within the dressing room at Coalville were to feel the strain, they could easily seek help within the group.

“We’ve got a WhatsApp group, as probably most teams have these days, and people will dip in and out of that, but on the whole, it’s been pretty quiet really. Everybody’s scenario is different; some people might still be at work, some are at home, people might have their own families, some don’t.

“We’re a sound group of lads and nothing has been said so far to indicate anyone is particularly struggling. However, I’d like to think if they were, the chat is there if they need to talk to someone.”

Miles away from the glitz and glamour of top-flight football, the reality for most players in the non-league pyramid is working for two or more sources of income. The government announced the furlough scheme back at the end of March, but for Steve, who is self-employed, his income has been delayed.

Despite the lack of income, he has remained upbeat about the situation.

“I’ve seen a bit of money through football, and my wife is still at work, so I’m just waiting to get my money when the Self-Employment Scheme kicks in around early-June.

“It has been frustrating, but at the end of the day, you’re not really spending anything, as there’s nowhere to go! All you’re spending it on is a trip to the shops to stock your cupboards up.

“It’s not the end of the world, I just want to get back to normal.”

This period has also meant Steve spending a lot more time at home assisting in his two kids’ learning whilst the schools have been closed.

His thoughts?

“It is good, but it can drive you a bit mad because it’s so loud!”

Interview/article by @CallumCLC

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