Bad weather a financial blow for Hawks

Christian Nanetti. Picture: Dave Haines
Christian Nanetti. Picture: Dave Haines
Andreas Robinson. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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The Hawks’ aim to pick up momentum in their push towards the Skrill South play-off places was again thwarted by the weather.

Lee Bradbury’s team have gone nine games unbeaten and were targeting another three points against Whitehawk at Westleigh Park on Saturday.

The Hawks had recorded a 3-1 FA Trophy win over the Sussex visitors this season and were confident of repeating their success.

Unfortunately, the heavy overnight rain put paid to those hopes with the home pitch failing an early pitch inspection.

‘There wasn’t one area of the pitch that wasn’t waterlogged,’ said club director Trevor Brock.

‘I don’t think I have ever seen it so wet.’

That makes it four games the Hawks have lost to the weather already this season – two home games, Chelmsford and Whitehawk, and two away from home, Concord Rangers and Gosport Borough.

With Hawks still involved in the later stages of the FA Trophy and Hampshire Senior Cup the fixture schedule is going to be hectic.

Losing games to the weather also has financial implications and these are difficult times for non-league clubs.

Brock said: ‘When games are called off, not only do we lose the gate money but all the other spin-offs as well.

‘There is the bar, programme sales and other food outlets that are all hit.

‘Despite this we still have to meet our financial commitments – players, staff and bills need to be paid.

‘This time of year is a challenge for clubs at our level.

‘Also after the expenditure of Christmas, people have less money to spend and that can hit clubs.’

Even though postponed matches are rearranged, losing games on a Saturday also has a negative effect on club finances.

Invariably, when the games are eventually played it is in midweek and they seem to attract less people through the turnstiles.

Brock said: ‘You also don’t want to be playing too many home games in a short space of time because that puts pressure on the finances of the supporters.

‘In those circumstances supporters may become selective to which games they attend.’

Brock, however, feels the club are now better prepared to deal with the situation than in previous seasons.

The board have managed to organise their finances to cope.

‘At times the directors and chairman have had to put their hands in their pockets but we have always met our commitments,’ said Brock.

‘Some clubs struggle to do that.

‘We pride ourselves in that our players have always been paid, even at the most difficult times.’

The Hawks are hoping the weather will relent over the coming days.

They are desperate to get the chance to stage their massive FA Trophy tie against Ebbsfleet at Westleigh Park on Saturday.

That will bring some welcome finances into the club, with a big crowd expected.

It could also see them move a step closer to reaching a dream Wembley final.