Damian Irvine joined Fleet’s livestream v Luton Town before kick-off last night to update supporters on various matters ahead of the scheduled start of the club’s 2020/21 season.
On the subject of streaming games should that become necessary, the Fleet CEO said, “The League contacted clubs recently about the prospect of limited capacity games or no capacity games potentially and unfortunately this week obviously that’s become a reality.
“But we’ve been in touch with SportRadar who delivered the streaming for the play-offs a few months ago, and they put a good package together, which I think is pretty good for clubs and will allow in the worst-case scenario, our season ticket holders first and foremost, but obviously then casual viewers to come in and watch the games worldwide.
“There’s been a relaxation of the blackout rule around three o’clock kick-offs, which is great. So, whatever happens in the next few days, we’ll be able to stream the games live.”
On the ever-changing landscape that football finds itself in with increased lockdown measures, Irvine said: “What we went through in the summertime at the end of the last season with the result there, the speculation can be really tiring and mentally draining. I can imagine what that’s like for the supporters as well at home without the information.
“We’ve been asked to put forward our views as clubs in the National League South which will go towards that board meeting [on Thursday]. We’re pretty clear that the people in this division were very strong in their campaign in lobbying to be an elite sport. Now whether you think that’s right or not or whether we do or not, it doesn’t really matter.
“The fact is the League lobbied very hard to be classified as elite so on that basis, we’re firm in the belief that if you wanted to be an elite sport, then you have to play elite sport. The other leagues, EFL, Premier League, Super League Premiership rugby play behind closed doors. That was what the teams in this division pushed forward to play play-offs on that basis, behind closed doors.
“So our view is that’s what is going to have to happen, we should be playing come October 3rd in the FA Cup and then the 6th and 10th behind closed doors in the league. Because if we don’t, by definition, you’re not playing football for six months given what the prime minister said yesterday. I just don’t think that’s palatable.”
And just prior to Fleet’s exciting 4-1 win on the night, the club’s chief executive hailed the side the manager is building.
“It’s a very exciting brand of football the guys are playing. There’s a lot of unknowns in what the league will look like when we do start to play but the team’s a good team, they get along well. And there’s a good spirit in the club.
“I think there’s a real, genuine and sincere effort for the club to be the supporters’ club again in terms of what they want to see in the club, the behaviour of the players, their culture and attitude. They’re really proud to be at Ebbsfleet. All of them are here with something to prove in their own way, from the management team to myself to everyone here and then right down through all the players so I think that’s what you want from a football club and I think that’s what we’ll deliver.”