THE 2020-21 season is well and truly over for non-elite teams as Heybridge Swifts and neighbours Maldon and Tiptree — or is it? writes JON LONGMAN.

Swifts assistant manager Michael Pulford cannot understand why the Pitching In Isthmian League hierarchy has not declared a second successive season “null and void” as hinted at in the words of league chairman Nick Robinson.

Puzzled Pulford thinks that the Isthmian officialdom should follow their own advice, not resort to a secretive club survey, cull the season and stop prolonging the agony.

Pulford says: “I’m surprised the League have asked our opinions almost retrospectively as it seems pretty clear they are of the belief the league should be null and voided for this season.

“That said, as a management team, we agree that’s the right decision considering the time that’s elapsing under the new lockdown.

“Hopefully with the vaccine rollout we will be able to start pre-season in June under better circumstances and next season will be untouched.”

Pulford is keeping fitness levels up just in case the season resumes, however unlikely that may be!

Pulford adds: “At the moment the players are trying hard to keep this core fitness up around their day jobs.

‘We’re in constant contact with the players to check in on their mental health and if we can provide any support for them.”

Pulford says that the Covid crisis has stretched clubs almost to breaking point.

“It’s such a hard balance, non league football has such a pivotal role to play as a hub within local communities,” he says.

“The work both Gary [chairman] and Steve [vice-chairman] have undertaken along with the rest of the committee, has shown that Heybridge truly is a community club and has a very community feel to it.

“The lack of football and the camaraderie, togetherness that brings is really evident in people’s lives.

“That said, the health of everyone within our community is paramount. As a club community we have a number of frontline workers in the NHS, public services and working in schools.

“I know I speak on behalf of all the management and players when I say how grateful and thankful we are to these men and women who are putting their own lives at risk to support the national effort.

“What they’re doing on a daily basis is admirable and I know when football finally gets underway again, whether it be this season or next, the club is looking at ways that we can thank our frontline workers.”