Chairman’s Chatter – August 2020
On reviewing the website, I noticed that the last time I wrote was way back in November 2019. At the time I wished everyone a Happy new Year, how little did we know what 2020 was about to bring for us all!
Of course, in came Rooney and the Rams enjoyed an upturn in form and fortune in the new year which gave us all hope of a play-off push. However, football was about to take a back seat as news stories grew of a new virus spreading across the world like wildfire. As the Covid-19 virus took hold, more and more things closed down and by March football was suspended until further notice as the country slowly entered lockdown.
Sadly, the lockdown period cost us more than games of football. Many of you knew Mark Green (Greeny) who drove one of our buses for many years while working for Freeway Coaches. Greeny became so much more than our driver and was a close friend to many of us, taking part in our famous ‘weekenders’ and Christmas Dinners. Mark was a larger than life character, always with a smile on his face and a kind word for everyone. I can never remember a moment when he wasn’t the jovial, polite and all round nice guy we came to know and love. Tragically Mark contracted the virus and despite fighting bravely was taken from us in April. Mark left behind a loving family and so many friends which was reflected in the amazing turnout to applaud his funeral procession and also by the remarkable fund raising of over £10,000 to help his wife Lorraine and family through such a devastating time. Heanor Branch were eager to make a significant contribution in Mark’s memory and in recognition of his service to the Branch. I am proud to say that Mark’s family asked that we were represented in some way and we were able to provide a Derby County flag and scarf which adorned his coffin on Mark’s final journey. And despite the restrictions at the time, I am pleased that several Heanor Rams were able to make the trip to Hasland to join the applause along the route.
More recently, we also sadly lost another branch stalwart in Ernie Poundall who travelled with us for many years and was a well known and respected figure in the Heanor community. Our condolences go to all of Ernie’s family.
Of course, during the pandemic, all Branch activity has been suspended and the committee have had little opportunity to discuss the future. Early on it was decided that the existing committee would continue to serve until the end of the 2020-2021 season at which time we hope to have an AGM and normal service can resume.
In July, project restart got football going again albeit nothing of the like we have seen before. No fans, piped crowd noise and viewing on TV or laptop just doesn’t seem the same. As the new season approaches there is talk of the return of the fans with reduced crowds being possible from October but how this will work is not yet clear. When crowds do return, will we be able to provide transport based on reduced numbers and new public transport protocols? Who knows. We will of course cross these bridges when we come to them. For now, all I can say with any certainty is rest assured that Heanor Rams will be here for you all when we eventually get back to some sort of normality.
Until such times as we can all meet again please stay safe, look after yourselves and your loved ones.
Best wishes and Up the Rams