I attended an RFL clubs meeting on Friday, and it was a little disappointing to not be able to report some certainty over the season start date. It is something I have been pressing for and the RFL board understand and hope to get something out soon. Clearly, the ever-changing Covid-19 landscape is driving caution and there is an element of risk with every decision made.

There are currently only five clubs in rugby league – Widnes, York and the three Cumbrian clubs – in tier two, so the reality for all the other clubs is that they can’t play in front of crowds. Despite that, the game at our level is committed to return in March with the Challenge Cup and 1895 Cup starting off the season so that season ticket holders don’t lose out if any of the early games are played behind closed doors.

As was the case for the EFL, every game played behind closed doors will be streamed, with home season ticket holders viewing for free should the need arise. I am hopeful, with the rollout of the vaccine and the end of flu season, that we have an uninterrupted league campaign from April onwards.

It will be interesting how the fanbase in the whole of rugby league returns. Will there be trepidation of meeting in big numbers or have the fans been missing the game so much that they come back in droves? Let us hope it is the latter. Certainly, after the Second World War crowds returned to games in enormous numbers and we are hoping there is the same sense of euphoria when the green light is switched on.

Every time we put together a budget for 2021 – and there have been several – we seem to need to adjust and add more elements of risk. We have budgeted for friendlies in February, not least because the team needs preparation, so we must hope that the crowds in our area can stay. It may be that we can attract some Super League teams if we are one of the few areas with crowds but there’s not many clubs committing at this stage.

Before we return there are a number of hoops we must go through to make ourselves Covid secure and there may be changes to meet the Covid requirements. We need to work closely with the council over the next few weeks and agree a new ground capacity and put together a Covid plan. After our soft launch last season, we may need to wholly convert to electronic ticketing, perhaps with the caveat that we can purchase pre-matchday on behalf of some of our fans that aren’t internet savvy.

Whatever the conditions it won’t be straightforward but we must ensure that the stadium is as safe as it possibly can be. On behalf of all the board of directors I would like to wish our supporters a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I’m sure 2021 will be a whole lot better and I’m convinced there are exciting times ahead for the club.