Guilsfield’s Nathan Leonard hopes Covid ‘pushes the re-set button’ on silly semi-professional spending

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the face of professional football.

It has changed the face of semi-professional football to the point where some leagues aren’t even allowed to play games.

Things will change for the worse and things will change for the better.

For Guilsfield boss Nathan Leonard he hopes the stupid sums some clubs throw around at players at the semi-professional level will come to an end.

As he has explained, he sees the Covid-19 pandemic as a ‘reset button’ for the issue.

Leonard explained: “Hopefully something can be learnt from the pandemic on the money side of the game.

“Someone said to be hopefully it will see a reset button pressed, and I hope that is the case.

“It was getting silly. Some players were being offered £180 to £200, even sums of £220 were being banded about.

“That has to change. Clubs will have to learn from this and players will have to change their ways too.

“They can’t be expecting x, y and z now.”

Guilsfield, who have punched above their weight in the Cymru North for many years, are a different breed to some other clubs at that level.

Their budget is limited but they have a big team behind the scenes who raise money to keep the club going.

And the pandemic has meant the Guils have had to find new ways to raise funds, something that will only benefit the village club in the long term.

Leonard added: “At Guilsfield we do have that limited budget, but we have had to find new ways to raise money through this pandemic.

“That will be handy because when this is over, you’ll have your normal income streams and then these additional ones as well.

“But the main thing from all this is that reset button for this level.

“If players do take the money they’re offered you can’t blame them but it was getting silly.”

Welsh amateur and semi-professional football has arguably been harder hit by the pandemic.

Although some areas of England were limited, they were able to restart and with fans desperate to see some live action they benefitted from big crowds.

Whereas in Wales, the First Minister shut the door on football altogether.

It is now beginning to kick off, but fans will still not be allowed in for the foreseeable future.

“There is the issue with fans and that is annoying. I work in a building with 70 people, where the risk would be higher than going to watch a game,” insisted Leonard.

“If you go to a game, that is your choice. If you don’t want to go, you don’t have to go.

“You can get a crowd at Guilsfield, all distanced with track and trace easily.

“That is the frustrating part.”

With Wales only just starting, it has raised questions whether teams or even leagues may be weaker in the near future.

Some players have opted to go and play in England because they wanted to play, and weren’t able to due to the strong stance of the Welsh Government.

Leonard hopes that doesn’t lead to a weaker standard, because he wants his Guilsfield to be successful in the strongest league possible.

He added: “I hope Covid doesn’t make the league weaker, no one wants to see that.

“I want Guilsfield to be successful in a strong league and I think everyone wants the league to be the strongest it can be.”

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