Tigers lights still burning bright

DAVE McGurk admits Hyde United’s season had to end because of the Covid-19 crisis – but the lights are still on at Ewen Fields.The Tigers found their Northern Premier League campaign halted, just as they sensed glory in cup competitions.

With semi-finals in both the Cheshire Senior Cup and the Integro League Cup on the horizon, the thought of a cup final had definitely entered the manager’s mind.

But McGurk is adamant things had to be called to a halt.

He said: “They had to end it, without a doubt. It should end throughout the leagues, it’s just resolving the situation in terms of relegation and promotion.

“We lost two cup semi-finals, which we were desperate to play in as we wanted to win a trophy this season but ultimately the right decision has been made.

“There was no way they could restart the leagues at a later date. Hopefully we’ll be back sooner rather than later.

“It would’ve been good to have maybe a final or two and a top half finish. These are things we were on track for and we were getting stronger as the season went on.”

Hyde United have used the Government’s furlough scheme but are topping up the wages of their four contracted players so they do not lose out.

And an eye is already on next season, one which looks like it may be without Paddy Lane, who seems destined for a higher league.

McGurk added: “We only had four contracted players this season and supplemented them with non-contracted players and loan players. The loan market is something we’ll definitely use next season.

“But I think we could lose Paddy. He had one concrete offer from the National League. We’ll offer him a new deal but I’m not going to hold him back.

“We definitely need to stay on top of the transfer market more and we were in a small market last year. Some players dropped two, maybe even three, leagues below us to pick up more money.

“We don’t know where we are budget wise yet but year after year, we’ll keep improving.”

While Hyde have been forced off the pitch, the club has brought in more than £5,000 by holding ‘virtual’ matches on a Saturday.

And the importance of those funds could not be played down as it has covered things like the electricity bill.

The club said in a statement: “The money has helped the football club keep the lights on.

“No-one knows how all this will pan out or when football will be permitted to start again, so this has gone a long way to helping secure the football club’s future.

“The virtual games have brought in just over £5,000 and with the help we are seeking from the Government, we hope to keep things ticking over until we are able to bring monies into the club through the hiring out of our 3G pitch and competing again in the league.”

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