BRAINTREE Town chairman Lee Harding is hopeful that ‘common sense will prevail’ and supporters will be allowed to return to Cressing Road in a limited capacity.

The Iron have begun their preparations for the new National League South season which is due to start in early October and have arranged a number of friendlies.

However, at present National League clubs are not permitted to allow fans back into grounds due to the coronavirus pandemic, something that is preventing sides like Braintree bringing in some much-needed income in tough times.

Harding said: “We’re waiting for advice and guidance from the Football Association and the National League but Government at the moment seems to be saying at the present time, even small gatherings from a supporters point of view are not going to be allowed.

“There seems to be a consensus that as and when we do start playing some pre-season games and we have got some matches penciled in, they will be behind closed doors which is shame.

“You can go into a pub for example and as long as you’re wearing a mask and keeping your social distance, you can use the facilities.

“I think it’s a real shame if we can’t operate adhering to social distancing guidelines in a football stadium, certainly at non-league level with plenty of open space and fresh air.

“Our Cressing Road ground is a fairly spacious ground – we have a capacity of over 4,200 and even if we were to reduce capacity down to 1,400, which would mean that for example in the seated stand every other seat was unoccupied and everybody in the stadium stood at least a metre apart, I think we would still safely be able to get 1,000 spectators in.

“They’d need to spread around and make sure that we all operate and conduct ourselves properly and sensibly but I’m hopeful that we will see over the course of the next few weeks a bit of common sense prevailing so that we can start the process of returning to what will become I suppose the new normal.

“We’re looking forward to and waiting for with some anticipation the start of the season.

“Sometimes it does feel a little bit one step forward, two steps back – please give us some football!

“It’s been difficult.

“We’ve not had any income now as a business for five months with the exception of the last few weeks with the clubhouse now being open.

“But that really is a fraction of the sort of income that we would normally expect in August – we’d be hoping to be playing some quite lucrative pre-season friendlies and so on.”

Braintree are aiming to find businesses to sponsor the club and contribute net £1,000 each, with the first out of the hat becoming the club’s main sponsor.

For more information on the sponsorship opportunity, contact club director Jerry Carter at or