Head Coach Mark Bonner has written the following message to Cambridge United supporters…
Coming together seems to be the message that everyone is echoing around the country and I am proud to work within a club that is working in the community and reaching out to supporters with the ‘Here for U’s’ scheme.
'Here for U’s' is an initiative set up to give practical, emotional and physical support to as many people as possible, particularly to the over 70’s and vulnerable groups. I have enjoyed speaking with supporters and local residents this week to offer our support, and look forward to doing more of this in the coming weeks alongside staff within the club, including players and our Community Trust.
Our Community Careline number to call is 01223 632 129. Lines are open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
At times such as these the very essence of sport comes to the fore. Whilst we have to wait for competition and collaboration, the need for community has never been greater and the challenges that we often thrive upon are just so very different for the time being.
Like most in the community, those of us working within football have seen our usual habits and structure compromised. We all rely on this scaffold and therefore have had to find new routines in order to support our health, wellbeing and livelihoods where possible.
As is the case for many, this is also a challenging time for the Club, as has been outlined by Ian Mather last week. The idea of community and kindness are relevant everywhere and so as we go through a period of uncertainty, the empathy we all show each other is vital. We absolutely want to be there for you and know that we will rely on your support in the weeks and months ahead, as you have so often displayed before.
Following a period of self-isolation amongst the playing squad and staff last week, we will continue to follow the instruction given last night by Government to stay at home. This is absolutely the right thing to do. Exercising the Government’s instructions around social distancing and unnecessary travel, makes group training inappropriate. Players have been given individual programmes and activities to challenge them and won’t return to group training until early to mid-April. This is of course subject to further Government and EFL guidelines, and we will be guided by medical experts.
Players’ fitness work is further challenged by the closure of gyms and leisure centres and so we need to be creative in order to keep people ticking along. It is obvious therefore that the players will need a period of football conditioning upon returning to training and games, but we are confident we will be able to get them up to speed quickly whenever that time arrives. For now, the important thing for us all to is stay at home and keep safe.
Like many, making plans and organising schedules is difficult right now, as the uncertainty around our return to training and the resumption of the season is difficult to pin down. However, we simply have to be patient, adapt and be ready to build flexible programmes as we await further information.
This challenging period is allowing staff to complete a number of projects and undertake some in depth analysis of the most recent period in the season, and plan with real detail about the future. Often the workload and flow of games can stifle creativity and reflection time. Reflection and creativity are key components to building a high performing team and I am determined that we use this time effectively.
In terms of another area we have been able to take advantage of during this unexpected break, Kyle Knoyle underwent a successful shoulder operation last week that will benefit him and us in the long run. Kyle has had an issue with his shoulder since his dislocation against Newport County in August. Since then, he has maintained good form and confidence, and I look forward to selecting him in the future, free from the pressure of playing with that handbrake on. The bravery and resilience Kyle has displayed is what we want to develop as core values in our team.
We all love this game and are missing the season and everything that it brings us. What this period will do though is allow us to recognise the things we miss most and sometimes take for granted. Also to reassess the priorities in our lives and to remember that although the game means so much to us, right now, there’s so many more important things to consume us. We can all play a part in this difficult period within our families and our communities before returning full of excitement and optimism for football at the Abbey when safe and sensible to do so.
Until then, take care and look after each other.
United in Endeavour