THE FIVE contracted players at Pickering Town have waived their wages in order to help the club survive financially amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Club captain Niall Tilsley, defenders Matty Turnbull and Soni Fergus and strikers Flynn McNaughton and Jackson Jowett were the five players to do so.

Pickering’s season in the BetVictor Northern Premier League north/west division was confirmed as being expunged (TIME), with eight league games still scheduled to be played - five of them on home soil at Mill Lane.

Given the lost earnings from those matches, the five contracted players - with the rest of the squad being on pay-as-you-play deals - waived their wages in a show of support of the club.

“Luckily, we only had five players on contract and I spoke to all of those five and they got paid on Friday (March 20),” said Roberts.

“I explained the situation to those players and, to a man, every single one of them was absolutely fine and they understood that the club came first and they were quite happy to waiver their wages.

“Fair play to those lads. Not one of them, when I spoke to them, complained.

“They understood that the club came and they wanted the club to survive, so that there was a club to come back to for them next year. I take my hat off to them for doing that.”

Looking at the wider implications of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the finances of the football club, Roberts is hopeful that the experience of the board at Pickering can negotiate the club through its current predicament.

“I think that it’s difficult for all clubs,” he added, “and we’re not as financially blessed as some.

“We’re lucky in a way here at Pickering because the board and the chairman have been at this club for a lot of years and they’ve always lived within their means.

“They’ve looked after their budget maybe more so than other clubs would do.

“The board go from year-to-year trying to survive and they know what they can and can’t afford.

“I need to mention people like Gordon Gibb from Flamingo Land (a club sponsor), he backs the club each year and we’re really thankful for that.

“Obviously, at the moment, I’d imagine that he’s got other things on his mind, with Flamingo Land being shut.

“I’d like to thank him for the backing that he does give us and the other companies that do help each year, because it is massively important.

“There is a little bit of concern because all the good stuff that all these good people do, that does help the club, you do worry that potentially they might not want to invest as much under the circumstances.

“With people losing money in their businesses, they might have to be a little bit more stringent with their money.

“I think that it will impact clubs further down the line, I’m not sure how long for.

“I’m sure that it won’t just be for a couple of months, it might be for the next18 months, it could still impact teams (then).”

“I just can’t wait for normality to resume. From speaking to the players, we just can’t wait for life to get back to normality, let alone football. The health of everybody in the world and in the country has to come first.

“I think that everyone is going the right thing by staying at home and abiding by the guidance of the social distancing.”