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06 Apr 2020 : Easter wishes and thanks from Runcorn Linnets
Runcorn Linnets should be looking forward to the Easter holiday as one of our busiest footballing weekends of the season. But with a premature halt having been called in these unprecedented post-war times on a "null and void" campaign, we must instead patiently begin planning to start all over again in 2020-21 - without knowing with any certainty when play will resume.
In the meantime, in wishing everyone a Happy Easter, we say traditional end-of-season "thank yous" a little earlier than expected.
Special thanks go to:
This is an opportune moment to thank Brian, Barbara, Joanne and their team who have decided to call it a day in the Linnets' canteen.
They have spent more than a decade attending to the culinary needs of supporters, sponsors and players at both first and Ladies team games but now take a well-deserved rest, after bringing many thousands of pounds into the club's coffers.
As we contemplate an extended spell without football, we will be hosting some more "virtual matches" to help with those running costs which we still face.
The next is on Easter Saturday, April 11th, when we will open the imaginary turnstile for our scheduled (but now make believe) fixture against Dunston - giving fans chance to donate admission money and other matchday dues in aid of the Linnets.
We hope as many fans as possible will feel able to support this initiative from the comfort of their armchairs to help us through this difficult period.
Remember to stay at home - and please stay safe.
26 Mar 2020 : Football Association declares 2019-20 Northern Premier League season over
The Football Association has announced that the 2019-20 BetVictor Northern Premier League season is over - along with those of all other leagues at steps three to six of the National League System.
The FA said in a statement this afternoon that they and the leagues concerned have "reached a consensus that their 2019-20 season will now be brought to an end, and all results will be expunged."
The statement added: "This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between NLS steps three to six, and no promotion to NLS step two."
The NPL North West Division, including Runcorn Linnets, is a step 4 competition along with the NPL South East.
Both feed into the NPL Premier Division at step 3.
This in turn promotes teams to the regionalised second tier of the National League (step 2).
The news means that a major reorganisation in non-league football, including the NPL taking on a third step 4 division for the start of next season, will be shelved until the end of 2020-21 and not now take effect until August 2021.
The NPL season had already been "suspended indefinitely" from March 16th due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tiers three to seven of the women's game have reached a similar decision in tandem with the FA.
The season will end immediately with results being expunged and promotion and relegation in 2019-20 being scrapped.
Unfortunately, this directly affects Runcorn Linnets Ladies, who are comfortably leading the seventh-tier Cheshire Women's League Prenier Division.
It's a bitter blow for manager John Pickering, coaching staff and players, who have put so much time and effort into what had been a highly successful season but will not now have chance to go up.
19 Mar 2020 : Runcorn Linnets support A Better Tomorrow
An organisation supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Halton has been presented with a set of football kit by Runcorn Linnets.
A Better Tomorrow is a new not-for-profit project formed to work with the increasing number of migrants housed in the borough.
Its aim is to help not only disenfranchised families but also longer-term residents, who need assistance to integrate fully into the local community.
Paul Kenna, a regular supporter at Linnets games, had approached the club with a view to obtaining some old kit for charity.
Paul belongs to St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP), a lay organisation attached to the Catholic Church which supports the poor.
He said: "When the club kindly donated the kit to SVP, we originally intended to send it on to our contacts in India, however, the cost was too high.
"Eventually I spoke to PC Ian Hampson of Cheshire Police, and he introduced me to Ashraf (Hamido), the chairman of A Better Tomorrow who were very happy to receive the kit."
Linnets handed over the matchworn old blue and white change kit at a recent home game and the club intends to extend its support for the project.
Club chairman, Mike Bignall said: "It was great to be able to assist Paul, one of our loyal fans, with his charitable work and through his efforts help A Better Tomorrow with this very valuable and worthwhile project. We hope to be able to continue our involvement with the group in the future."
A Better Tomorrow works with partners including Cheshire police, health providers, the council and local housing providers to address some of the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers, who have settled in the area.
Cheshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, David Keane recently awarded a £5,000 grant from his Safer Communities Fund to support the group to deliver culture awareness sessions and integrate asylum seekers into the community.
PCC Keane said at the time: "The challenges faced by the multi-ethnic community are in addition to the complex challenges faced in Halton in relation to deprivation, health inequality, employment and education.
"Residents who have recently settled in the area need our support. Without it they can easily fall into hardship not just socially but financially too, with a risk of becoming involved with loan sharks or criminal activity. They may also suffer from isolation or exclusion which can lead to mental health issues.
"I hope this project makes a real difference to the lives of migrants in Halton and helps them build a positive future in their new home."
Ashraf Hamido, chair of A Better Tomorrow said on accepting the grant: "Migrants often struggle to access services including employment, education and health.
"Day-to-day tasks such as food shopping or using public transport can also often feel almost insurmountable in respect of language barriers and facing this on a daily basis has a significant effect on mental and physical health.
"This project brings together a number of partners to ensure migrants are given the right support from the right agencies as the come to settle in the area. The funding provided by PCC David Keane will enable us to ensure integration into the community is as smooth as possible."
The PCC grant was awarded by the commissioner in partnership with Halton Clinic Commissioning Group (CCG) through their Well Halton project.
Chris Carlin, a commissioner at Halton CCG and project manager of Well Halton, said: "Well Halton is excited to be able to partner with the police and crime commissioner - together we can tackle the wider determinates of health.
"We are particularly proud to be able to support A Better Tomorrow. Refugees face many challenges such as language, culture and local systems. A Better Tomorrow is a fantastic example of the role that peer support can play. This service will be a key partner to many agencies and will help newcomers to navigate the system and stay well."
Pictured: Linnets chairman Mike Bignall, left, and supporter Paul Kenna, right, with members of A Better Tomorrow.
16 Mar 2020 : All NPL fixtures suspended until further notice due to coronavirus fears
The BetVictor Northern Premier League has indefinitely suspended all senior and Academy fixtures because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tomorrow's scheduled North West Division visit of Marine is the first to be affected.
This is now off as is this week's intended NPLFA fixture.
In an official statement, the league said:
"The Northern Premier League has today decided, reluctantly, to suspend all fixtures until further notice in light of the escalating Covid-19 outbreak.
"The League would like to congratulate the players, officials, volunteers and fans of clubs able to stage games at the weekend and notes the excellent attendances at those fixtures. Whilst the primary responsibility of the League is to the financial sustainability of its member clubs, the number of clubs reporting players or officials in self-isolation has now reached a point at which continuing to play games would severely undermine the integrity of the competition.
"In consultation with the partners Eliteform, all NPL Football Academy fixtures have also been suspended until further notice.
"The NPL is well aware that clubs and fans need clarity around whether the 2019/20 season is to be suspended temporarily or permanently, and the full implications of either eventuality. The NPL will be working with the other Alliance Leagues and the Football Association, to assess the various options and to agree a way forward.
"As soon as we are able to, we will share that information with member clubs and their supporters."
14 Mar 2020 : Goalkeeper Scott Reed arrives from Winsford
Former Welsh youth international 'keeper Scott Reed has signed for Runcorn Linnets from Winsford United.
He joined North West Counties League club Winsford only last month from their Premier Division rivals, Northwich Victoria.
Scott played for Manchester United at Under-9s level, his junior and youth career later taking him to Liverpool (from U10-U14) and Swansea City (U14-U18).
He moved into senior football, playing for Merthyr Town in the Southern Premier League and more recently Vics from October to December of last year.
Scott says the definite highlight of his career so far was representing Wales at youth level, winning the 2015 Victory Shield.
Welcome on board, Scott!
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