BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Danny Bassett has opened up about the financial challenges he is facing as Tooting & Mitcham United’s season looks over.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen a blanket suspension of sport in the United Kingdom.
Isthmian League chairman Nick Robinson released a statement on Tuesday which said all of their clubs had voted to terminate the campaign.
That was also unanimously supported by the Southern Counties East Football League.
Bassett, 24, scored in the Terrors’ 5-2 win at Hanwell Town on March 6 – the last fixture they played. The club are eighth in the table.
The West Norwood resident is a non-contract player for the Isthmian South Central Division outfit and is hoping that the government lend some financial support.
“As a team and players we all wanted the season to go ahead – even if we had a shorter pre-season and shorter time off,” said Bassett. “But with this type of situation it is bigger than football.
“We have to do what is best for the country because football doesn’t make us live. Everyone knew that we can’t do it now [complete the current campaign].
“It’s gutting because we were pushing for the play-offs and had a big win. This has come at a bad time for us. All that hard work that we’ve put in as a team has come to nothing.
“This has impacted on everyone’s lives almost with no warning.
“I’d recently decided to focus on football 100 per cent and just to commit to that, be serious about it.
“ I have no income because I’m not playing football.
“For the next three weeks I’ve got to stay inside my house and eat from what is there.
“Tooting only pay me when I’m playing. I don’t think you can even get 80 per cent of that if you are a non-contract player.
“I haven’t spoken to the chairman so maybe that is the conversation to have – to ask if it can be sorted so the government gives players in my situation 80 per cent of what we earn. Because that is not going to affect the club at all.
“We might only be talking £100 or £200, but if you take that away from a household then it is a big difference.
“Even if the government paid that percentage of our contracts until the end of the season it would help – I’m not expecting the club to give us 20 per cent of something they don’t have. We pay our taxes, so we have to be covered by the government when we need it.
“I moved out of where I was and back to my mum’s house – I wanted to save money for the next two years.
“My mum is renting. My money was helping her and now she has lost out on that.
“I feel like I’m in a fortunate situation because some people in the team were buying places, have a mortgage to pay or are renting. They might be making the choice between paying the bills or spending it on food to live.
“I don’t think humans should be put into that position at all – it’s crazy.”
PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD
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