Nantwich Town have laid off all full and part-time staff – including all players and the management team – after their matches were postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dabbers, challenging to win a place in the Conference North for the first time in their history, now have no income after fixtures had to be cancelled.
And they have been forced to shelve all functions and football activities in response to the government guidelines.
Now chairman Jon Gold and the club’s committee have taken the heartbreaking decision to let valued staff members go.
Mr Gold, who only started a second spell as chairman a few weeks ago, made it clear that all staff ‘remain very much part’ of the club’s plans for the future.
But for the time being, Nantwich just can’t pay them.
“In essence, we are a not-for-profit business serving the community and no different to any other non-league club and small business in the country.
“Without outside support and help from the Government and football authorities, it will be difficult to survive.
“In line with the instruction and advice from both the Government and football authorities, we have sadly had to close all aspects of our operation, including football activities at every level and all functions and events.
“This means we have also had to lay off all of our staff, both full and part time, which has been done with great sadness and reluctance, but out of necessity and for the safety and welfare of everyone concerned.
“We simply have no income with which to pay them, especially as we don’t know how long it will be before we are able to reopen and play games again.
“They are technically on unpaid leave and once everything is back to normal we hope to reconvene. All of they remain very much part of our club and plans.
“They are all very much valued. We are awaiting support and help from the government and FA.
“These actions still leave us with the immense overheads of maintaining and running a major stadium and business with no income whatsoever for the foreseeable future.
“Whilst not wishing to sound alarmist, it is sadly a stark reality facing many clubs and businesses during these unprecedented times and not exclusive to ourselves.
“It is impossible to predict how long this unprecedented situation will go on for.”
While it is a deeply troubling situation for all concerned, Mr Gold is confident the club will emerge strongly when it is possible to do so – thanks to the loyal and unwavering backing they receive from fans and the general community.
He added: “I am hopeful that there will be a solution forthcoming, though what form that this might take and if it will benefit our football club is still unclear at this stage.
“I am, however, personally enthused by the incredible spirit and resilience that I am seeing already from everyone connected with the club and the local community in general, who are already pulling together and offering their support.
“These wonderful spirits give me great confidence that we will all come through this, and one thing that you can be assured of is that we will be doing everything that we possibly can to ensure that our beloved football club remains in the heart of the community it has served for over 135 years.
“I thank you for your understanding and in advance of the help and support that we will need to take us through this extremely challenging time.”