Thursday 12th March 2020 was a day that will be etched into the minds of our football community and it’s one that none of us will ever forget. Westport United up to that date was like your average football club where we had teams getting ready for a new season, teams training for cup competitions that they are still involved in, pitches getting prepared for the weekend fixtures, meetings still taking place to manage the affairs of the club and volunteers still going out to the pubs selling lotto tickets and other fundraising efforts like Last Man Standing in full swing. That fateful Thursday, firstly the news came from the Schoolboys Football Association of Ireland that underage football was suspended. This was then followed by the Mayo Association Football League, The Connacht FA and the FAI all issuing statements that football has been suspended until further notice with immediate effect. The response from within the club was instantaneous. No more matches, no more training, no more grading sessions for the upcoming season and with the closure of pubs in Westport from March 15th, no more selling lotto tickets and the suspension of the Premier League also meant the suspenion of Last Man Standing. Meetings have subsequently been cancelled bar important updates via WhatsApp groups and a major club announcement has been put on hold. The Club, following contact with Clones Town FC set up a COVID-19 Response Group to look after member of our community and the club lotto has still been running but strictly on online sales. Here is a snippet of our activities over the last month.
COVID-19 Response Group: Westport United FC has a proud history and the club is a source of great pride within our community. In these extraordinary times there are vulnerable people within the community and some would have tendered their services to the club and our volunteers are here to help out to check up on these people and maybe help them with their shopping, fuel, prescriptions and postage, etc during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hotline for any member of the public seeking assistance is 087-6990883 email@example.com and a member of our COVID-19 Response Team will be ready to assist you.
Lotto: With the onset of the COVID-19 restrictions, we have decided to take the responsible approach and focus all selling of lotto entries online. This means over the coming weeks we will be running a limited online Lotto, the jackpot will be frozen until the emergency measures are over.
The Lotto is our main sources of income for the club so we are asking members to play online and share the link with as many people possible so we keep the club solvent as bills/loans still have to be paid. In particular, we would ask you to contact family and friends who have Westport links but don’t live locally any more.
We are aware that in the greater scheme of things this is not top of your priority list. We encourage all of our members to follow the government guidelines and stay safe. Westport United is calling on all Players/Managers/ Supporters to sell €10 lotto online. Our Jackpot is €18,700. We realise this is a tough time for people. This will help us survive so the club is here for you when this is over.
https://www.lottoraiser.ie/WestportUnited/ Entries must be in by 8:00 on Sunday night and the numbers will be drawn by PRO, Kenneth Gannon in accordance with social distancing and Government restrictions on private gatherings with a video posted on social media thereafter.
Last Man Standing: The following circular was sent by Brian Cusack: Thank you all for taking part in the Westport United LMS for March 2020, we appreciate your support.
As you are all aware the Premiership is suspended at the moment and all we can do with the LMS is wait and update you when and if the league resumes.
From Week 1 we had 43 casualties, Wolves 38, Southampton 2 and 1 each on Bournemouth, Man City and Spurs.
Extra Curricular Activities: Westport United have been running a daily quiz on its Facebook page for the last three weeks with every third day being a picture round. Also we have been promoting the SFAI 12 Days Skill Challenges. However, we would like to see a bigger input locally to help us fill our social media sites with skill challenge videos from our own members, like what Castlebar Celtic and Ballina Town are currently doing and photos related to the club; old and not so old so we can keep our social media followers engaged. Any video sent in must be a skills challenge that adheres to HSE guidelines on social distancing and for our boys and girls at underage level, it must have parent/guardian’s consent before we can use it. All photos and videos can be sent to the club through the message portal of the Westport United Facebook page.
Until we have further news, stay safe.