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What does this season hold for Tooting & Mitcham United FC?

What does this season hold for Tooting & Mitcham United FC?

2020-09-09 
| by South London is Black and White | Posted in News, Sports
  

In the first of a series of regular blogs, the fans of Tooting & Mitcham United FC at southlondonisblackandwhite.com, look ahead to the upcoming season for the local club...

It’s been a rubbish year, hasn’t it. For everyone, in every walk of life. Socially distant, professionally possibly disastrous. Unless you work for Zoom or Amazon. Which you might.

It’s been a difficult period for Tooting and Mitcham United FC (TMUFC), your local neighbourhood football club. You’ve hopefully read about the club through Tooting Newsie before, but if not, TMUFC is a club in the Isthmian South Central League. It’s a semi-professional club, playing at Imperial Fields just outside Mitcham. Famous former players include Alex Stepney and Michail Antonio. Wolfie “Citizen” Smith, of the Tooting Popular Front, wore a black and white scarf- the colours of Tooting and Mitcham United. That he was a Fulham fan is an embarrassment to him and the show’s creators. TMUFC is stitched into the history of the Tooting community as intimately as the lamppost at the Broadway, as much as our wonderful curry restaurants, as much as St George’s hospital. The football club is Tooting. And Mitcham. United.

When lockdown happened in March, TMUFC were coming into the home straight of their league season, galloping towards a playoff place. And then the league got pulled. Nulled and voided. Fans told to stay away. The hundreds of regular supporters left to wonder what might have been, the club itself left to count the cost of an indeterminate time without football. Without spectators. Without pints being sold. The same position as an infinite number of institutions found themselves in in March.

The club rallied, as did their support. £10,000 was raised by the community, with some help from supporters of our former lodgers, the ever fashionable Dulwich Hamlet. This money was vital for the club to be able to continue to provide the vital services to local people that it provides. But, of course, this money is a finger in the dyke. The real work is to come.

On September 12, all being well, TMUFC hosts its first competitive game of the 20/21 season, with spectators permitted to attend. The FA Cup. Our fantastic ground comfortably holds 3,000 people. 400 people are permitted to attend, asked to observe social distancing and to purchase their tickets in advance. The club has worked incredibly hard to make our ground as safe as possible for returning supporters. For new supporters. A legion of volunteers armed with budget-remake Ghostbuster proton-packs filled with sanitiser squirt every touchable surface before the match, the bar has more signage than a coastal walk. Every thing that can be done by the club is being done by the club to adhere to strict guidelines, to get folk through the turnstiles in as safe a manner as possible as we continue to navigate this pandemic.
 

Photo credit: Sam Conquest
 

Non-league football is back, and with spectators in the ground. On September 19 we start our league campaign. Because we aren’t Chelsea and there aren’t 50,000 people watching, we get to have supporters in. Because we aren’t Chelsea and there aren’t 50,000,000 watching on telly, we need to have supporters in.

So. If your regular team isn’t playing, come see us. If they are, but they’re high in the football pyramid and you can’t go see them because you’re not allowed, come see us. Tooting and Mitcham United play BRILLIANT football. Recent graduates are at clubs like Middlesbrough and Charlton. Our team is made up of local young men looking to get on the first rungs of the professional game, and they play like it. Come and support your local club. Come and support an historical part of your local community. Come and watch the football.

Find out more about the club here. To read more about the club, written by its community, visit southlondonisblackandwhite.com 

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