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Guppy’s fears if football doesn’t return soon

CRAIG GUPWELL has read and heard his players talk about how much football helps their mental well-being.

So he hopes the lower league game isn’t left in cold storage for too much longer.

Action has been suspended until at least February 14, with a further update expected four days earlier.

Scotland’s mental health awareness organisation Breathing Space has been a big supporter of the club over the last four seasons.

Co-boss Gupwell reckons the work the squad has done with them proves just how vital the game is to footballers’ lives.

He said: “The further delay was fully expected but I still can’t hide my disappointment with it.

“I fully appreciate and understand the reasons but at some point the long-term health and mental well-being impact on the population has to be considered.

“You hear comments like football is only a game but all you have to do is read the comments our players have provided for our sponsor Breathing Space over the last two years.

“Nearly every one of them has spoken about how football is their outlet and release from day-to-day pressures.

“Across the country there are so many young adults and children no longer getting this release which is worrying for me.”

Gupwell only wants a return to football when it’s the safe to do so – which is why he was surprised to see the game halted down the divisions again.

He said: “I’m not saying we should return to football if it is unsafe to do so. But I think the protocols in place before we stopped were working and to the best of my knowledge there had been no major outbreaks linked to football.

“Every club at this level and below had shown a willingness to do whatever is required to allow football to return and I hope it is not delayed any longer.

“Hopefully with the warmer weather coming in and the numbers continuing to decrease alongside the vaccine process ramping up a return will be possible soon.

“I hope it won’t take too long for everyone to get back up to speed and games to restart so we can play out the remainder of this season.”