AFC Burnley chairman Shane Hudson on the challenges of COVID-19

AFC Burnley's Shane Hudson takes a throw-in

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for most non-league clubs, but AFC Burnley have managed to find positives in the situation.

During lockdown, the club launched a new Saturday team and also brought in lots of new players.

And chairman Shane Hudson is delighted with the progress they have made despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“It has been different rather than difficult,” he said.

“We made the most of the spare time during the initial lockdown; we expanded our committee, hired a number of new coaches and pulled together what is now looking like a talented Saturday team.

“There have been challenges along the way, but no more so than we’d have experienced by doing all that in normal circumstances.

“And the lay-off from March gave us ample time to get everything we needed in place.”

Hudson set up AFC Burnley 10 years ago and now runs a Saturday and Sunday side, as well as a Pan Ability team.

And he admits he did not expect the club to come this far.

“I set up AFC because I always wanted to experience football on a variety of roles and learn more about the running of a club,” he said.

“At the time, the best way for me to achieve that was to start my own club.

“Knowing we’ve had some really big impacts on people’s lives and provided inclusive football in the area is something I’m immensely proud of.

“We’ve gone from a list of friends’ names scribbled on an A4 pad in my mum’s front room to having a club with over 60 players, three teams and a clear plan on how to achieve our ambitions.”

Burnley have a big game against Old Blackburnians in the Lancashire Amateur League on Saturday.

Hudson is also a member of the playing squad, and believes the side are heading in the right direction.

“Every team in this league poses a different threat and as we’ve learned from our opening games, trying to read into results isn’t going to give you the full picture.

“Old Blackburnians are a well established club with no end of talent at their disposal, so we fully expect yet another challenging game on Saturday afternoon.

“The reaction last week against Burnley Belvedere was immense; we demonstrated the strength of our squad and matched a very good team for large portions of the game.

“We came away disappointed to be beaten by a team with a 100% record two divisions higher, so we’re no doubt stronger as a result.”