Craig Elliott welcomes elite sport tag, allowing Boston United to continue playing during lockdown

Pilgrims boss maintains summer stance on clubs' status...
Elliott in discussion with Scott Duxbury. Photo: Oliver AtkinElliott in discussion with Scott Duxbury. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Elliott in discussion with Scott Duxbury. Photo: Oliver Atkin

Craig Elliott has backed the decision to allow Boston United to continue their season.

While grassroots sport - and football from step 3 and below - looks set to be put on hold while the country goes back into lockdown from Thursday, elite sport will continue as scheduled.

The elite sport tag in the men’s game includes all teams from the Premier League to the National League South and North, where Boston ply their trade.

“I still maintain what I said from the start, I do think we should be elite,” said Elliott, who originally backed the decision for step 2 to be included alongside clubs further up the pyramid during the summer.“I believe that because of the commitment we have to put in. The majority of players and managers are full time and I just think (you should consider) the standards we play at as well.”

Being classed as elite allowed the regional National League divisions to complete their play-offs last season, which saw the Pilgrims beaten in the final by Altrincham.It also entitles clubs to financial support from the National Lottery.

However, it does mean matches have been played behind closed doors, while matches further down the pyramid have seen crowds in attendance

“I do think you can look at it both ways, thinking the crowd should be in, but I do think the long-term elite status will benefit us because of the funding we’re getting,” Elliott added.

“We’re able to continue so I do personally think we should be elite. Others maybe have different opinions to that.”

United, who have already had a two week break from action this season due to six positive COVID-19 cases in the camp, return to action on Wednesday as they travel to Bradford Park Avenue.

At present no match is scheduled for Saturday due to Chorley’s FA Cup involvement, but Boston are due to face Darlington in the north east on Tuesday.

“There’s a lot of time and effort going into football, none more so than at our club,” Elliott continued.

“We’ve made a good start and the lads are enjoying it and we don’t want that to stop.

“We’ve talked about this season being strange and I don’t want a long gap after a two-week break. It would be a nightmare to be honest.”

Elliott followed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement as he drove home from Southport on Saturday after his side’s 1-0 victory.

"I turned my phone on after the game and there's football messages, messages about lockdown and it's all surreal and crazy at times," he added.

“We live for football and you hope that can continue. Fingers crossed we can continue to play, that’s the main thing for us really."