City’s chief executive officer, Ryan Sparks, has moved to update supporters on the club’s position - after the government revealed its ‘roadmap’ out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “We as a football club welcome the news from Westminster, which states a clear aim to have supporters back inside stadia from May 17.
“There are no guarantees in terms of capacity, but this represents a huge step in the right direction for society as a whole - and, of course, for sports clubs across the country.
“Hopefully, the news can help us move out of the darkness and back towards the light, and we will be able to say 2021 was the year we began to see the back of this pandemic.
“The vaccination programme appears to be world leading, and something we can be extremely proud of, with more than 18 million jabs administered, as of today. This represents a real source of hope for us all.
“We owe a great deal of gratitude to the brave NHS staff and volunteers, who are dedicating their lives to vaccinating the population as quickly and safely as possible. This will undoubtedly help kick-start our economy sooner rather than later - and have us feeling that sense of ‘normal’ we so greatly miss.
“For our supporters, we know how much a return to Valley Parade will mean, and have taken every possible step to ensure COVID-19 has not had a direct impact on our employees, allowing people to work in a safe environment.
“We are mindful of the fact the virus cannot be entirely controlled, but despite the future remaining somewhat unclear, the government’s desire to all but remove restrictions by June 21 offers something of a marker for us.
“We do require more clarity, but are very confident it will come in the weeks and months ahead, as matters hopefully continue to move in the right direction. It is devastating to see so many people losing their lives to this terrible virus, and our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected.
“As we have always stated, we will not place on sale a non-viable season-ticket product or one we cannot ensure will offer any level of guarantee. With this in mind, we will offer as much time as possible before unveiling our season-ticket plans for the 2021/22 season and hope this causes little in the way of inconvenience.
“I can imagine how much you all wish to be back here, giving the players, Mark and Conor the 12th man they desire. And I am sure our new permanent managers would love to soak up a top-drawer Valley Parade atmosphere. It is one they so richly deserve, and that day will come.
“However, from the comfort of your homes, you are really helping us along the way. Increased iFollow revenue has been, and can continue to be, crucial for our club. We owe a massive amount of gratitude to our partners, who have stuck with us all the way.
“At times like these, we recognise that supporter engagement is arguably much more important than it has been previously. Over the coming weeks and months, you will see further improvements around our marketing and CRM capabilities, which are designed to enhance our offering and bring you closer than ever before.
“We will also be launching a new membership scheme, offering further communication, exclusive merchandise and an opportunity for you to help support efforts to take our club forward in the long term.
“Further stadium renovations are planned for the months ahead. It is crucial we ensure Valley Parade is a place we can be collectively proud of for years to come, and these improvements will be revealed prior to the start of next season, with updates across our digital platforms.
“I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank everyone for their ongoing, loyal support. It is what drives us forward and keeps us dedicated to being the very best we can be.
“We will do everything we can to keep you as informed as possible during these challenging times. We are looking to finish this season with some momentum, driving us into next, and an energised football department ready to tackle whatever it faces.
“Hopefully, sooner rather than later, the words ‘Take Me Home’ will be said less in hope, and more in anticipation.”