Sheffield's Hallam FC welcomes players back to training months early to boost mental health

A non-league football club from Sheffield has recalled its players months earlier than scheduled to boost their mental health.

Hallam FC, who play in the Northern Counties East League Division One – step six of The National League System – saw their season curtailed for the second consecutive campaign in December because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, the club’s players, coaching staff and loyal band of volunteers have spent Saturday afternoons kicking their heels, with no fixtures on the horizon until pre-season starts in June.

Hallam FC manager Craig Denton said: “As a club we decided we wanted to start getting the lads together. We are quite mindful of the players’ mental health.

“They have been stuck in the house for long periods of time. The club was happy to pay for a facility to just get the lads together for the social side of the game. They need that escape.”

It is hoped the 2021/22 season will begin in August, with confirmation expected soon.

That would pave the way for pre-season friendlies at Sandygate – the world’s oldest football ground – throughout June and July in front of crowds, with spectators allowed to return to sporting events from May 17 at the earliest.

Hallam FC’s bar also reopens this weekend.

Hallam FC boss Craig Denton has brought his players back early for the sake of their mental health.

Sheffield-based Craig, who works as a PE teacher at a school in Wakefield, wants his team to push for promotion next season.

He said: “It’s been difficult for players and many people in and around sport. It’s sometimes a release.

"There’s only a certain amount of walks and jogs you can do. I’m sure there’s now light at the end of the tunnel.”