GUISELEY'S chairman Gary Douglas has issued a club update, praising the tireless efforts of the supporters and volunteers, while clarifying the importance of having a crowd in non-league football.

He also teased the prospect of some exciting new signings in the coming weeks.

In a statement issued on the club's website, Douglas said: "As we begin to emerge from the awful events caused by the Covid-19 pandemic over the last few months, I thought that the time was right to provide both an update, and a thank you to all our supporters.

"Without going over old ground again, I believe that the squad and management team performed excellently last season, ultimately finishing ninth on a Points Per Game basis, and I was confident of finishing higher, considering the form we were in and the improvement seen in the side over the season.

"With a derby game and a bank holiday fixture still to play, our average home gate stood at 799, which is testament to the style of football produced by the team and also the unwavering loyal backing of you, our supporters.

"The backing we received from yourselves last season was a massive help to our young squad and on behalf of all involved, can I say a massive thank you to you all.

"We are all eternally grateful for the volunteer help we have at the club and they have all continued to help throughout the pandemic.

"Sadly we had the tremendous shock of the sudden loss of Keith Kitson since we last met and he will be sorely missed and forever remembered at the club.

"Our volunteers are the true lifeblood of this club and we would not be able to function without them.

"We value them all very highly, as we valued Keith, and it was a great testament to the family spirit of this club to see how many of you turned up to line the road outside Nethermoor as his funeral cortege passed by.

"I would also like to pay tribute to the excellent work our Community Foundation has done in the lockdown, delivering food and newspapers to the sick and elderly and even doing some gardening for those in need.

"Looking forward, these are unchartered times for football and the sporting industry as a whole.

"The FA are aiming for and are hopeful that non-league football will return in September with some form of crowd.

"Hopefully this decision will be made very soon as we wait to see what restrictions will be put in place.

"We all completely agree that football at our level should not and cannot be played behind closed doors.

"This is not only because of the financial ruin it will cause clubs across the country but also because without your support and encouragement, football is just not the same.

"Thankfully our main benefactors have very generously agreed to continue with their backing of the club.

"This, alongside the support of our sponsors and the tremendous amounts raised via the Pay It Forward CrowdFunding campaigns, has allowed us to retain the majority of last season’s squad and make some additions.

"We will announce these additions in the near future and I believe that we have strengthened wisely - only time will tell.

"We now await further instructions from the FA and the National League regarding the commencement of the 2020-21 season.

"We are preparing as much as we can in these circumstances and I am sure that when we get the green light, we will be up and running as quickly as possible.

"I am sure that you will be happy with the squad our management team are pulling together and I, for one, am looking forward to another season of growth and improvement all round."