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Interviews

Close: Not Worth The Risk

Midfielder understands the importance of social distancing

7 May 2020

Ben Close in action for Pompey against Peterborough
Photo: Joe Pepler/PinPep

The current coronavirus pandemic means plenty of us have had to abandon planned events with family and friends.

And Ben Close is among them, with the pandemic forcing him to cancel a surprise birthday party for his mum.

It was a week that ended with the midfielder and his team-mates arriving at the training ground to prepare for a scheduled game against Accrington.

The date was Friday, March 13 and the squad would promptly be sent home to await testing as football was suspended, with the lockdown following soon after.

It was also the day that Close had to inform his mother that a celebration she was unaware of could not go ahead.

He said: “That was when it actually dawned me just how serious this virus was going to turn out to be.”

“Having to phone Mum up and tell her the party was cancelled was tough – even if she didn’t know it was happening at the time.

“Given the reasons for calling it off, she was happy and disappointed at the same time, but I promised there will be one when we are out of this – whether it be later this year or next.

“I just remember thinking that after all the planning, I couldn’t risk it, while a few days earlier a social gathering was something we all took for granted.

"What with the suspension of football on the same day, along with some of our lads testing positive, there were no doubts as to the severity of what we were facing."

Ben Close

“As we found out in the days that followed, it was absolutely the right decision – as tough as it was to make.

“What with the suspension of football on the same day, along with some of our lads testing positive, there were no doubts as to the severity of what we were facing.”

It has been almost two months since Pompey last took to the pitch and Close is missing the feeling of taking to the pitch.

He said: “A period like this comes along and it really does serve as a reminder not to take what you have for granted.

“With no live sport of any description, I’ve been grateful to be able to watch the various football documentaries that are around.

“It’s been taken out of our lives and obviously, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the most important thing.

“We all understand that, of course, but it’s still a big miss in our lives – it what me and the rest of the lads do.

“However long it takes, we have to get the world right before we can think about restarting football again.

“It’s going to be such a sweet feeling when we are back training together and then playing again. We just have to look forward to that day.”


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