Whitehaven chairman Tommy Todd admitted he was emotional when he had to lock the gates at the Recreation Ground.

The club went into lockdown mode on Friday lunchtime and Todd, who heads a temporary management committee of directors, supervised the closure.

He told me: “I am a slightly emotional person but I didn’t think that it would upset me closing down the ground.

“However, locking everything and shutting everything off was like saying goodbye to a very dear friend.”

The main gate at the Recreation Ground will be locked at all times and access by vehicle will be curtailed, with office opening hours set for Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10.00am to 2.00pm.

Todd said that casual recreational use of the ground had stopped, as had training for the players.

“We have some elderly chaps who come down most days, walk round the ground and have a general chat. It’s been open house for them over a number of years, but that will have to stop I’m afraid,” he explained.

On days when the office is open visitors must ring from the main gate and someone from the club will be in touch.

Copeland Borough Council have cancelled the market until further notice and Whitehaven had a stall on Thursdays to sell their replica goods.

Anyone requiring club merchandise have been asked to visit the club office at the allotted hours, or order online.

All board meetings have been cancelled until further notice.

Day to day management of the club will be entrusted to a specific number of directors, along with the team manager Des Byrne and commercial manager Tracy McCann.

Todd said: “The temporary management committee will take all decisions that need to be made, in the immediate future.

“The Lottery will continue as normal and some new protocols will be put in place.

“On finance, the club will use all its best endeavours to carry on in the best interests of the club. However, we realise that this will be a trying time for all of us.”