Mark Palios says that the decision to pause the project to return supporters to football stadiums is disappointing but not devastating for Tranmere Rovers.

Fans had been hopeful of re-entering Prenton Park as early as next month, with pilots of up to 1,000 attendees already having taken place around the country last weekend. But following the government's announcement of nationwide measures designed to halt the UK's rising coronavirus infection rate, all plans have been put on hold indefinitely.

In an exclusive interview with the Globe, Tranmere chairman and co-owner Palios explains how although undoubtedly damaging, the news will not destabilise the club as it stands.

He said: “It’s disappointing because the delay to allowing fans back into the stadiums really damages the lower league teams, where 25-30% of their income comes from paying gates.

“It’s damaging because we’re not playing in front of our home fans, which is always an advantage, even though the other clubs have got the same issue. It’s also damaging for fans who have paid for season tickets and have to watch it on iFollow at this current time.

“The reality is that we will be forced to use some of the money that we have put aside to support projects – we’ll have to try and find that cash from elsewhere if we want to do those projects.

“Despite being disappointing, it’s not unexpected, with the way everything has been going. One has to understand that the safety and the health of individuals is the most important thing.

“Relative to other gatherings, football stadiums are fairly well controlled in the stadium itself. It’s pretty much a Covid safe area. You’ve got the ability to track and trace because people have got seats.

“Whilst that is the case, one of the things that is difficult to manage is of course travelling to game, using public transport etc."

Tranmere have budgeted this season to have no fans in the ground up until December. After that they have been working on a projection of 30% average gates up until the final two months of the current campaign.

Mr Palios also revealed that the English Football League had talked about the idea of a rescue package for clubs before the start of the season, but so far that has failed to materialise.

He said: “I think generally football is going towards a perfect storm because the way people have survived over the summer has been filling the gap by pulling forwards future revenues.

“They gave distributions from central funding early and in addition to that some clubs have been delaying creditors like PAYE and VAT.

“The government furlough scheme was massively helpful but players have now been pulled back off it and the scheme is disappearing anyway.

“There was talking about a rescue package. It was supposedly not long away but that was about six or seven weeks ago. There is another meeting about that this week or next, but whether that transpires, we’ll wait and see.

“It’s something that the chair of the EFL said he was working on night and day. We had a conference call before they put forward the suggestion that we should start on September 12, or even August 29. There was no option not to start.

“The indication is that in a few weeks there would be a rescue package. Well there isn’t one. We’ve never counted on a rescue package We’ve always been of the assumption that we really had to look after ourselves and if it comes along then that’s good.

“If you solve your problem by not paying your creditors, at some stage those creditors are going to come asking for the cash.

Tranmere's budget for the season was boosted by unwavering support from their fans, who snapped up over 3,000 season tickets without even knowing if they would be allowed back into Prenton Park. But despite that show of strength up front, it also means that when supporters do eventually return, Rovers won't make an additional penny from ticket sales until they are allowed more than 3,000 spectators back in the stadium, whilst still incurring the all the usual match day costs and additional ones, such as managing social distancing.

Despite these huge challenges, Palios insists that the Birkenhead club is braced to weather the storm and can survive pandemic, albeit prior knowledge on the government's restrictions may well having alter their summer spending strategy.

He added: “At Tranmere, we’ve got reserves, but we wanted to use the reserves for other things. We budgeted in that regard to ensure that the club was safe.

“We worked out very early on what we could and couldn’t do and we could exist during the season. It’s fair to say that we if we’d had that scenario right from the start we wouldn’t have basically signed up the players that we have, it’s as simple as that.

“That does make a difference and it makes it difficult but on the basis that we still get central funding at the levels that they’re talking about, which I think we will, we can manage through.

“It causes us damage. We’d rather be spending cash on projects and continue to develop the club. But the short answer is that we are in no danger of going under, at this point in time."