IAN Evatt fears many more football clubs could go over the financial cliff if today’s pilot scheme to get fans back into stadiums does not work out. 

The Wanderers boss is concerned that Macclesfield Town’s demise this week will not be an isolated case as football struggles to cope financially during the pandemic without people coming through the turnstiles. 

Bolton have not had a supporter inside the University of Bolton Stadium since February and with the town in local lockdown thanks to a worrying spike in coronavirus cases the club will not be able to participate in the EFL’s pilot scheme to reintroduce small numbers of fans. 

Seven selected clubs will bring in a maximum 1,000 socially distanced supporters to their grounds today, with further tests expected during this month. 

Evatt and everyone else in football is keeping their fingers crossed that the pilot scheme is a success – for the alternative is unthinkable. 

“Football clubs just can’t survive without supporters, they just can’t,” said the Bolton head coach. “Where do we go from here? I don’t know. 

“The virus seems to be getting worse and I have noticed in France they have had 5,000 in games, so there may be some chance to work around it, I don’t know. 

“We have to find a solution quickly. We cannot get to next season or the end of this season without supporters in the stadium.” 

Today’s opponents Colchester United released four first team players last season to reduce costs, including a man who ended up with Wanderers, Brandon Comley. 

The decision – made with the U’s still in the play-off positions and waiting to see if the competition would be restarted – highlighted the precarious nature of football finance, says the Whites boss. 

“I was surprised at the time but clubs have to do what they can to survive. We’ve seen the awful news about Macclesfield, another club which has gone by the wayside. 

“The longer this goes on behind closed doors and without supporters, you have to fear for many more. We need to get ourselves out of this situation as soon as possible to give our football clubs a chance. 

“They released four of their better players, in my opinion, but have replaced them now and kept hold of the majority of the players who got them to the play-offs, so they have still got some very good players at that club.”