Savage is not looking for personal praise, he is just trying to do what he thinks is right and what, in most people’s mind, makes sense.

“I’m saying all this as a volunteer dad,” he explained. “I became a coach because my son started playing football, like most parents do. Manchester Junior Football League has had around 3,300 games, from under sevens to under 16s, since the start of the season and there have been three positive cases.

“When children have missed games it’s because their year or bubbles at school have had an infection and they have been asked to isolate.

“We do track and trace, we do hand sanitisation, we do temperature checks. We limit to one adult per child and, worst case scenario, we can make it parents only drop off and pick up only. With three of four coaches, who are DBS checked and have their coaching badges, safeguarding won’t be an issue. Or they can sit in their cars.

“People say, it [has to stop] because of parents travelling to games, but that can be taken out of the equation. I’ve seen no evidence from the government, no graph, that Covid spreads in grass-roots outdoor sports.

“It’s right schools are staying open, education is vitally important. Oliver Dowden says this decision is to prevent mixing of households, but my Freddie can mix with 29 other households on the school bus, he can mix with his year group, which is one bubble and there are 150 kids in that bubble so that’s another 149 different households.

“They can play football at school and then sit in the classroom indoors with all these different households and then after school, the whole school mixes outside leaving, waiting for buses and so on.

“Every argument they make, they haven’t got a clue. They don’t know what they are doing. I’m not as clever as these people, I haven’t had the same education as these people, I get that.

“But I’ll tell you what if I was in charge of this I would be speaking to the people involved in grass-roots sport, asking them what precautions they have in place and how they can make it work, how the track and trace works and so on.

“It can be Covid secure and as safe as it can possibly be. They don’t listen to people who know how grass-roots sport works. How many of these people in Government have ever been grass-root sport volunteers?

“Come and speak to us, I have no faith in this Government. This isn’t just about football, it’s about all grass-roots sports. Speak to us.

“If they decided to shut down like they did last time and the schools were shut, fine, we could all understand that. But the schools are open. We could have had the two week circuit break over half term, but they refused to do that. Now we’ve got 28 days and probably more.”

And Savage pointed out this is not the first time the Government have failed to listen to advice from those in sport who have experienced the full impact of their refusal to listen.

“I’m sure Marcus Rashford would back this,” he added. “They didn’t listen to him, and what a wonderful young man he is, talking about child poverty.

“He started in grass-roots sport. We all did. Why won’t they listen to us on this? In its own way, this is just as important as child poverty.

“We’ve got an obesity crisis in this country. We need to keep kids active for their mental and physical health. Every argument people come up to say it should be shut down, there is an answer. This decision needs to be changed.”

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