Many in the Highland League wondered if there was going to be a new season.
But the start of the new term on Saturday will bring a sense of relief and anticipation, giving football back to communities after eight months without it.
However, there will also be a scepticism about how the campaign could pan out.
It will not be a familiar campaign for those involved, with only half of the traditional fixture list being scheduled and one of the league’s regulars – Forres Mechanics – opting not to compete.
The decision by the Can-Cans to take a year out has been put down to health and financial concerns.
It took some by surprise, but there was also a degree of understanding, given the travelling between areas in different levels of the Scottish Government’s coronavirus restrictions.
Forres have agreed to release players from their contracts on the condition of a verbal agreement that they will come back next season when Mechanics resume playing.
Joe Gauld (Huntly), Ryan Farquhar and Aaron Hamilton (Deveronvale) and James Ross (Golspie Sutherland) have all found new clubs, while Allan McPhee is also in-demand.
But they will not have been alone in having those concerns.
Uncertainty over when supporters might be back into grounds and the financial shortfall that creates will weigh heavily on the minds of chairmen and directors across the league.
Players agreeing to play for expenses only will be a godsend to many and a sign of how determined the players are to get back into action.
Some will have been very well-remunerated by their respective clubs and for them to forego that will not have been an easy decision.
Speaking to players, managers and club officials over the last week – to compile our Highland League supplement – in general you garnered a sense of excitement over the league resuming on Saturday.
The situation has been out of everyone’s control and when the first lockdown was imposed there may have been an assumption it would be a temporary thing.
However, the Highland League took a bold step, which the rest of Scotland was soon to follow, in declaring the season over in the middle of March and naming Brora Rangers as champions.
They delayed the start of the season in September to allow for spectators coming in and there were fears they may have to shelve the November 28 date as well.
But with 11 of the 16 clubs being able to welcome spectators back to their stadiums, they agreed to forge a path forward and get the season under way.
With a campaign of just 15 league games and a smattering of cup games, it is going to be a sprint to the finish line.
A strong start for any team could see it in contention for a finish which might have been unfathomable in a regular season.
But success this season will be subjective.
To some, just getting the first game under way when Saturday comes around will be a triumph in itself.