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Manager's Report - 24th June 2010

The close season has been a busy and interesting time as ever. It has upto now been the usual routine of gossip, hype, clubs selling the dream to players, and, not surprisingly, players at all levels weighing up their options in this changing financial and economic climate. I have learnt that patience is the key each summer to build a balanced squad and as importantly, secure the right type of players that fit with the philosophy we have as a Management team and as a club. We have a nucleus of excellent players, many of whom have played at the level we are at, a great spirit in the dressing room, and players who are here for the right reasons. That is important as much for Chesham supporters as for the rest of us. They do not want to see wholesale changes as they did the last time the club was in this Division. We have spent 3 years slowly building the squad, and the continuity means we do not have to add too much each close season. That said, we have stepped up a level, and we want to be competitive in the new division. We have to operate within our means as the club has done successfully for the last few years. It means we might miss out on new players, and we might lose some current ones. I know we will have players coming back to us after the summer frenzy has been and gone because Chesham United Football Club is a great place to play football, the support is excellent, the playing surface is first class, players like the environment we create here, the way we like to play, and they are well looked after.

All that said, I am delighted we have secured the majority of last years promotion winning squad for the coming season. I will detail the squad as we settle into pre season, but last season's Captain, Danny Talbot, has committed to us, and will be Club Captain again this season. He was a major influence on the pitch last year after he returned to the club, and he galvanized the squad as we pushed on in the second half of the season. A lot is made these days of a captain's role, but Danny has the respect of myself and the players and does the job in a very professional manner. He will relish the new level, as will leading scorer Steve Wales who has agreed contract terms this week. When we signed Steve last summer, I said we would get the best out of him and I was right. His contribution was rightly recognized at the end of the season by players and supporters alike. He attracted plenty of interest as good players do, but I have an understanding with him built up over a number of years and he appreciates we allow him to play his natural game. I have singled Dan and Steve out, but most of the key players will be returning and I will confirm them shortly. I am still waiting on a couple of players where holidays have taken precedence, but I hope to have terms agreed early next week. We have been busy speaking with new players, and I have agreed terms with 2 new players to join us next week. It would be premature to name them at this stage, but they are quality experienced players who will significantly strengthen the squad. I hope to add a couple more over the course of the next few weeks, and I am sure supporters will recognize what we are trying to do. I also have a number of players coming in next week on a trial basis, all of whom have the pedigree to make it at our level.   

We have seen a couple of departures. Danny Burnell has left the club as you will have seen elsewhere. Nick Leach has informed me that he will not be returning this season, and Richard Hayward likewise. I believe they will be staying in the division we have just left, and they have their reasons for doing that. I appreciate their services over recent seasons, but it gives an opportunity for someone else to come in and make their mark. A turnover of players is to be expected each summer at this level, its how you replace them that matters.

We are starting pre-season training and preparation next week, and the planning is well under way. We have a game against Wycombe which falls earlier than usual, so we need to get some quality sessions in over short period of time. Our pre-season programme last year was the best I have known, and we had chance to pick up on some of that work again last Christmas when the bad weather came in. I believe the detailed approach we took, served us well, and gave us the performances we needed in the second half of the season. We will be joined by the Reserve and Youth teams as the pre season progresses. If you missed the Open Meeting recently at the club, we have brought Geoff Glasgow in to manage the Suburban League team, and Gary Breeden will continue the excellent work he has done with the Youth team. We have had plenty of interest from young players wanting to join us, and Geoff and Gary both know the type of player we are looking to develop.
I will keep you updated over the next few weeks as the pre season takes shape.


Andy Leese (Manager)