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Manager's Report - July 2008

We are back in Pre Season training, and the sessions have been excellent in terms of the application of the players. There has been a good atmosphere about the place, and the players are looking in great shape.

It has been a relatively quiet summer, so far, in terms of player movement. We have retained the majority of the playing squad from last season, which is great news. It gives us the chance to develop further as a group, and to improve on last season’s showing. We know the League now, and what to expect in terms of playing styles. The new teams in the League will present a challenge, and I expect to see the top teams from last season up there competing for promotion again.

The only departures to date are Michael Sharman, Richard Hayward and John Lawford (retired)., but we may still lose a couple more as players weigh up their options. Michael and Richard both have young families and wanted to play Ryman League football to be nearer to home. We moved quickly to cover Richards’s loss by signing Bobby Smith from Cheshunt. He is a young GK I know well from my local area, and I have watched him a number of times. We believe he has great potential and he will develop through working with Steve Hurd. I appreciate the backing of the Chairman on this signing, as I think there would have been plenty of interest if he had been circulated for transfer.

There will be some other new faces at Pre Season. Josh Cooper has agreed to join us from Cheshunt. I have managed him before, and he has developed into an exciting player, having been at Tottenham for a number of years as a youngster. Michael Underwood, a young GK from Berkhamsted, has been training with us, and looks the player we thought he was when we played against them last year. We have also seen Ed Chemlal again now he is recovered from injury, and he is keen to make up for lost time. George Coyle and Matt Hall have been welcome faces at Pre Season, but they will be off to study again in September.   There may also be one or two surprise faces in the pre season sessions, as we consider what we need for this level of football. We want to add some competition to the squad, but at the same time we want players who are keen to develop and play for the club, as we try to build a team for the next level.

We identified a couple of key players we would like to bring in, but as yet nothing has materialised. It follows the pattern of previous summers and I am not overly concerned at this stage. As usual, the market place for Players has been distorted with Clubs, especially at this level, offering ridiculous wages and incentives. I think I know the market place well enough to know who is genuine and who is not, but some players do have their heads turned easily. As I said last summer, patience is the key. We still hope to add another forward to increase our options. Phil Turner requires a hernia operation, to continue his unfortunate run with injuries, but we are hopeful he will be operated on sooner rather than later. John Lawford has recently had an operation on his groin, and now he is back in circulation, we are talking about an ongoing role for him within the management team. This will have to fit around John’s other commitments, but I hope we can retain his experience and knowledge within the club.

On other matters, Justin Moseley has left us and taken over as manager of Brimsdown Rovers in the SSML. We remain in close contact, and I hope he makes a real success of his opportunity .We have announced the link with Amersham, which will see us jointly operating a new Reserve team. I am delighted that Bob Hatcher has agreed to manage this team, and it will provide a clear pathway for Chesham and Amersham players (and all local players), to progress to Senior football.

The Pre Season games are all agreed, and will provide us with the type of tests we require as we look forward to the new season. I hope to see you at some of the games, and I will endeavour to keep you advised on player movements as they happen.

Andy Leese (Manager)