I would like to begin by saying, that I hope everyone connected with the Football Club had a very Merry Christmas and as we look forward to 2019, I wish you all a prosperous New Year. It’s that time of year again where we take stock of the year, look back on the good times, reflect on the bad and look forward to 2019 with a sense of renewed hope and resolve.
When Jon, Scott & Mark left, we were faced with a decision that this club has not had to make for over a decade at a critical time for the club. As a board, we received many quality applications for the role, but felt that we wanted to appoint a new management team that would be able to resolve our short-term issues and keep us in the division this year as well meeting our long-term objectives on the field. When we made the move to secure the young, talented, local management duo in James Duncan & Michael Murray from Potters Bar, it was an appointment made to bring fresh ideas, new energy and revitalise the dressing room as we look to progress to the Conference South in the future.
We are already starting to see the fruits of the appointment with a strong start under the new managers. The supporters that attended the Meet The Manager evening in November, will I am sure, have been impressed with the honesty and enthusiasm that James and Michael showed, they have brought new energy into the squad and are proving to be the perfect fit for the club as they build a team that encourages young youth players into first team football, surrounded by some more experienced heads to help them on the journey.
Chesham United, like all ambitious non-league clubs are looking to the future as we work to build a pathway and community ethos at the club. It was fantastic to see many members of our Youth & Ladies clubs join us for Non-League Day against Salisbury where they contributed to a fantastic & exuberant crowd of 612. As part of our footballing pathway, we will be relaunching an academy programme for 16-18-year olds in September 2019. Joining the Southern League’s Football Academy programme is a key part of the long-term plan to make the club sustainable and develop our own crop of first team players from the fantastic pool of talent that exists in the local area. The first set of trials for the academy took place in October and were a fantastic success, with a second trial date set for the 10th January at the Meadow, running from 5.45pm to 7pm.
Once again, our youth section has gone from strength to strength with 360 children playing football on Saturday & Sunday mornings in the Claret & Blue colours of the Generals. With 27 teams playing from Under 5s to Under 18s age groups. Our annual tournament was once again a success with teams from across the country. Recently they ran a fantastic race night compered by local comedian Alex Horne to close the season. Keep an eye on their website for news of other fantastic events and some of the fantastic work they do in the community.
Chesham United Ladies having secured promotion last season, have really stepped up to the FA Women’s National League with some great performances. They currently sit 4th in the table having played half of their games and with a run of home matches in January / February are aiming to consolidate and improve their league position over this period. Their next match is on Sunday 6th January at 2:00pm at The Meadow. The Ladies U18s team were entered in the B&B Women’s Senior Trophy for the first time, beating Taplow Ladies in their first-round match 4-0. They are due to play Thatcham Ladies in the quarter finals on 20th January. With the first team drawn away to Maidenhead Ladies in the semi-final of the Berks & Bucks Women’s Senior Cup, as well as teams from U10 to U18 we have over 120 girls playing regular competitive football every week.
Off the field, we continue to work hard as a club to bring in the income needed to sustain the level we all enjoy, it is tough, but any help, support or ideas are always appreciated. Whether that is an offer of help, sponsorship or even the passing on of leads & contacts and helping us to spread the word. A range of sponsorship options are available from pitch-side boards to programme adverts. We have a few player sponsorships available still at a cost of £50 with key first teamers Kieran Murphy and Jefferson Louis among those available still. Big thank you as well to all of our current sponsors. For more info on the sponsorship packages available, contact Tina at firstname.lastname@example.org
During 2019, we are looking at new ways to communicate with supporters and the wider community, to make this happen we are looking for some assistance with social media and one of they key elements to that is someone to film our games so that we can produce highlights and interviews with the management and players. If you can help or know someone that can, please get in contact with Tina Reading at email@example.com
The ambition of the club is still very much to look at the potential of moving to a new ground with improved facilities, and the ability to generate a regular income that can make the club self-sustainable. It is a slow process, but it is continuing, and a huge amount of time and effort is still going into the process dealing with the legal aspects that will enable us to move on to the next stage and start looking at planning permission applications. As a Board we appreciate it may seem to have gone quiet on that front, but there is genuinely no news to share at this stage, but we are still working tirelessly with solicitors to keep things moving forward. We will keep supporters up to date with any major developments at the appropriate time.
Finally, I would like to thank the volunteers for all their hard work and dedication that it takes to put a game on and a team out every week. From making sure we meet our obligations to the league and the FA, to producing content for the programme, selling the programmes on a matchday, manning the turnstiles and running our social media account & websites for those supporters who cannot make a game and to keep you up to date on the latest news. You will have seen some fantastic changes and some great work by those volunteers who look after the boardroom and the Chess Suite to provide a fantastic matchday experience for supporters, opposition officials and sponsors. But one of the unsung jobs at the club is keeping the ground tidy and carrying out minor maintenance jobs, for which we would be lost without Maverick who does a fantastic job. All are unsung heroes who play a part in the running of the club week in week out on a voluntary basis, who keep the club going are the absolute heartbeat of it. As Chairman, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Hopefully you will have noticed that the car park lighting has been improved recently thanks to a donation from the Supporters Trust, and fitted for free by Club Sponsor Jack Rivans, of Rivans Electrical. They have also installed CCTV inside and outside the Meadow for your safety and security.
Personally, I’m going into the New Year with a real sense of excitement over what the future holds and hope you can join us at Hendon on New Year’s Day to cheer the lads on as we look to kick start our 2019.
Yours in football,