We are delighted to have been able to open up the ground and The Chess Suite over recent weekends to enable supporters to come along and safely enjoy a drink and a bite to eat chatting to old friends from a safe distance. Initially, the bar has been open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 6pm, but this week we’ll be opening up at 6pm for an open training session this coming Thursday 30th July starting at 7pm and finishing by 9pm. If you do feel happy to do so, come along and support the Chess Suite.

Due to current restrictions there will only be limited seating allowed inside the venue and a queue system to access the bar and take drinks outside. There is plenty of room on the terraces though to enjoy a socially distanced drink. Entry will be via the ground and the pitch-side doors rather than the usual Chess Suite entrance – come into the ground through the gates near the clubhouse and follow the signage.

Due to the current government guidelines for Covid19, the viewing area will be limited to the terrace on the main stand side of the ground. Please do not visit the Chess Suite if you’re feeling unwell or have a temperature, consistent cough or loss of smell/taste, please isolate and follow government guidelines about Test & Trace.

A special message from JD & Muzza!

We hope everyone is safe and well, we would like to thank every one of our staff, the supporters, club sponsors, volunteers, players all of whom have played such a massive role in a successful season. We have been in close contact with the club, staff and players over the last few weeks and we wish all supporters the very best in this troubling times and we will hopefully see you at the Meadow soon. During this difficult time, it’s important we realise how we take things for granted and the impact football has on our lives and communities. When this is over, it will be great to see everyone again and watch a game of football.

Congratulations go to Brian McCarthy, who has stepped down as Chairman and we are delighted he is staying at the club as Club President. Brian has been a fantastic servant to the club, a fantastic friend to us as managers and we wish him well in his new role.

Our season is officially over and what a fantastic campaign it was, we were always aiming for a top 5 finish and we were well on track for this and more. The players have represented the club brilliantly this season, scoring in every game and returning 70 league goals with 9 games remaining was a fantastic achievement. Reaching the Southern League Cup final was a brilliant achievement, with a two legged final to come against tough opposition, it would have been a tough tie but one we would of relished with silverware on the line.

The decision made by the FA to null and void the season is disappointing but in the grand scheme of things I think all of us will just be happy to return back to normality at the end of this crisis. The FA’s decision has left the Non-League world with many questions but seeing everyone fit and healthy again is the ultimate goal now.

Club volunteers and the Supporters Trust will be working hard behind the scenes over the summer to make sure we are back fully operational next year, as the club has lost out on regularly match day football incomes and other incomes.

Again, putting all the above into perspective I think we will take it all to see our loved ones, get back to normality and watch a good game of football. We hope to see you all safe and well soon and look forward to you getting behind the team again.

Stay safe

JD and Muzza

#OneClubCheshamUnited

Ahead of the start of the Southern Premier South season opener against Salisbury on Saturday, we spoke to James Duncan (JD) and Michael Murray (Muzza) at the Open Training and Meet the Managers evening.

The evening started off with the managers thanking everyone at the club and all the supporters for their support last season, after they joined in October the support they received was phenomenal. James Duncan added that “the support off the field was a big part of helping us stay up comfortably in the end with only 4 defeats in 31 league games which they are really pleased about”

After a quick introduction, there was a few questions from the evening’s compere Giles Stevenson.

Aim’s & Ambitions for the season?
JD After last season, first aim is to improve on last season’s finishing position and a top 10 finish as a minimum, we would be bitterly disappointed if we didn’t reach that. We believe the squad we’ve put together have the ability to make the top 5 if we get some luck with injuries.

Teams to watch this season?
JD Normally when you look at a league table pre-season, you can normally spot one team that is the early favourites to go on to win, last year there was Weymouth in our league and Dorking in the Isthmian League – both went up in the end. This season, the league doesn’t have that standout favourite with 4 teams who look to be early joint-favourites (Salisbury, Taunton, Poole, Gosport)

Muzza agreed with JD about the sides to watch and added “From what we saw last season, the biggest difference in this league between the sides that finish top 10 and top 5 is their fitness. Lots of teams in this league have got quality players, the top teams last year had quality but also were the fittest sides, we’ve spent a lot of time this pre-season getting the lads ready for the level of fitness that is required”

Squad update?
We’ve managed to retain most of last seasons squad with 2 players departing at the start of the summer; Luke Warner-Eley has stepped up a level to Dartford and we think he’ll do well at that level but would have loved to keep him and Lewis Rolfe going to Cambridge City.

With the lads that have stayed, we’ve got a really strong nucleus of a squad. We had one of the best CB partnerships in the league last season and have strengthened that even further with Mark Kirby joining from Haringey – Kirbs is hugely experienced at this level and will fit in well. We’ve also added firepower at the top of the pitch with Dernell Wynter and Karl Olyide joining to help us convert draws into wins.

We’ve been lucky to stay injury free during pre-season so have a full strength squad available for Saturday, we’ll train for the last time of pre-season on Wednesday with a few spots in the starting XI still up for grabs.

Biggest surprise pre-season?
Muzza All the lads have been superb this season, I guess picking one out Jefferson Louis has come back in great condition for his age

Best result last season?
JD Home game against Frome, we won 2-1 after not playing particularly well but managed to get a result after a string of draws. First home win with late goals from Jeff and Pearcey
Muzza The 5-0 win away at Dorchester

Best moment in football? Highlight of your playing career
Muzza Best is yet to come as manager. As a player – promotion with Potters Bar.
JD As a player it has to be playing the FA Vase final with Hillingdon Borough. As a manager, winning promotion with Potters Bar two seasons ago was pretty special.

Any priorities given to different competitions?
All the competitions are important, league is possibly the priority but the prize money available with the FA Cup / Trophy is important for clubs at this level. FA Cup/Trophy are one off games that can create great memories for the players and club

Long term vision for the club?
JD/Muzza To get promoted, always the aim wherever we have been as players or as managers.

The evening was then opened up to questions from the supporters in attendance.

What was recruitment like over the summer and how did it differ to Potters Bar?
One of the big things is the additional travelling in the Southern League, its the first thing a lots of player ask about as its considerably higher than the Bostik League last season but we’ve got a group of players that are keen to buy into the project.

In terms of contacts as young managers, we’ve got a lot of quality players that they’ve played with or against as a starter and also have good contacts in higher divisions.

Are you happy with the squad?
Ye, really happy with what we’ve put together. No manager ever shuts the door to new players coming in but we’re now at the point where we would only sign players better than what we’ve already got.

Who is this years captain and who’s on penalties?
Captain – Steve Brown
Vice – lots of leaders in the dressing room
Penalty – got a few possible takers, we’ll tell the lads before each game who’s on pens.

To finish off the evening, couple of questions were asked to Jefferson Louis and Steve Brown about the preseason and training sessions?
Jeff – Everyone know’s I’ve had a lot of clubs but this has been one of the best, really enjoyed this pre-season more than anywhere else. Steve Brown – the lads have been brilliant pre-season and we’re all ready to go on Saturday

Thank you to everyone who came on Monday night and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday as we start the season at home to Salisbury.

Good Afternoon and welcome back to the Meadow.

With how the cancelled games have falling it seems like a long time ago I have had to write these notes. Since we have last spoken we have played five games gaining 3 wins and 2 draws.

Our first draw coming at home to Hartley Wintney. A game we again believe we should have won, on the day their goalkeeper was superb and gained MOM. Our two goals come from two set pieces, Steve Brown and Adam Martin trying to stake a claim for the goals. A hint of an own goal in there somewhere I believe!

Moving on from this and having drawn the previous four games, it was important we gained a win and a precious 3 points. This came against Basingstoke at home, a team who play some superb football. It was a game where the boys had to be switched on at all times. We dug in and got the three points with goals from Dave Pearce and Eoin Casey.

Going into the game on Saturday against Frome, with the gap being 4 points and Frome sitting second bottom, it was important that we gave a solid performance. On the day we were brilliant, defended superbly and looked a constant threat going forward on a unhelpful pitch. A penalty from Dave Pearce and a good header from Eoin Casey gave us the three points, both goals assisted by the Man of the Match on the day Ryan Blake. On not such a positive note it was unfortunate that we lost our captain Steve Brown to a shoulder injury, Lewis Rolfe stepped into cover at centre back and gave a faultless display.

Tuesday night we entertained Gosport, another game with the opposition in and around our league position. In truth the game was not a great one, we worked hard and battled away and fortunately got the breakthrough in the 81st minute through B.Clayton. A knockdown from J.Louis which was superbly finished into the bottom corner. Another clean sheet to add to the tally that is forever building.

Saturday brought us to Swindon Supermarine away. A team that have picked up some good results since we last played them at home. We scored a perfectly good goal in my opinion within the first couple of minutes, only to see it disallowed by the linesman, which was disappointing considering not one person in the ground appealed. A sending off gave us the advantage but to be honest we never really looked like breaking them down. With 10 men, Swindon sat very deep and on the day we struggled to find enough creativity to get the 3 points. We did get very fortunate at the other end of the pitch with B.Goode saving another penalty, believe this is his 3rd penalty saves from the last 3.

This run of games brings us to an impressive 13 games unbeaten run, something we are proud of but know all too well that we need to keep pushing to gain safety as soon as possible.

Today we face in my opinion one the best teams we have played since we have taken over. Their attacking threats for me are the best in the league, they have pace on both wings and both forwards are capable of being a handful for any defenders at the level. And they are a team who are chasing down the last playoff position.

With the game being at the Meadow we will be slightly confident if we can turn in a good solid display some points will be there for the taking.

I hope you all enjoy the game and thank you for your continued support.

Up the Chesh!