Competitive football kicked off at the club for the first time in months this week with the Academy beginning their league season and the ladies and youth getting back into training with a few friendly matches.
Our Academy remains one of our unsung success stories being one of the clubs involved in the relatively new Southern League Football Academy programme. As well as creating a full time, post 16 football and education programme it completely fits with our ethos of developing younger players and being a club for our community. After an impressive 3-0 win over Rushall Olympic this week, our Academy currently proudly sit top of their league table – Great work, and plenty of exciting young talent coming through.
The success of our Ladies set-up is also often overlooked by those that just focus on the First XI results and fixtures, but in the bigger picture of football in our community the Ladies are actually leading the way and setting the example. They were back in action this week with the First XI recording a 5-2 friendly win at Denham, whilst there were also wins for the Under 18’s (10-1), Under 14’s and Under 12’s; the Under 14’s Reds drew with Aylesbury whilst the Under 11’s lost out to a last minute goal in a 3-2 defeat against Chalfont St Peter.
However, perhaps the real story from the Ladies age groups this week came at the very top level of the Ladies Academy system with Arsenal Academy beating Chelsea 3-1. Why is that relevant you might ask? Well, two of the Arsenal goals were scored by Amelia Bloom who was playing in our Under 16’s squad, and played in our youth set-up, before moving to Arsenal in 2020. What a fantastic story.
Meanwhile, the first team squad were back in training this week, by all accounts delighted to see each other, test their fitness and start preparation for perhaps the longest pre-season ever!
Lots of repair work has gone into the ground over the last week with drains being cleared and dug out. Elsewhere, the Bar was flooded due to failure of the ice making machine, so we have had to purchase a brand new one, but this was within our budget for facilities maintenance, so we are able to cope with that.
With thanks to our sponsors Rivans Electrical, we have now completed the installation of our safety lights around the ground and car park, making visitors feel much safer when visiting the ground or clubhouse of an evening. A very worthwhile investment, thank you also to the Supporters Trust for their contribution towards this project.
We have also now put in a planning application for our new commercial contract to permit the use of some of our car parking spaces by an outside business, including a new office pod. As mentioned previously, following feedback from supporters regarding parking, we are looking at offering a limited number of pre-booked matchday parking spaces to help those supporters that need to be able to park close to the ground, and arriving early is not practical. We have already had five people take up the offer, more details will be available as part of the Early Bird season ticket application offer that will be coming out next week.
We are just finalising details and preparing documents for the early bird offer, which will be available for 4 weeks from the date of despatch from the club either by email or post and then there will be a second offer period for a further four weeks, and then it will be full price after that so please get your orders in early.
Thank you for your support, stay safe and remember that The Chess Suite will be open this weekend so be sure to pop along for a pint at one of our outside tables and enjoy a couple of pints being served to you in a wonderful setting.