Just a week to go now until Christmas, it is an overused phrase but, really, where has the time gone?

Is it really 12 months since our football was in lockdown and we had no idea when we will be playing our next match? So much has happened since then, the vaccination roll out has been incredible, yet still we are heading into uncertain times with sporting fixtures at all levels being postponed due to COVID outbreaks, we can but hope and pray that we do not fall back into the terrible situation of twelve months ago with overcrowded hospitals and football league campaigns being made null and void.

For us on the field it has been an amazing turnaround of fortunes, back in October I was being quizzed by many caring supporters about the ability of our management duo to take us forward after such a disappointing start to the campaign. I asked people to keep the faith, as a board we resisted the temptation to hit the panic button and as a result, with players returning from injury and the squad settling down, we have turned into genuine promotion contenders once more. A huge credit to James and Michael, I repeat my statements earlier in the season – we are very lucky to have them.

Our Christmas present for supporters has arrived 8 days early this year as, today we are delighted to announce the signing of Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick. Shaquille is an exciting wide player who joins from Hayes & Yeading United and I’m sure is well known to our supporters having played for Hendon & Salisbury in recent seasons before joining Hayes last summer. Shaquille is a player that I know that the management have been tracking for a long time now and we are delighted to have him on board.

Last weekend saw another fine performance in beating Harrow Borough 4-0 away from home, that is now eight games undefeated, and we are just coming into form at the right time as we approach the busy Christmas period. Tomorrow we welcome to Taunton to The Meadow for another league game, with our crowds being less than 4,000 there is no requirement for vaccination passes or proof of a negative test, but obviously, as much as I want to see everyone at the game, if you are feeling unwell, please do take a test before coming along to the game – Christmas is too close now to take any risks.

Some very good news on the subject of health, I am delighted to confirm that turnstile operator George Adams is out of hospital and back at home. As a club we are putting together a Christmas/Welcome Home hamper for George, any donations will be gladly welcomed, and I know that Tanya has a huge jar of sweets behind the bar that we will be raffling off to raise funds for this. It is great to see George back home, hopefully not too long before we can welcome him back to The Meadow.

In the boardroom, I am delighted to announce that we have at last made another signing for the club. We are extremely happy to welcome Chris Kay to the Board as our Commercial Director and he will be working closely with all members of our management committee to take the club forward. Chris lives just 10 minutes from the ground in Chesham Bois and he was born in Amersham Hospital, the first game he attended was a certain fixture at Wembley in 1968 and he has been a supporter ever since. For his sins he is also a QPR supporter, so that means the board has two of them, with Southampton, Huddersfield and Watford also represented as Directors’ “other clubs”.

Chris’ arrival is fantastic for the club and gives us much more strength and depth, but it does not stop here as we are looking to strengthen the board even further. So, if you have the time and enthusiasm and love genuine football come and talk to us, we will listen to you and what you want to do to help us to achieve our goals. I will always reply to emails sent to chairman@cheshamunited.co.uk.

Looking ahead to next season, it is that time once again when we need to start thinking about our kit design and once again we will be opening it up for you, the supporters, to send us your design ideas. The best design will be chosen at the end of January, so please get your entries in by then, with the winning designer receiving a free shirt presented to them on the day that the shirt is revealed. So, get your colouring pens out and send all entries to chairman@cheshamunited.co.uk

A big shout out also to our Ladies team whose FA Cup exploits came to an end last week with a heavy defeat against Billericay, that takes nothing away from what has been an excellent journey and no doubt enables them to concentrate on the league!

I’d also like to give a shout out to our media team who continue to do an excellent job and in recent weeks have added post-match interviews with players and management after matches. If you have not yet seen these videos on YouTube, be sure to follow the club’s Twitter account, @cheshamutdfc for details, typically the interviews are up very shortly after the game finishes.

I hope all our supporters, business partners and the Chesham community at large stay safe and can enjoy a fantastic Christmas with your loved ones. I have just had a few days away back home in The Rhondda and met up with a friend from some fifty years ago. What a lovely night we had talking about Chesham in the late 6o’s and 70’s. I also saw my family and had time with my childhood friend from the age of six when we used to play together. Amazing to have such long-term friendships. Friends and family are so important at any time, more so now than ever perhaps.

Thank you as always for your support, it is appreciated.

Peter Brown, Chairman