Welcome to the last weekly Chairman’s Notes before Christmas. I will do my best to spread some festive joy, although at the moment I feel a certain numbness from the news that Buckinghamshire has moved into tier 3 with further devastating effects on us as a business, and of course to so many of the other wonderful businesses in Chesham that have supported us over the years through sponsorship, advertising and spreading the word. We are lucky to have a strong community in Chesham and together we will pull through, supporting each other and let’s all make a conscious effort to buy locally whenever we can.
For us as football club the timing of the move into Tier 3 is heart-breaking. Another 24 hours later and at least then 600 of us could have shared in what will be a massive game for the club against the very best that non-league football has to offer. It should be a day of celebration and, let’s be totally honest here, a wonderful money-spinner for our starved bank account.
For the players it is a fantastic occasion and I have no doubt they will do the shirt proud, but for myself and the Board it has all been a bit of logistical nightmare before Christmas if I am honest. The elite status of Torquay United means that the game must be played behind closed doors, but we do still need to find the money for the fixture to pay for the match officials, share in the expenses of the opposition (Torquay is not just down the road), ensure the facilities are COVID-secure for the players and officials, prepare the pitch and of course pay the players wages, all from zero income from the game.
On a cheerier note, we have been able to act quickly and with the support of Torquay United as well, we have arranged for the game to be streamed live for everyone to be able to watch from the comfort of their own home. The stream will feature commentary from the voice of CWSportRadio – the legend that is ‘Motty’s Mic’ Chris Walker and coverage will start around 10-15 minutes before kick-off.
The fee for the livestream is £8, there are significant costs involved in setting it up and we do need a reasonable number of people to subscribe to break even, even better if we can get loads of people to sign-up and then we will at least hopefully raise some finances towards the cost of the match. Full details of how to subscribe can be found on the website here. We also have a limited number of match programmes available to purchase for £2.00 plus postage, these are available by emailing email@example.com.
On a more positive note, what a brilliant achievement it has been to reach this stage of the competition playing the last two rounds in such close succession, both away from home and both with their journey challenges – Weston-Super-Mare with the long distance and closed M4 in 2 places, whilst Aveley offered up the traditional dose of M25 traffic. Yet in both games the team performed magnificently, made us all proud and earned their right to play tomorrow’s match, and we have a duty to go ahead with the game despite the cost of playing behind closed doors.
In terms of the regular league season, you may have seen that the league have announced that it is unlikely that it will resume before 9th January, as disappointing as that is, it has to be the right decision. Whilst we are in tier 3 our crowds will be limited to 300 with no bar facilities. If you were to break that down: we have 140 season ticket and Claret Club members, that would leave us with a maximum of 160 paying spectators generating something like £1,200-1300. Take off the cost of match officials, opening the ground and running a matchday that would leave us around £900 from each home game, average every two weeks, to pay the players wages and ongoing running costs. Not to mention the expense of playing away games.
As hard as it is on all of us, I think we do need to just ride it out, do our best to reduce the spread as a nation, be patient, stay safe and hope that the vaccine is rolled out quickly around the country with the desired effect, and we can look forward to a day in the New Year when we can all stand together on the terraces again and share a pint at the bar.
That just leaves me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas however you are spending it this year, I know it will not be the same without the Boxing Day football to look forward to – That just finishes off what has been a pretty rotten 2020 in all, but we have a chance tomorrow to finish it on a high and carry our cup run into 2021. I hope many of you sign-up and watch the game tomorrow with a mince pie and cup of tea, or maybe something stronger, after all, it is the season to be jolly!
Merry Christmas, thank you for your support
Stay Safe -Stay Well,
Peter Brown, Chairman
Chesham United Football Club