I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very safe and happy Christmas, whatever you do tomorrow, however different your Christmas might seem, please spare a thought for those that have lost so much this year and take some time to be grateful for all the wonderful things you do have in your life.
At the moment, unfortunately that doesn’t include watching football at The Meadow, we can but hope that that changes as early as possible in the new year, but the circumstances need to be right. Yes, we are all missing football, yes, we want this season to reach a satisfactory conclusion, but most importantly we want our club, and all others like us, to continue to exist for many years to come. Over the past 140 years we have survived wars, fires and financial disasters, and we are most certainly not going to let the pandemic of 2020 bring all that history to an end.
On that very subject, the Board have been working very closely with our club historian, Giles Stevenson to look deeper into the history of the club so that we can formally put on record the original date our club was formed.
As a reminder, the club as it is known today came about in 1917 during the First World War when the two leading clubs in the town, Chesham Generals and Chesham Town merged together as a result of a lack of young players after the War; with the first committee meeting being held on 20th November 1917. It was that first meetings where the Sports Ground (now the Chesham Cricket Club 1st XI ground) was chosen as the club’s home pitch and the team colours of Claret & Blue shirts with White shorts were decided upon.
Neither club had been able to carry on alone; not only through lack of players, but also money; so, the only way for competitive football to continue in the town was through the merger; the club we have today is a result of the evolution of football in our town, which is why, after consultation with a numerous supporters, the board have agreed to go with the consensus and confirm the club founding date as 1879.
Looking back to the formation of Chesham Town, which also played a few seasons as Chesham, dates back to 1879, when they were known as Chesham & Waterside for the first year with records showing the first game was played in October of that year against Amersham. As for Chesham Generals they came together in 1889, as Chesham General Baptist and the first known game dates back to November 1889 when they lost 3-0 at Wycombe Wanderers.
Both clubs were successful until the war, with the Generals playing in more local leagues, but it was Town that was one of the founding members of the Southern League Division Two and travelled some distances for those days to teams in Kent, Southampton, Bristol and Wales. Oh how we look forward to those travelling weekends again, visiting our many friends that we have made over the years and supporting our team once more!
Last weekend we had over 400 people subscribe for the livestream of our game against Torquay United. Despite being faced with technical glitches, I would like to thank Ryan Woolnough for making a tremendous success of our first ever livestream. Following this, and all the other hard work he does with our social media, I am delighted to announce Ryan Woolnough as our new Head of Media. A new but very much needed position created in our club. There will be other positions that will need to be filled in making our club much more professional. We were congratulated by BBC Devon and Torquay as to how well we presented and organised the fixture with them in the circumstances. Going forward we will further explore livestreaming more games, particularly away ones that not all fans can easily get too – Wouldn’t it be great if you could sit in our own clubhouse watching away games with a drink in your hand? One for the future, and like everything, we will be looking for volunteers to help to make this happen.
You may also have seen on social media that I have written to our local MP, Cheryl Gillan, who is doing her best to help us in the fight for financial security for football clubs like ourselves. So often at the heart of our local communities, yet so easily forgotten by the FA, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Government as a whole. The loans currently on offer are just kicking the can down the road, we need clear direction, support, guidance and leadership for the game at our level, and the clubs fighting to survive within it.
You will have seen earlier in the week that three members of our footballing staff had tested positive for coronavirus, I am pleased to report that all three are well on the road to recovery and we have had no further cases of anyone else showing symptoms.
Sticking with inside the “dressing room”, it gives me great pleasure to announce the appointment of our new Kit Manager, Richard Bone. Richard is an experienced Kit Manager, formerly of Maidenhead United and I look forward to a long and happy relationship. This is another key role at the club that had been taken on by a number of the club’s current volunteers this season so far after Andy Hart had to leave us due to increasing work commitments.
Finally, I never in my deepest thoughts when taking over the role of becoming Chairman of our magnificent club on May 1st did I realise that there was so much to do. We have not finished yet I know, there is so much more to do and with your fantastic support I am sure we will reach and touch the light at the end of the tunnel we can all see in the distance in the not-too-distant future.
Looking forward to 2021, the legalities are getting closer to signing for our new ground and I do sincerely hope that in the early part of next year we will be able to announce that the heads of agreements have been signed by all parties and we can get into planning as soon as possible.
Thank you for your support and I look forward personally to seeing you on the other side of this pandemic. Christmas is a time to think of others, give each other support and make sure nobody is forgotten – I hope you don’t forget about your football club over the lockdown, we will do our best to keep you updated and involved, whilst continuing to support our community. On Christmas Day, I will be driving around in my Santa hat and Christmas jumper, delivering meals on behalf of the club and the Big Friday Night Takeaway to those most in need – nobody should be forgotten.
However you spend your Christmas, please stay safe & stay well.