This weekend we host Poole Town in a league match on what is the annual ‘Non-League Day’ – a day when football fans are encouraged to go along and support their local football team. With the England national side playing on Saturday evening there is no top-level league football and therefore an excellent opportunity to support smaller clubs, so, what are you doing this Saturday?
It would be great to see a bumper crowd at The Meadow, kick-off 3.00pm, for what should be a good game of football, followed by England v Switzerland on the TV in the clubhouse and then a quiz organised by our management duo in the evening – a fantastic day in prospect.
On the pitch it will be an important match for both sides. For us it is a case of dusting ourselves down and putting last weekend’s frustrating defeat at Taunton behind us. Good fortune in football apparently comes in swings and roundabouts, evening itself out over the course of a season; however, even a week on, I confess that I am still struggling to come to terms with how we lost the game primarily through a goal when the ball, in the eyes of everyone accept the people that matter, never got anywhere near to crossing the line!
Elsewhere, Chesham United Ladies lost their Berks & Bucks Cup Final to Reading, their opponents play at a significantly higher level with most of the girls semi-professional, but they are put up a fantastic battle, the 5-0 score line very much flattering the opposition.
Behind the scenes this week it has all been about financing the club for next season. You will most likely have heard the news that we have agreed to extend the groundshare with Aylesbury United Football Club. The Ducks have been our rivals for many years and we will have to wait for them to be able to return to their home town and re-establish themselves in their local community, and then league rivalry, but until then we are very happy to host them here in Chesham. Then of course on top of that, we must be honest and say that the income from this arrangement does also benefit us.
We are also delighted that the nursery which uses The Chess Suite on a weekday morning will be staying for another year, it is fantastic that we are able to widen our facilities to wider community usage and of course, agreeing an extension for another year enables us to manage that income within the budget.
Not so easy to manage is the extortionate costs of energy going forward, this is going to have a huge impact on both our facilities at Chesham, and our away travel costs.
At the moment we are, some might say negatively, I call it cautiously, working on an assumption that we will still be in the Southern League Premier South, however changes to our whole cashflow budget are also in our mind for if we were to achieve promotion this season to National League South – that would be a lovely problem to have.
With all that in mind, we have had to make the decision to increase admission fees for the 2022/23 season. As a club we have resisted increasing the prices for some nine years now whilst others around have made changes, but with the increase in costs and a desire to remain competitive at this level the standard adult admission will be increasing to £12 from next season.
Full details of admission prices will be published next month, but I can tell you that we are putting together some very attractive seasonal membership packages that will offer around 25% discount when buying your tickets for the season rather than paying on the gate each week. We will also have some exceptional concession prices and some new packages available including a Parent & Child ticket and new Silver & Gold packages that come with additional benefits such as matchday programmes, parking spaces and discounts in the clubhouse.
The commercial team are working on pulling together all the finer details and marketing collateral, along with our new commercial offering for local businesses of all sizes. The Claret Club is going through a massive re-vamp, details of which will be available early in April when we will be pro-actively going out to talk to businesses.
To finish on another real positive, we have this week made the decision that we will definitely be playing in a claret and blue strip next season and have begun conversations with the kit manufacturer. Get your kit designs for Claret and Blue in urgently to me! Our floodlight appeal, including on and offline donations, has reached almost £3,000 and we have decided that one way or another we will make the replacement happen. The savings on energy usage become more significant with every week that passes and the appetite for a return to claret and blue is such that we just have to find a way to make it happen. Donations can be made here.
I hope to see many of you tomorrow, have a good weekend.
Peter Brown, Chairman