Well, there we have it, it’s been finalised now. This week it has been confirmed that our season is once again null and void, sorry ‘curtailed’, although I am sure that means the same thing! And with it a swirl of emotions with the overriding two; being gutting disappointment, but yet very little surprise. The outcome was inevitable, despite the roadmap, there is still too much uncertainty and just not enough time to finish any sort of a league season in a safe and affordable manner. As a club we have seen the results of the survey amongst members and the majority of clubs are in favour of this outcome, approximately two-thirds across the leagues at Step 3 and 4.
It is a frustrating situation, and it would be very easy to get bogged down in the “if only” scenarios. At Chesham United, we are one of the clubs with the potential to feel aggrieved because of the work that has gone into making us serious promotion candidates over the past couple of seasons. Twelve months ago, we were in a prime position to push for National League South status with 9 games to go, it does make you wonder what would have happened had we set about finishing that season last year rather than starting a new one…but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
It is important now that we look forward and put all that behind us. There have been much more important issues in the world over the past year and it would be wrong of us to start pretending that as a football club we are more important than other families and businesses that have suffered, especially in the wider Chesham community. We are in this together and must be grateful that from a mental, health and financial perspective we have survived, and there is now a roadmap that will hopefully lead us out of these terrible times. It is hoped that the 2021/22 season will be able to start as normal, but the league will clarify that at the appropriate time.
Whilst we all miss our football family it is important that we continue to look out for each other and offer support. I am sure we all have our regulars that we stand with on a matchday and have now not seen for a number of months because we tend not to interact outside of football; if you can, wouldn’t it be great if you picked the phone up and gave these people a quick call, or dropped them a message to see how they are getting on? You just do not know what other people are going through at the moment and that contact could make all the difference.
Behind the scenes our relationship with Bucks Mind continues to develop, again it is disappointing that we have not been able to meet our ambitions this season with raising the profile of this fantastic charity because of COVID restrictions, but we are still working on it and are in regular conversation about activities that include virtual training courses on mental well-being and a charity football match at The Meadow just as soon as we can safely do so.
Financially we have had confirmation that we have obtained our Winter Survival Grant from the Football Foundation, albeit it is going to take up to 28 days before we receive it – this will be a great help to the club but no, it is not the full £27,000 unfortunately! However, these are vital funds to any club at this level and will be used in a prudent and sensible manner to ensure that when the season starts a new, we are primed and ready for it.
A big thank you to all the supporters that helped down at The Meadow last Saturday with preparing the facilities for the filming of an ITV crime drama, it was hugely appreciated. We have been busy maintaining the facilities during lockdown, including the completion of a covered shelter for wheelchair viewing of matches. A big thank you to Terry Dyer in helping to make this happen, with his help and the support of a Football Stadia Improvement Grant our wheelchair visitors can now watch the game under a roof that even includes guttering…just no heaters I’m afraid!
We are also improving safety for visitors making their way to and from our facilities with the installation of new lights outside the ground that will make it feel much safer for everyone visiting the club and the car park area in the dark. A special thank you once again to the Supporters’ Trust who have offered to split the cost of the installation of these lights.
Next week we are looking to hold our first board meeting with the new participants recruited over recent months to help to take the club forward. On top of recent announcements, I am pleased to announce that this week, Andy Westlake, Chair of Chesham United Ladies FC has agreed to join the new look board providing us with representation across every aspect of the club. I am excited by the prospect of what we will be able to achieve all working together as OneClub.CheshamUnited
Following the roadmap announcement this week, we are hoping to open our bar for table service to the terraces on 12th April, sampling some new and different beers we plan to have in stock, along with welcoming our new Chess Suite management who will take the final vacant seat on the new board from next week. Please, let us know which bottled beers you would like or your other tipples of choice as our new manager is there to make sure that the beers in stock are the ones you enjoy and we can’t wait to share a beer with football friends once again.
Unfortunately, the only competitive football to be held in the coming months is likely to be without fans present. This will be the Academy games (four to play) and our Ladies team in their league, but as yet we have no idea when this league will be re-started, but as soon as they do, it will be great to know the Chesham United shirt is once again being worn on a football field.
Stay safe – Stay Well and thank you for your support