I would like to start this week by congratulating our Academy side on winning their league following a very impressive 6-2 win over Swindon Supermarine in the week. When we set up the Academy a couple of years ago it was all about giving youngsters in our local area the opportunity to pursue their footballing ambitions whilst carrying on with their studies, the quality of footballers that we have seen join the scheme has been outstanding and we are very proud to have given the boys the opportunity, and equally proud of the way they have represented the club. A big thank you to everyone involved. For the club to win a trophy in my first year as Chairman is fantastic.
Thank you also to my fellow Board members for their kind words announcing the one-year anniversary of me becoming Chairman last week. I know at the start of becoming Chairman of our great little club there were reservations in many quarters of our supporters, sponsors and others closely associated with the club about my ability to take the club forward and bring people along on the journey. I have never been afraid to speak my mind and speak honestly, but I care passionately about the views of others and I care passionately about making this a club that everyone is involved in running, not just the Directors in the boardroom on a Saturday afternoon.
A year on, I appreciate all the comments of support that I receive, and I am feeling very humbled by the kind words I have received. I want to thank each and every one of the people that have supported me in a vision I had, and still have for our club’s future. Ever since the disappointment of the club not being promoted to the Conference at the end of the 1992/93 season there has been a sense of injustice around the place and a feeling that as supporters, we missed out on seeing our club play at a level warranted on the pitch. Our ambition is to now rectify that, awaken the sleeping giant and take some serious steps forward to where we feel the club belong, and give the generation that still feels the pain of nearly 30 years ago a chance to watch our club at a higher level.
It will not be easy of course, and we are not the only club with great ambitions, but with the new management committee setup in place, many hundreds of supporters returning to the club and a top-class football team management sharing our vision, I believe we are in the best possible position to move forward. There are many great ideas and plans around, my job is to help them come to fruition. It would be wrong of me to not acknowledge at this stage the support and continued contribution of Roger Payne who has backed me every step of the way and continues to work tirelessly to progress the club’s move to a new community ground.
Our main Charity partner since the start of last season has been Bucks Mind, and I was incredibly saddened, and horrified, when it was announced on Thursday this week that in Bedfordshire, over the last year, eight people per week have been committing suicide. This is a very disturbing statistic and I ask all our supporters to please seek out your friends, and people that you have not heard from or have been quiet of late. Do not let them become one of these eight people, they will not ask for your help, so let’s all phone or visit a friend this week, please?
It was good to see most of the players at training this week and seeing some new faces. I am sure that our managers are working very hard to make the team better for next year as we attempt to finish at the top and start our moves forward.
You will notice over the next few days that our season tickets and parking offer will start to hit your mailboxes. The Early Bird price is open until midnight on 31st May then a new price for the next four weeks when on 1st July season tickets will be the usual prices. We have not increased ticket prices for the last eight years; however, I must warn you that if we gain promotion there will have to be some sort of increase but let us worry about that nearer the time when hopefully we will all agree that it is a nice problem to have. If, however you are suffering great financial hardship and would like to renew your tickets for next season please contact me and I am sure we can come up with a solution for the payment of it.
We are seriously looking at the possibility of purchasing a new Full colour electronic scoreboard in the ground at a cost of £6400 plus VAT, which we claim the VAT back. We are waiting till it is fully funded from outside the club as we have so far managed to get 3 companies to invest £1000 each towards the costs. This scoreboard will have the team line ups, team names, a stop watch, substitutions, goal scorer and the added time from the officials plus advertising space and many other items.
Please let me know your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think that a scoreboard is a good idea for the supporters, and does it enhance your matchday experience and should we go for it? Should we should start a go fund me page to help finance it?
We intend to visit the senior schools in the area over the next few weeks offering some Under 18 season tickets for the schools to use to help us to get more youngsters into our ground and supporting our club and teams.
We are also going to be introducing a page to the club website advertising vacancies which need filling on a voluntary basis, as well as offering supporters the chance to become fully qualified Stewards with an accredited qualification to steward events inside and outside our ground. In other words, with the qualification, it will give you the chance to earn some extra money at other events away from the club. It has been heart-warming that we have a new volunteer coming forward to help with the season tickets procedures following last week’s request, and a new volunteer that has suggested that he will do nearly anything he can to help the club.
Next time you drive up to the club you will see that We Buy Any Car have moved into their rented space in the car park, this has brought some significant additional funding to the annual budget and will help us in our ambitious push for promotion.
Over the last week we have moved 90% of the club’s history in photographs out of the boardroom and into the entrance foyer of the Chess Suite and main clubhouse area. This is your history, of your club, and they are now all available for you all to view and reminisce over, well from 17th May you can anyway when we hope you will all be allowed back into our clubhouse and sit at tables of six enjoying the hospitality we have to offer. One point of interest from the old photographs that I will finish with, in the season 1962/63 the club played in a very nice all white strip with two claret hoops on the shirt – Very smart they looked too! We hope that you like our new third strip that was launched this week which was fully funded by our online shop sales. Until we get to the new ground and the lights are brighter, we will continue to wear the shirts we have used for the last season as science tells us that with the lights we have at present we need a white shirt. And our management team like it.
Stay safe, stay well and thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all your support.