So the FA Cup dream is over for another year, but what a day it was. Thank you so much for your support, it was magnificent to see the terraces packed and everyone enjoying their day as we put up a good fight against one of the frontrunners from the league above us, Maidstone United, and had a couple of first-half chances that hit the post gone in, who knows what might have happened.
Unfortunately one of the down sides of having a large attendance at the ground is that it becomes more difficult to manage the crowd and you get the inevitable odd one who spoils it for others. Although not evident on the day, the referee has reported a glass bottle being thrown onto the pitch during the game and this has potentially landed us in trouble, it has certainly created a lot of unwanted paperwork for myself and the rest of the club. Please note, this level of behaviour and bringing alcohol, or glass bottles containing any liquid, into the ground WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. It is against ground rules to bring your own alcohol into the ground and if we have to resort to searching everyone as they enter through the turnstiles, then we will, but none of us want the disruption that will cause. All I ask is for commonsense and courtesy. The overwhelming majority of the crowd were fantastic and we cannot have one or two idiots ruining it for the rest of us. It goes against everything we have been working towards. If it was you, or if you know the person/people responsible, please have a word in their ear, and let’s have no repeat of that incident.
Whilst we are disappointed with the bottle throwing incident last weekend, I would like to think it was a one-off and on the whole we are proud to have an excellent bunch of supporters, however, we must not rest on our laurels, and we will very much be getting behind the FA’s Enough Is Enough campaign launched this week. In short, we are taking a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and will back the FA in reporting hate, prejudice or discrimination whenever we see it or hear it. We want you to help spread the word that any such behaviour is unwanted, and the FA are prepared to take players off the pitch, deduct league points or even have grounds closed down – strong words for a strong message. As I say, thankfully we do not have an issue with this, but as our crowds continue to increase, it is important that it stays that way.
On Tuesday night we came down to earth with a bump, losing 2-1 at Swindon Supermarine, who had not won a game yet this season, with a performance that the managers have described as completely unacceptable. I hope it was just a hangover from the FA Cup and I can only apologise to those supporters who made the journey and gave their support. Tomorrow, Saturday, we travel to Bracknell Town, bringing back memories of last season’s play-off defeat; it seems like the perfect place to put a couple of bad results behind us and get back to winning ways.
On that day back at the end of last season your support was again superb, and although we don’t expect to match that, if we can take as many supporters as possible to the game I know the players will appreciate it and rise to the occasion as we look to get our promotion push back on track. We remain committed to our ambitions of going up to the Conference South and the FA Cup will not be marking the start of a cut in the playing budget, as is so often the case at non-league clubs. To the contrary, you will have seen in the week that we signed an experienced holding midfield player in Ryan Upward who has played at Farnborough and Maidenhead United where he made over 300 appearances. We are looking to Ryan to bring his match winning capabilities and experience to our young and exciting squad. He made his debut at Swindon Supermarine on Tuesday, but as he settles in, I believe he will be a key part of the remainder of our season.
It feels like I have written some negative notes this week, but it is just part of the rollercoaster of being the Chairman, and football in general. There are still many fantastic things going on and after the highs of last weekend there were always going to be some lows. Just to put some perspective on all of that, last weekend we hosted over 4,500 people at The Meadow and provided some cracking entertainment with the fireworks on Friday night and the cup game on Saturday – this is what we want to be doing on a more regular basis, and this is why it is so important that we continue to position ourselves at the heart of our community, not just on a Saturday afternoon, but throughout the season.
Sales of replica shirts continues to astound me as we push towards the 900 sold, lets hit the 1000 before christmmas. Each week I am receiving photos from around the globe of people proudly wearing a Chesham United replica shirt – just before last weekend’s game I got sent a good luck message from a couple wearing our home shirts in San Francisco! Please note that the current offer of a personalised signing from Alex Horne and Greg Davies end at midnight on Monday – so if you have not yet got your order in, now is the time to act!
There is no doubt that the partnership with Taskmaster is paying dividends, and we are in the process of looking at additional merchandise that will promote the Chesham United and Taskmaster relationship – watch this space. We also have a brand new third strip coming out, details of which will be available in the next ten days, just in time for completing your Christmas shopping list.
Thank you as always for your magnificent support,
Peter Brown, Chairman