Chesham United FC

It is probably just as well that I am not writing these notes at 5.00pm last Saturday as I may have struggled to remove all the expletives that were going through my head!

It remains incredibly frustrating that our fantastic 45 minutes of football at Hanwell Town were all for nothing in the end with the game abandoned by the referee at half-time. For those of you not aware, we were 3-0 up at half-time when the game was abandoned due to heavy rainfall and the match will now have to be replayed, starting again at 0-0.

Of course these things are often out of anybody’s hands, but the decision did seem a little rash with the officials choosing the moment of the heaviest downpour of the afternoon to walk out and do their inspection with no consideration given to delaying the game for a short period to play out the rest of the match in the sunshine that many supporters ended up driving home in, and scratching their heads in bemusement.

Anyway, nothing we can do about it now, strange as it still seems that our substitutes were out on the pitch warming up and knocking the ball around without any major issues whilst the officials were on the pitch making their decision to bring the game to a halt and wipe out our three goal lead. It was unfortunate also that there were no ground staff on hand to help deal with the pitch with a stoppage in the rain obviously imminent, but let’s be honest, at 0-3 down the incentive probably wasn’t there!

Despite the excellent performance last weekend, we have today further strengthened the squad ahead of tomorrow’s opening game at The Meadow, with the signing of experienced goalkeeper Zaki Oualah, who made 36 appearances for Weymouth last season in the National League South (a division above us) and has also played for AFC Wimbledon. Zaki will be with the team tomorrow when we welcome Hungerford Town to Chesham with a 3.00pm kick-off. It would be great to have your support at the game, Hungerford themselves were relegated from the National League South last season but got off to a good start last weekend with a 7-0 win, a fantastic game in prospect.

Elsewhere I bring great news regarding the volunteer situation, I cannot find the words to express my gratitude to those that have stepped forward to offer their help and ease the burden from others, including myself.

We now have a new kitman, Fred Benning, who is Chesham born and bred and lives in the town. Fred comes to us after many years doing the same job and lots of other things at Bovingdon FC. I have personally known Fred for 50 years and played with and refereed him many years ago. I am delighted to welcome him to the club.

We have also struck gold with a new PA announcer. I have been approached by ‘The Voiceologist’, Jonathan Pagden, who has been a PA announcer all his working life, alongside radio and tv. Big gigs include The Coronation processional route (doesn’t get much bigger than that!), UN International Peace Day (several years running) and The Lionesses in Trafalgar Square last year. And the fantastic thing is that Jonathan lives within walking distance of The Meadow and offered his services for the role. There will be times when Jonathan is not available, but that will work nicely around the availability of existing volunteers so we should be well-covered and treated to one of the very best voices in the PA announcing world.

The good news keeps coming with the appointment of our new matchday chef, I would like to welcome Tom Winterton to the club who also lives within walking distance of the The Meadow. At last I can throw away my cook’s hat and focus on being a Chairman once again at home matches.

We have also had people step forward to enquire about volunteering as stewards and turnstile operators, which is great news, but we are still on the look out for more people in these roles, but what a fantastic week of recruiting.

This week we have also stepped up our community engagement with two new initiatives at the club. Firstly we have agreed for the Blood donation van to visit the club three, hopefully rising to four, times per year to provide a location for this all-important life-saving activity.

Additionally, we will now be hosting a gathering every Thursday for bereaved people to sit, chat and enjoy the company of others in The Chess Suite from 7.00pm. This is being run by Kim Birkett who recently lost her husband, who was a great supporter of the club.

So much to report this week, I am beginning to run out of time! Don’t forget we still have our Taskmaster replica shirts on sale, these will also be available to buy from the club at the match on Saturday and following last weekend’s monsoon weather we will soon be selling plastic raincoats with hoods for just £1.50, these will be available from the clubhouse bar and our outside bar, Maverick’s.

A great week, and I can’t wait to finish it off with our first game back at The Meadow and a full 90 minutes (plus all of whatever might get added on, who knows nowadays!) of football, I do hope you are able to join us and offer your support.

Have a great weekend