I would like to start with a massive thank you for everyone who contributed towards making last Friday’s Fireworks Extravaganza such a huge success. We never thought we could meet the success of last year’s post-pandemic effort, but last Friday surpassed that and was our best event ever.
Thank you also to everyone who attended, we hope you enjoyed the show. A lot of work goes into making it a safe and enjoyable family event. I know that out in the streets that night there were reported instances of youths letting off fireworks, even being thrown out of cars. It does beggar belief, but also reiterates why so many people choose to attend a professionally organised event. A point acknowledged by Thames Valley Police who made a point of commenting how well-managed the football club event was on social media, it makes me very proud to be chairman of the club.
There are so many people involved in running the event, and this, for many years now, is orchestrated by Terry Dyer without whom our Fireworks Night would simply not happen. A big thank you to Terry, and all the helpers, including Jamie Pile who was the one and only volunteer that came and helped me to clear the rubbish from 2300 people on Saturday morning ahead of a 3.00pm kick-off that day.
The game on Saturday against Swindon Supermarine was another hugely frustrating one. A stalemate for much of the match, we looked like we had snatched it with a late goal, only to once again concede deep into stoppage time and have to accept a 1-1 draw. A result that kept us third in the league, but another case of ‘if only’.
The result on Tuesday against our tenants Aylesbury United in the Berks & Bucks Cup was more pleasing. After a very even first-half we scored two in the second half for a 2-0 win away at our own ground. We enjoy a very good relationship with Aylesbury United nowadays and they have been excellent tenants who we are happy to host at The Meadow until they can make a return to their hometown…but that does not stop the football fan inside you from enjoying a win over The Ducks!
With the help of donations from our GoFundMe Player Injury and Rehabilitation Fund we have as a Board been able to provide the funds for Roddy Collins to be able to have his operation in Dublin today (Friday). This is not something that football clubs typically contribute towards outside of the insurance policy that is in place, but it is important that we look after our players when the unfortunate happens. Although it is not something we can always guarantee, in this instance, with help of the very generous donations from supporters, we are delighted to help and hope it will enable Roddy to get back on the football pitch soon.
Accidents do happen in football. There was a very sad at incident at Bath City FC on Tuesday evening where the match was abandoned after 10 minutes with a player colliding with the advertising boards and being rushed to hospital with a severe head injury and underwent a major operation that night and is in intensive care critically ill. Everyone at Chesham United wish him a quick and full recovery.
Safety at football grounds is a huge responsibility, for both the players and supporters. I am very grateful that we have an excellent team of volunteer stewards on a matchday who are regularly commended for the job they do, particularly at times when they are called upon to a medical incident or emergency. But there are things we can do to help the stewards, the simplest being obey the ground rules and use common-sense.
We are very aware of a small minority entering the ground with their own alcohol supply. This is against FA ground rules and any person found drinking from cans, bottles or alcohol not bought in the ground will have it removed from their possession and maybe removed from the ground. Particular if in glass bottles as that also is against FA ground rules and could land the club in serious trouble. Although we do not want to spoil the matchday experience by introducing searches, we will be being extra vigilant at forthcoming games, so please, don’t bring glass bottles and cans to matches. Our bar is very competitively priced if you want a drink.
Whilst on a negative note, I must share with you that we have had to ban a supporter for using homophobic language. This and racism is simply not tolerated at Chesham United Football Club. On a similar note, if you need a toilet roll at home please go to a shop and buy one instead of just taking them away from the toilets by the tea bar!
As we head towards the festive period things continue to develop behind the scenes as the new directors – Chris Kay, Mike Caidan and Alex Horne – get their feet under the table. There has been a lot of reviewing how we operate, our commercial activity, marketing and recruiting resources with a view to making some significant developments that will benefit the whole club. I know I have regularly spoken about the need for help and volunteers, the desire to build a structure that will clarify responsibilities and bring about co-ordination across all areas of the club. I realise now that in truth, to implement that, we needed to start at the top. Strengthen the Board, bring in some more experience, expertise and directorial skills which can then filter down into something closer to the structure I have previously envisaged. With than now in place, I am excited about what we can look to achieve.
Thank you as always for your support, tomorrow we travel to Salisbury for another important league game, I look forward to seeing many of you there.