Chesham United FC

Last week I spent a lot of time bigging up our league match with Bracknell Town, and what a game it turned out to be – a real battle between two sides that are rightly competing towards the top of the table. For long spells we were on the back foot as the visitors put us under immense pressure, but we rode the storm and snatched a dramatic winner late on in the game to confirm a most memorable 2-1 win. Thank you to everyone who was there for your support, you contributed towards an exciting and entertaining afternoon.

Last week’s game will also go down in the memory for the completely unique penalty incident that left many people scratching their heads. When have you ever seen a penalty kick hit the net, but then be disallowed and the defending team given a free-kick from their own penalty spot? Credit to the eagle-eyed officials for spotting the incident. It was Bracknell who had the penalty, but it turned out the striker that took the kick touched the ball with his standing foot before kicking, hence touching the ball twice, which is not allowed and resulted in a free-kick to us. At the time it felt like a big moment in the game with us leading 1-0, but two minutes later Bracknell were on the attack again and scored the equaliser!

Unfortunately our scheduled match away to Truro City tomorrow has already been postponed due to the weather. Our hosts, currently just above us in the league, currently groundshare with Plymouth Parkway from our league and there have been numerous postponements there, so this does not come as a great surprise. It does of course mean that we are going to have to make the long trip to Devon on a midweek night, far from ideal for what is shaped up to be a huge game in the push for promotion.

It is frustrating, and after consultation, it is an issue we have addressed with the FA, our concerns about how pitches and good drainage should be an important part of ground requirements along with all the other elements they look at. Games being played when scheduled and to a standard good enough to play good football on is important if we are all going to attract crowds through the turnstiles. I know that we are all keen to compete at the top end of the tale and fund the best team possible, but it is important that clubs are also encouraged to invest in infrastructure and pitches as part of the package. It would be a real shame if postponed matches led to fixture congestion that influenced the outcome of a long season. However, it is what it is, and we must be prepared to tackle all that is put in front of us.

Talking of the FA, we did receive a letter this week, as did all clubs, reminding us of our responsibility for spectators’ behaviour. Fortunately, with the odd very rare exception, we are lucky to have decent well-behaved fans at our matches, but it is worth sharing the fact that as a club we could be found in breach of the FA Rules and face punishment if any supporters are found to “engage in discriminatory behaviour.” It is frightening to think that this message even needs reminding, but on the back of a recent prosecution by the Crown Prosecution Service for homophobic abuse relating to the ‘Chelsea Rent Boy’ chant, I wanted to clarify that at Chesham we do not tolerate any such behaviour, and thankfully it has not been an issue for us.

In other news, I would like to pass on the best wishes of the club to Ron Campion who has been spending time in hospital having a couple of hip operations. Ron has been a stalwart of the club for many years, together with his brother Paul who still manages the office on a matchday. Get well soon Ron.

Our Race Night on Saturday 4th February is coming together well. I have tried to keep myself in the background and just enjoy watching the different sections of the club work together on the event. A big thank you to everyone who has bought tickets, horses or sponsored races – I will make a point of gathering all this information to publicly thank the local businesses that have sponsored races and once again shown their fantastic support to the club. We could not do it without you.

Peter Brown, Chairman