Chesham United FC

One is led to believe that the close season is when one takes some time out and recharges batteries. This has not been so for the club this summer. In fact, this week has been an especially busy one for the club.

Unfortunately I have to start with the very sad news, that we have lost another fabulous servant of the club with the passing of Alan Whitelock (aged 84), Alan was a FA qualified coach, and integral member of the backroom staff for many years in the early 80’s, including the FA Cup run to the 3rd Round where you will remember we played Cambridge United in front of a stadium record of 5,000 supporters.

One great story of his footballing life which is not so well known, is that he was yellow carded by the official at a match at Hungerford Town. He went on to treat an injured Chesham player without the referee’s permission! A few choice words were spoken after the match I am told. Alan could also be seen at local golf clubs, and he also looked after Pioneer Scouts with his late wife. Our deepest condolences go to his two Sons and all their families. His funeral has been arranged for 1pm at Amersham Crematorium on 2nd August 2023. Later on, in the season players from that era will be attending a home game to reminisce, it will be good to see them all again.

Yesterday, we said farewell to Ian Ellis. The wake was held at the club and was well attended from across the club & community. Ian was an inspiration to all that knew him and his hunger for life was quite incredible. His long fight against illness started many years ago when he had a successful bone marrow transplant, which prolonged his wonderful life.

The family have asked for donations to the special cause in memory of Ian donations in his memory to the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Appeal. You can make a donation via this link Tribute to Ian Ellis, 1973 – 2023. It was so enlightening listening to the eulogies at the service, where his two young sons were so brave. Our deepest condolences go to Rebecca and the boys. The club will always be available to you all if you need any support whatsoever.

Yesterday, was also our first ever joint training night at The Meadow with our Ladies Team, with a joint first team photo taken, as well as some fantastic photos of all the senior players and the few hundred young Chesham players from both sections who had turned up on the night to collect their Players Card which gives them free entry to all league matches at The Meadow for the season 23/24.

It was great to see so many people there and even some that stayed on after the wake for Ian to enjoy the weather & training session, it was truly amazing to see so many of the Youth on the pitch for the One Chesham photo. We opened the Joint Training with a group warmup and a series of very competitive rondos with both squad joining together, they then separated into their own training regimes for a rigorous training session ahead of the new seasons. A lot of the juniors stayed with their parents’ way after the training finished. What a great success for our #OneCheshamUnited initiative, events like these are the way for the club to go forward for the future.

Our Taskmaster sponsored home and away shirt sales has now passed the 300 mark, which is quite wonderful, and we are starting to get pictures from locations from all over United Kingdom. Over 157 orders for shirts have already been fulfilled, with local deliveries being undertaken by club staff. European and our Rest of the World orders will go out next week, as soon as we have replenished our stock levels. Keep your orders coming in as this is a hugely important promotional and fundraising event for the club. It will be wonderful to see many shirts being worn around the town and at our games for the up coming season.

On Sunday, our kit manager resigned so I returned to my temporary duty and washed the kit from our preseason friendly at Welwyn Garden City which was a fantastic 7-1 win, but more importantly at this stage got some great minutes into the legs of players. Then we moved onto Leighton Town on Tuesday, again more minutes in the legs with a 3-2 victory. The managers have put together a great squad for the season ahead, which is starting to gel very well and has been a very interesting and challenging preseason so far and well organized by our management team.

We are getting prepared for our only home preseason friendly against Luton Town on Tuesday night with a 7.45 KO. We are already up to 200 advance tickets, plus our over 150 season tickets so it is going to be a cracker of a night already. Mavericks Bar will be open along with the clubhouse and of course a home match without Billy’s Burgers just wouldn’t be the same.

Around the ground, you will notice some changes, we have new net stanchions and nets for the season that will be going up for the night. The new disabled access will be sorted, we hope, by the time of the first home game of the season, but won’t be ready for Tuesday evening unfortunately. I apologize now to any supporters affected by this not happening as quickly as we hoped. And Ray and his very small team have done magnificent work on the stadium to get it clean, weed free and painted for you and your safety.

Finally, tickets are now on sale for the very special evening on Thursday 14th September 2023, hosted by our very own comedian and Taskmaster host, Alex Horne, with guest speaker the legendary Ian Holloway. The evening will include a fish and chip supper plus 2 free drinks for every guest. Full bar facilities will also be available. The format will consist of tables of eight and the ticket price is £60 +VAT (per head). We are currently in conversation with some sponsors about tables, but any individuals interested in reserving a place, contact commercial@cheshamunited.co.uk and we will start to work through the enquiries.

Ian Holloway has a reputation amongst football fans for his Bristol accent, off-the-wall interviews, and amusing answers to questions from the media. Ian is seen by many as the perfect after dinner guest speaker, best known from his time as a manager of clubs including Queens Park Rangers, Plymouth Argyle, Leicester City, Blackpool, and Crystal Palace where he did gain promotion to the Premier League that he did with Blackpool three years earlier, Ian Holloway managed Crystal Palace to promotion to the Premier League in May 2013, but after the club had won only one of their opening eight games he left, by mutual consent, on 23 October 2013 after less than a year in charge. It promises to be a fantastic humorous night with his stories about playing and managing high up the football ladder.

Have a great weekend all of you and those going away for your summer holidays have a fab time and don’t forget to send us your pictures of you and your new Chesham United Taskmaster shirts.

Best wishes and thank you for your support.

Peter