Chesham United FC

It has been another very good week at Chesham United, last Saturday we recorded another excellent away win, this time at Sholing where difficult conditions and strong opposition meant we once again had to be patient, eventually making the breakthrough in the second half to bag the three points with a 1-0 win, on what proved to be another very good day in terms of securing our current league position.

Again I must say thank you to our magnificent supporters, both at home and away, your efforts are hugely appreciated by everyone at the club. Many people have commented on this following last weekend’s trip, and it makes me very proud as the Club Chairman. Let’s get another big crowd down at The Meadow tomorrow for what should be a very entertaining game against a Poole Town side that always prove to be strong opposition. Kick-off is at 3.00pm, the clubhouse is open before and after the game and there will be a fine choice of food available from Billy’s Burger and the Tea Bar in the Popular Stand – the perfect day out for all the family!

Despite the heavy rain, I am very confident that our game against Poole Town will go ahead as we continue to benefit from the foresight of our predecessors on the Board in managing the infrastructure of the club with forward thinking in mind. It is an attitude I am pleased to say that we continue with at the club today, whereby you may not see everything we do behind the scenes, and you may not see the true benefits of them until years in the future, but it is an important part of the long term sustainability of the club.

Pitch maintenance is a classic example of this. Over the years, despite the ups and downs in the club’s financial stability, the pitch has been invested in to minimise the postponement of games. Back in the 1990’s a second set of drains were installed across the pitch, to this day we are seeing the benefits of that. You only need to look at the league table and see the difference in the number of games played between some clubs. Plymouth Parkway spring to mind as an example of a side that has played seven games less than us in the league. They currently sit one place above the relegation zone, but if they won all their games in hand they could actually be in a play-off spot! Plymouth are an excellent side, we know that from when they thumped us 4-0 back in December, but the reality is that there are just too many games to make up to have a realistic shout at promotion. I may be proved wrong, and I wish them the very best, but I would much rather be in our position with the points in the bag and an acceptable number of games to play between now and the end of April.

It has been said many times by previous Chairman and it is so true: This is not my club, I am merely the current custodian who has taken on the responsibility of taking it forward for the good of the community at large before passing on the baton, hopefully in a stronger position than when I picked it up. We have an excellent groundsman in Craig, and we will continue to look after the pitch, as we will many other parts of the club’s infrastructure. Of course a move to a new ground that will make the club far more financial self-sustainable remains a key priority, but whilst those conversations drag on we must continue to maintain what we have and keep it fit for purpose. I mentioned last week the minor ground improvements we need to make to meet the league ground grading requirements, and we will continue to make additional improvements. One such project is to improve the PA system so supporters at the games can hear announcements wherever they are watching from. You may have seen Alex Horne very humorously discuss this on the Fantasy Football League Show recently. We are now very close to having this ready, please keep an eye out for requests for volunteers to attend a work party to help with securing the cables that will go around the ground to the speakers. Many hands will make light work.

It is not just the physical infrastructure that is important, the structure of the club’s Board, management committee, volunteers and the One Club ethos is equally as important. Without the people, we have no club. The better the people we have, the better the club is. It really is that simple and we are very lucky to have a magnificent team looking after Chesham United currently. I am very proud of what we have established, but this is an ongoing task, and we need to keep bringing in fresh helpers, new ideas and make sure we have the forward planning in place to maintain and grow the strong team we have for many years to come.

Elsewhere in the club our 1st team Women ended up with a 2-hour journey to AFC Sudbury Women last weekend for a highly entertaining end-to-end encounter ended with Chesham and Sudbury sharing the points with a 3-3 scoreline. Chesham are now 7 points clear of the bottom two (Cambridge City and Haywards Heath) and looking towards an away fixture at Ashford Town this Sunday afternoon. The Development Squad had a 4-2 away loss at 7th placed Abingdon United Development. Their next game in on 3rd March in the Chairman’s Cup against Long Crendon.

If you buy a copy of tomorrow’s matchday programme – an excellent read for just £3.00 – you will also see an update from our youth section who will be hosting the Chesham United Youth Football Tournament on 29th June at Chiltern Hills Academy, a chance for local teams to come together and showcase their skills and teamwork across a series of matches. Also in the programme you will find an excellent article from our Club Chaplain, Edward Bowes-Smith, who reminds us about the risks of complacency – something we are very conscious of as we head into our final twelve games of the season.

Finally, on behalf of everyone at Chesham United, I would like to wish supporter of 60 years, Neil Dixon, a speedy recover from a brain tumour operation this week. Neil is confined to bed for a couple of weeks so it will be a few weeks before he is down for a game but is very much keeping an eye on results and wishing the team well. He has also stated that when he comes through this he will be offering himself as a volunteer for some ground maintenance – I’ll hold you to that Neil, get well soon.

Thank you for your support and I hope to see many of you at The Meadow tomorrow.

Peter Brown, Chairman