Another week without a midweek fixture, the calm before the storm as we head into a very busy period of fixtures that will ultimately determine the outcome of our season.
It all starts with a home game against Harrow Borough tomorrow (Saturday). Back in October we lost this fixture and the team will be determined to reverse that fortune tomorrow, and your support really can make a difference. Kick-off is at 3.00pm, you can pay at the turnstile and the clubhouse is open early so you can arrive in plenty of time to enjoy the comforts of the clubhouse and a pre-match drink. We will also have Billy Burger in the ground serving up the best burgers in the league, and the Tea Bar will be open in The Popular Stand, ensuring there is something for everyone as we build up to kick-off time.
It was not such good news last weekend, losing 2-1 down at Tiverton where the playing surface was certainly not the best we have ever played on. It did not help our course, but there can be no excuses, there is very little margin for error between now and the end of the season. That starts tomorrow, and continues next Tuesday, when we make a huge journey for a huge game. Truro City sit one place above us, six points ahead, but we have two games in hand. A big game that deserves to be played on a Saturday, but due to a postponement earlier in the season we find ourselves making the long journey down west on a Tuesday night. If there is one bit of good news in all that, Truro do currently groundshare with Plymouth Parkway, so we do not actually have to travel as far as Truro – I’ll try to remember that bit of good news in the early hours of Wednesday when we are travelling home! That said, if we have three points in the bag, I don’t think I will care how long it takes to get home.
Football finance hit the news this week with the announcement that the government intend to intervene with regulators to oversee the finances of football league clubs. If it helps to overcome the craziness that is going on at the higher level of the game, it can only be a good thing. We see the same thing here at a non-league level where clubs overstretch their budgets in the hope for promotion and then if it does not work, the investor walks away and leaves the club in turmoil. They say the main drive is to make clubs sustainable without the reliance on individual donators and investors, hallelujah, how long have we being saying that for here at Chesham United?
Over the past 40 years we have been through highs and lows as a club, basking in the glory of almost reaching the National Conference in 1993, only to find ourselves on the brink a couple of years later when the backer leaves. Ten years later we were again in crisis for similar reasons and a couple of times since then we have experienced perilous encounters with the HMRC and outstanding debts. Since I became Chairman, and with the Board that has been built around me, the number one objective has been to make the club sustainable without the reliance on donations from the owner. Yes, they are nice to have to improve the club, and our chances of promotion, but if the whole survival of the club is reliant on that money, then you are in trouble.
The proposal for a new ground is about tackling that very issue. In a way it is ironic that one of the main points we are having to address in our revised pre-planning application to move to a new ground is to demonstrate how the club will be sustainable if we moved to an out-of-town location. The reality is it is not sustainable if we do not move and have to stay in our current location. Without the move, we will continue to rely on donations from individuals. Or accept that we must play at a much lower level in the pyramid.
Other proposals from the regulators is to increase supporter involvement and awareness. I like to think that as a club we have made huge strides, almost been ahead of the game, when it comes to supporters’ involvement. We have been through a period where the supporters were fully running the club and today our Supporters’ Trust still maintain shares in the club. We have monthly meetings that involve all sections of the clubs, including the Supporters Trust, and the door remains open for the Supporters’ Trust to appoint a director of the club and attend full board meetings. Without the supporters, we do not have a club.
Anyway, I digress. Tomorrow we have a very special guest in the boardroom as we welcome young Michael Turvey as our match sponsor as a special 21st birthday present. Michael is a very keen Chesham United fan and we are delighted to welcome him to the game where he will select our man of the match and meet with his favourite players before and after the game.
We do still have match and ball sponsorship available for our forthcoming run of home game between now and the end of the season. Ball sponsorship is just £75 + VAT and match sponsorship £250 + VAT. You will have a great day enjoying our hospitality and seeing some of the behind-the-scenes matchday activity. More information can be found on our website here, or contact email@example.com
Thank you as always for your support