Chesham United FC

This weekend we have a double-header of football with a long away trip to Dorchester Town tomorrow (Saturday) followed by a home local derby against Beaconsfield Town on Monday, 3.00pm kick-off at The Meadow.

Last Saturday we maintained our 100% winning start to the season, but we were made to fight by a Plymouth Parkway side that travelled to Chesham with no wins under their belt and an injury ravaged team. The visitors twice took the lead in a topsy-turvy match that saw us nowhere near our best and relieved to come away with a 4-3 win at the end of the day, we know we are going to have to make improvements if we are going to keep the winning run going.

You may well have seen earlier today that we announced the loan signing of a very exciting young striker from Luton Town, Josh Allen, who joins us initially until January. The 19-year-old has previously enjoyed loan spells at Cray Wanderers and Hitchin Town last season, having graduated from the Luton Town Academy. This will help our striking options after the news that Karl Oliyide will be out injured for at least the reminder of this year.

This week also saw our Ladies team begin their season, they are in a tough and challenging league, but put up a spirited performance losing 2-0 at QPR, keeping a clean sheet in the second-half. The quality of the football and the level our ladies’ team is playing at is very high, on the back of the success of the recent world cup, I’d strongly encourage you to attend games at The Meadow when you can. Their next home league game is against Actonians on Thursday 7th September, 7,45pm kick-off.

Next Saturday we have a break from league action as our FA Cup journey begins. We know what amazing memories this competition can make. Days like Bristol Rovers, Peterborough and Bradford City do not come around very often but having had a relatively recent taste of reaching the First Round ‘proper’, we would all love to do that again this season (and let’s be honest here, from a financial point of view, the rewards for success are significant and most welcome!).That said, out of all the hundreds of teams in the competition next weekend, we could not have got a much tougher draw in the FA Cup with an away tie at Walton & Hersham, another side that has enjoyed a good start to the season in our league.

Your support next weekend will be hugely appreciated, the newly promoted opposition get good crowds at their matches and your vocal support can help the team to take us further in this, the world’s greatest cup competition.

At time of writing I believe there is talk of a Supporters’ Trust organised minibus being organised, please look out for their communications or contact a member of the Trust committee for more details.

As exciting as the football is, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes reality that we have had to deal with, little costs that come along and once added up amount to significant extra cost. For example, we have had two electrical points installed inside and outside the commentary box so that we meet legal requirements when using the PA – by the way, did you hear our new PA announcer at the game last week? He was fantastic, many people commented that they thought they were listening to the radio!

Other maintenance jobs this week included arranging for faulty windows to be replaced in the boardroom and purchasing a new microwave for the tea bar. I am also hugely grateful to the volunteers, including our kitman, who have been repainting the white lines on the edge of the terraces.

We are very fortunate at Chesham to have more terracing than just about any other team in our league, but it does mean that we have a lot tougher job keeping the lines painted, which are essential for maintaining health and safety standards around the ground.

Replica shirt sales continue to go well, we are now at just short of 400 sold, which is a fantastic achievement for a club whose average home gate for the first two games of the season is 438! I know there are many more people out there still looking to make a purchase, this can be done via the website or visiting the replica shirt shop in the clubhouse at the game on Monday. Every shirt sale really does help the club, I am hoping by the end of the summer holidays, and if our league form continues, that in a few weeks’ time our home gates will be averaging more around the 600 mark with the terraces packed with Taskmaster Chesham United replica shirts – why not? I’m allowed to be optimistic aren’t I!

Maintaining a balance between funding a top-quality senior team, developing the One Club inclusive ethos and continuing to establish our role at the heart of the community remains the ongoing aim. On a Saturday afternoon it is easy to get sucked into the ambition of the First XI and a real desire to see the team promoted this season. It becomes so tempting to throw all your resources at that, but that is now what we are about and that will not deliver the long-term vision we have for the club.

This week we have donated a replica shirt to the charity that raises funds to support our ex-forces personnel. Alex Horne and Greg Davies will be signing the shirt for the highest bidder, with a personalised message written on it for the winner. In my mind, it is simple acts like this that I hope will encourage people to come along and want to be a part of our club, it is not just about throwing an extra £100 per week at a football player in the hope of success. Whether it works, time will tell, but I am very pleased with the progress so far.

Have a great Bank Holiday weekend

Peter Brown, Chairman