I write these notes this morning feeling like the luckiest Chairman around. I still feel a sense of numbness, but every time my thoughts drift back to the goal that beat us in the play-off semi-finals on Wednesday, it is quickly banished by the overwhelming memories of the simply stunning support our team received from the Chesham United supporters at Bracknell Town. You were quite frankly amazing. There are no words to describe how much the board and the players appreciated your never-ending support, and the ovation at the end will live with all of us for the rest of our lives. It is very easy to support a winning team, but to show such passionate support after a defeat is special.
I can only apologise that we did not deliver the result on the night. We battled hard, if truth be known we probably did not play to our strengths and we let a very strong and physical opposition out-muscle our every attack. Having watched a video back, the goal that beat us took a wicked deflection that left the goalkeeper with no chance. A cruel blow. We have now played over eight hours of football against Bracknell Town this season, they are a very good side and we wish them well in the play-off final against Truro on Monday.
As Chairman of this wonderful club, I also want to make our supporters another promise following the experiences of our game on Wednesday; when we get permission to move to a new ground, the board and I are 100% committed to delivering a ground that we can be very proud of and takes with us the many qualities we love about The Meadow.
I mean this to come across in the right way, and it is a shame that we lost on Wednesday because the words may just seem bitter, but to me, what many supporters experienced at the game on Wednesday are just not acceptable for a match of such importance. We will have terracing at any new ground we build. The requirements to meet ground-grading make it too easy to build a stadium that ticks all the boxes but is flat standing all around, which does not make for ideal viewing for supporters when you get a crowd of over 850 like there was on Wednesday (or was it more like 730, I can’t remember).
I know it was also hugely frustrating for supporters that had left work early to be faced with 30-minute plus queues for food and drink. Although it was probably as well you did not eat or drink too much because if you were to use the portaloos at the far end of the ground you might have been mistaken for thinking you were at Glastonbury Festival not a relatively high level football match. I was also surprised that there were no visible stewards at the game and no tannoy for any announcements either, something I know a number of supporters have expressed their disappointment about. That is all an aside though, it is not my place or intention to judge others, but I wanted everyone to be aware that as a club, the matchday experience and facilities will remain a top priority when we move to a new ground, and we are learning all the time from our experiences with each season that passes. Parking will be another priority. I know a number of supporters walked across a dark field to find their cars locked in at a local car park. Avoiding these issues is all part of the thought process that is going into our new ground application.
There is still much going on around the club as we move into the close season, but I wanted to focus this week on just saying a massive thank you to our incredible supporters. Your noise throughout the game was fantastic. You were louder than the home supporters and I think you were there in equal numbers to the home supporters. It was an insight into the potential we have at Chesham United Football Club and a reassurance that if we can get all our ducks in a row, this club is capable of sustaining itself at the next step up the football pyramid.
On Monday we have a meeting with the managers and the planning for next season begins. From the bottom of my heart, thank you again for your support throughout the season. The reaction from the supporters on Wednesday night has made me even more determined to take this club to the next level. Have an enjoyable weekend. The season might be over, but I will continue to keep you updated with weekly notes throughout the summer.
Peter Brown, Chairman