Well it had to happen sooner or later, and I guess it was inevitable that our first defeat of the season would come the day after I put out last week’s notes of great positivity and optimism. Obviously, one defeat does not change anything about our intentions for the season, if anything, it has lifted an albatross off our backs and given us a reality check as to how tough it is going to be to get promoted out of this league.
Yes last Saturday’s 1-2 defeat at home to Winchester City was the first game that we have not won this season and came as a surprise to many, we certainly did not reach the standards that we know we are capable of. Then on Tuesday night we battled out a good 2-2 draw away at one of the title favourites, Walton & Hersham, but having gone 2-0 up in the 91st minute, to concede two very late goals made it feel more like a loss than a good point on the road. However, our league position remains healthy at this stage of the season and tomorrow (Saturday) we can turn our attention back to the FA Cup.
Our visitors tomorrow are Margate who play in the Isthmian Premier League, an equivalent league to us in the football pyramid and they too will be looking to extend their cup run. We are expecting a big crowd for this game so please arrive early, enjoy the facilities and you can beat any potential queues by buying your tickets in advance from our website here. For those of you who do not follow non-league football closely, this is a third round qualifying match, the winners of which will go into the 4th Qualifying Round where all National League sides enter the competition providing some potentially huge ties against the likes of Southend or Barnet.
It is once you are through the 4th qualifying round that you reach the First Round Proper and the chance to play League One or Two sides – this is the ambition of all teams at our level, and our recent experiences of travelling to Bristol Rovers, Bradford City and Peterborough United have certainly given us an appetite to repeat that. To each of those games we took over 600 supporters…and the financial rewards were good also. Please come along and give the team your support tomorrow, it promises to be a fantastic game of football.
As well as being FA Cup weekend, this weekend is also the FA Play Safe weekend, a campaign endorsed by the NSPCC and will be supported this weekend across every level of English football, including the Premier League, EFL, Barclays Women’s Super League, Barclays Women’s Championship, National League and across the grassroots game. For our part our pledge is to continue to drive for our One Chesham vision that is bringing the young girls and boys associated with our Ladies and Youth sections closer to the main club which will enable us all to work together to ensure that we are providing the best facilities, the best environment and the best opportunity to enjoy this wonderful sport of ours safely.
I had a good meeting down at the ground this week and am delighted to announce that we are giving our PA system a complete overhaul which will improve the ability to hear announcements from all around the ground rather than the current situation where I am aware that in some places you can not hear anything and in other areas you cannot hear yourself think when announcements are being made! This will be fixed in the next couple of weeks.
You may or may not be aware but the Southern League has its own Goals of the Week Show that has been shortlisted for the Best In Non-League Video award in the Football Content Awards 2023. The show is up against some very strong competition in this category, namely: Ben Brown, Bunch Of Amateurs, D1VERSITY, DB30SportsTV, DWFTV, HiccupEU, Robbie Holmes, ShrimpersTV and The Football Stadium Show, so the league are keen that supporters of all Southern League clubs get behind them and vote for, so please do use this link and let’s see if we can do our part to help the league become a winner.
More locally, I would like to draw your attention to the Hospice of St Francis’ forthcoming Mudpack Challenge on Sunday 15th October at Ashridge House. You can sign up for either the 7km or 14km challenge with over 30 fun and filthy obstacles on the route. Located on the beautiful Ashridge House grounds there is a Mud Pack medal for every finisher and you will be raising money for a fantastic cause. Please click here for more details.
I look forward to seeing many of you back at The Meadow tomorrow as we look to start out on another winning run. In fact, having won our first nine games of the season many people have been asking if that is a club record for wins at the start of the season. Well actually it is not, there was a year that the club had an even better start and that was…well you will find the answer in tomorrow’s matchday programme, so be sure to pick up your copy and find out!
Peter Brown, Chairman