Chesham United FC

Another week, another three points from a hard fought 1-0 win away from home and the league table continues to look very favourable. Now is not the time to get complacent.

We have a huge few weeks ahead of us starting with a trip to second-placed Salisbury tomorrow. We are currently 15 points ahead in the league, which sounds massive and publicly our hosts tomorrow are already talking about securing second place and a home play-off, but deep down I am sure they have us in their sights. They have a game in hand also; beat us tomorrow, win the game in hand and that lead is down to nine points. Salisbury also are still to come to Chesham, if they win that and the lead is down to just six points. Throw into the mix the fact that they will be aware that next Saturday we play AFC Totton, who are very much a form side with a strong squad and a large following. If we slip up there, Salisbury and others will be waiting to pounce. I repeat, now is not the time to be complacent.

All that said, what a fantastic position we have got ourselves into with our form since Christmas. Saturday’s 1-0 win at Hendon epitomised that when again we had to show the patience to break down some very strong opposition and grab a win that in previous years we would probably not have achieved. Credit to the management, players and our magnificent away support again.

Tomorrow we have a Supporters’ Trust coach going to the game and I know there are many more making their own travel arrangements. The home support will be plentiful and noisy, we do need as many people as possible to bring their voices and support for what will be a huge game of football. If you are coming to the game you can save £1 on your entry fee by purchasing tickets in advance on the Salisbury site

We are very aware that we cannot afford to be complacent (after all, it is the third time I have mentioned it already!) and I am well aware that on the outside our lead at the top looks just about as good as anyone in any league in the country, believe me, inside we are bubbling over with excitement ourselves at the prospect of what we are so close to achieving. It has been a long wait to get promoted from the Southern League, so many heart-breaking play-off moments, we just cannot afford to build ourselves up too much or show any arrogance, it really is the old cliché of one game at a time.

However, of course, behind the scenes we are making plans and having conversations about what we need to do if we were to progress up a league. This is something that has been on the agenda for some time, forward planning is extremely important and promotion has always been our ambition, so whether it is this year or not, it is something we have had to plan for.

It is a big step-up, and I want to reassure you that we are not blind to that and are having conversations about things like playing budgets, matchday organisation, infrastructure, health & safety, marketing, sponsorship…building a business plan around different scenarios. For example, putting in a figure for attendances is challenging. There will be more local derbies with potentially very big bank holiday crowds, but we also have to question whether general crowds would be higher in the higher league if we were mid-table/bottom-half or would they actually be lower than if we were top of the league below? We need to budget for all outcomes and it all ties in with improving our marketing and engagement with the community to attract bigger gates and make improvements in everything we do. Let’s just say, there is plenty to distract us behind the scenes from getting over-excited about our league position!

For our senior women’s teams it was a tale of two defeats this week. The first team travelled to Actonians LFC on Tuesday night having had their home fixture last Sunday against Norwich City rained off. Actonians were better than Chesham on the night and took the three points so our attention now turns to Ashford at home on Sunday afternoon (2pm) – come along and support the team, enjoy the game and grab a drink from the bar. The Development Squad played Long Crendon in The Chairman’s Cup and despite a valiant performance against the team at the top of their table they also came home to Chesham empty handed.

Thank you as always for your support. I hope to see you in Salisbury tomorrow, and we are back at The Meadow next Saturday with as massive game against AFC Totton. They regularly report large crowds and have the highest average in the league, so they will likely bring plenty of support – let’s see if we can make that the week we break the 1,000 people in the ground for a league game target. Spread the word!

Peter Brown, Chairman