I hope everyone is staying safe and well as Storm Eunice passes over our town, I had hoped to be writing notes looking forward to tomorrow’ match against Weston-Super-Mare, but unfortunately the game has already had to be postponed due to damage caused by the storm. Late this afternoon (Friday) we discovered that a power cable has come down near the exit gates and at the time of writing is still live, but that is being sorted with immediate effect, along with other damage to the ground’s structures. Hopefully the storm will have passed and we can go ahead with our next league game at home to Tiverton on Tuesday night, kick-off 7.45pm.
Last weekend we enjoyed an excellent 4-0 win over Salisbury that has reaffirmed our status as promotion contenders in what is turning into a very open league season with any number of teams capable of making it into the play-offs, where anything can happen. That includes Weston-Super-Mare who, with games in hand on us and being a place above, will very much have their eyes on one of those places and when we do get to plat the re-arranged match it will be one not to be missed.
This week we had our monthly board and management meetings with plenty of good stuff going on around the club. We have agreed this season that the pitch will be closed off on the weekend of 7/8th May, with the pitch that weekend being given over to a family community day on the Saturday with a Ladies tournament on the Sunday before the close season pitch preparation begins.
It is always good to hear updates from all sections of the club and witness the enthusiasm of the volunteers that give up their time, seeing us all start to collaborate is pleasing and refreshing. As an example, the main club has a VEO camera, the youth have also invested in one so that the players and parents of all age groups have the chance relive their magical moments on the field, and now the Ladies are also looking at investing in a VEO camera and the conversations have started: surely we can work together and get a better deal for all of us? That sort of discussion just would not have happened 12-18 months ago.
It is also worth reminding you that all season ticket holders can access the Ladies home matches at The Meadow free of charge. A couple of good results in recent weeks has seen the team climb into third in the league, although promotion is unlikely this season (only one team is promoted) they are showing that they have the potential to have a push next season. If you get the chance, I highly recommend popping along to watch the Ladies in action.
We also at the meetings have agreed the structure for the relaunch of the Claret Club for the 2022/23 season, this is our business club that replaced the old Corporate Patron Scheme, we have put together a very appealing package and set ourselves some ambitious targets to make this a success. Full details will be launched in early April.
In addition to the Claret Club we have planned a massive revamp of our season ticket offering that will see additional benefits added to the traditional offering. This is still at a relatively early stage, and final pricing to be finalised (or being honest, may need to be tweaked if we happen to achieve promotion this season) and it is our intention to meet with representatives of the Supporters’ Trust to run through the plans and hopefully arrange an open meeting to present this and other initiatives later in this current season.
I am also pleased to say that we have had a number of donation offers come forward for the new floodlights, away from the GoFundMe page so I remain very hopeful that we will reach our ambitious target and be in a position to install the new floodlights in time for next season, but we do still need your help, if you can contribute, no matter how large or small, please do so. Donations can be made here. As stated previously, the new lights will improve the safety, be more economical, more eco-friendly and make viewing matches a much more pleasant experience. As a result, we will be in a position to return to a claret and blue home kit next season, without the risk of losing visibility of players in the poor light.
Also behind the scenes we continue to have discussions about a move to a new ground and have recently had our first meeting with the local council to discuss our pre-applications plans and are now in a position where we have opened up communication that will continue over the coming weeks and months.
It seems a reoccurring message over the past couple of years, this time for different reasons; stay safe.
Thank you as always for your support,
Peter Brown, Chairman