Chesham United FC

With the season now in full swing it is my intention to continue with my weekly update via the website and social media, but on weekends that we have home games I will try to avoid repetitiveness so that for those attending the match against Merthyr Town tomorrow still have something fresh to read in our excellent new programme.

It is very much early days, but after our first home game of the season on Tuesday night there were many people saying that the programme was the best part of the game against Farnborough! Great credit to Ryan Woolnough who has taken this on with help in the initial set-up from Alan Calder, it is very early days on the pitch, but certainly that game gave us an insight into the strength of the league this season and the investment some clubs are putting into their playing squad. Some of the numbers you hear being banded around what players are earning just seems completely unsustainable at this level of the game.

You have only to look at the attendances around the league for the opening games and they are not massive, certainly not enough to fund a huge playing budget, so the money needs to come from somewhere. Every club is slightly different, but fundamentally the sources tend to be gate receipts, sponsorship, clubhouse takings, hiring out facilities and the generous donations of individuals; getting a good combination of the first four and minimising the latter is the way to build a successful and sustainable club for the future and is the route we are looking to take.

Our quest to find a new home has been well-publicised and remains a key ingredient in the recipe for success, a new purpose-built ground will pave the way for increased income from hiring out facilities, greater sponsorship opportunities and increased clubhouse receipts; combined with more community usage that I hope will lead to increased attendances at matches, this will give us a very tasty looking dish that will keep the club going from strength to strength way beyond the tenure of myself and the current board at the helm of the club.

That remains the longer-term goal, in the short term we need to address what has been a disappointing start to the season with just one point and one goal from our opening two matches. I know that the management have been working hard to get the team ready for tomorrow’s home game against Merthyr Town, another tough encounter, but one that we are all hugely looking forward to on what should be an excellent Saturday afternoon at The Meadow. If you are not yet a regular at home games and have been thinking “I must pop along sometime”, this would be a great weekend to do that as we welcome our Welsh opposition, who I know will bring a good following of away fans along with them. Kick-off is 3.00pm, the bar and burger van are open before that, so come along, enjoy the occasion, and help us to cheer the boys on to what I hope will be the first win of the season.

I am delighted to report that we have a new Kit Man in David Walters, a Chesham lad now living in Aylesbury, I had the privileged in playing football with David’s Dad in my teens and in the last years of my footballing career until I got the knee injury that stopped me from playing the beautiful game competitively (Although I think I would have ended up with a few more cards against my name if I was playing today!). I then went on to referee him when I moved on to wear the black shirt.

Now that we are returning to something resembling normality it is important that we as a club build on the foundations that we have built over lockdown in terms of the structure of volunteers and helpers. I am delighted with the way the clubhouse is operating with our new bar manager and our monthly management team meetings help to keep the youth, ladies and supporters included in the running of the club; the next stage is building on that to build teams of volunteers that can work together, share the workload and deliver some exciting and positive outcomes; be that commercial, sponsorship, marketing, ground maintenance – If we had a team of willing volunteers in each area, I think we will be amazed at what we can achieve. If you would like to be involved, please do get in touch, speak to me directly, or have a chat with anyone else that you know is involved to get their take on where they think more help is needed.

We are a relatively small community football club playing in a high-quality semi-professional league, very much reliant on the excellent support we receive from supporters, volunteers, and local businesses. The fact that within the first eight days of the season we have already travelled to Devon to play Tiverton and now welcome a team from South Wales tells you everything about the geography of the league and level of competition we face. I remain optimistic that we have the management, the playing budget, and the infrastructure to have a serious push at promotion this season, with your support, with a loud and vocal home crowd, we can all be a part of the journey.

Thank you for your support, I look forward to seeing you on the terraces.