We have been advised that there will be a pop up bar with pumps located just outside of the clubhouse for tomorrow’s game versus St Albans City. This will be staffed by the racecourse and will help to ease queues which have been a problem all season. I recently spoke to Sharon who is the clubs General Manager about the situation, discussing the possibility of the Supporters Club helping out by selling either plastic bottled beer or poly pins at some games on behalf of the club. I’m pleased that a solution has been found to improve the match day experience for supporters and I’m sure the club would be grateful to hear some feedback after tomorrow’s game.
I’ve also spoken to Sharon recently about the schools programme and engaging with the local community. Sharon would like to start doing school visits which I also think is vital in taking the club forward. I’m now in discussions with Nick Haycock who is happy to help in taking it to the next level. It’s important when going into schools that we have a solid plan in place and we’re not just selling the football club but also providing education. Some players have already said they would be willing to give up some of their free time to assist with school visits but it’s important that this isn’t the primary focus and we use the opportunity to educate children on the importance of sport, both physically and socially. We can’t expect the fan base to grow overnight and its my opinion that if we want to see lasting results then we have to do things for the right reasons and build something that we can be proud of.
It was a disappointing few days last week as we bowed out off the FA Cup and the FA Youth Cup. With prize money doubling this year it was a great opportunity to raise some funds but it wasn’t meant to be. Unfortunately, the club currently doesn’t have an under 18s team and I think i’m right in saying there is no under 17 team either. The side that lost to Hullbridge Sports in the youth cup featured only players from the West Ham foundation. The side that won in the earlier round featured 2 players from our under 16 team. This really is a reality check for where we are as a club and how much work is needed to get us to where we want to be. Steve Shore has mentioned an academy to start up next season with assistance from Paul Hopkins and Nick Haycock and its important to bring back a reserve team and improve relations with the youth committee also. There’s currently no stepping stone into the first team so the best players from the local area are going to play elsewhere. As fans we love to see local lads coming into the team and doing well. Joe Ward, Harry Morgan and Hugo Skepelhorn are good examples of this and I think its a view shared by the management team and board that we want to see more of this. While improving the opportunities in the first team for youth players we also need to think about how we can interact with the younger players and parents. Concord recently offered free entry to all parents of youth players which I think was an excellent move. We wouldn’t be in a position to do this as our average attendances are higher and we have much more youth teams so we’ve got to look at what else we can do to involve the youth in the club. Nick is currently in talks about putting together a football development strategy for the club and given his previous experience, this could be very exciting for the future.
As a Supporters Club we will look at how we can contribute in all these areas as well as improving the match day experience for all fans. I recently looked over the covered terracing feasibility report which was put together a few years ago by Paul Roberts, Judith Roberts and Ken Carr. This is a top priority for us at the moment and to be completely honest I don’t think we as a committee did enough when this was put on hold. I think we were weak which I take responsibility for and I’m more determined than ever to make talk of covered terracing up the clubhouse end a reality. I’ve sent all relevant information on this to Jill Turner and Steve Shore who will be discussing it with the council along with numerous other things to try to improve the match day experience.
To keep doing what we’re doing and more we need your continued support. We have a Chinese night on Wednesday (3rd) for which we have around 30 spaces remaining at £20 a head. This is an excellent fundraiser for us and will help us to contribute in vital areas to assist Betsi in taking the club forward. If you would like to book a space then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also have a quiz night on the 18th October which is just £3 per person including food. If we can get 10-12 teams like we’ve had in the past then it all adds up and makes a huge difference.
We’re currently not where we want to be and it can be incredibly frustrating watching teams pass us by. Its important that we all stick together though and we do what we do best by giving the team our full support and showing patience with them as well as our new owners. As Nick said in his recent podcast, it might get worse before it gets better. I’m confident that we’ll get to where we want to be though for a few reasons.
-We have the hardest working management team we’ve ever had. Some of which are not being paid a penny and a manager who was willing to put his hand in his pocket when we were close to collapse.
-We have owners who want to build for the future and with the changes happening to the Racecourse right now there’s no doubt they have that in their locker.
-The supporters club committee has never been stronger. £48,500 raised last season, membership up by over 50% and the motivation to assist in shaping the clubs future(something every fan should have a say in).
Actions speak louder than words and we all have to work together to build a club off the field that the whole City can be proud of. Please keep supporting us so we can make a difference.
Chelmsford City Supporters Club Chairman