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The Southern Football League

A season off the pitch (part 1)

Sunday, May 14 2017

Roy Izzard looks back at the season off the field. Part 1 covers the close season until December 2016.†

It was another very eventful season off the pitch. Again I think Hitchin Town have enhanced their reputation and made a number of progressive moves. Also the media profile of the club has continued to improve while Top Field had its first major improvement for many years. In this article I will look back at the events that shaped the 2016-17 season off the pitch.

Back in July work was completed on the installation of new floodlights at Top Field. They cost over £50,000 and were used for the first time in the friendly against Hendon. They really have made a massive difference with their high lux value readings and goalkeepers in particular are very grateful they can now see clearly in evening games! A new PA system was also installed.

It was announced in July that Alma Engineering Limited were continuing their shirt sponsorship for a 16th consecutive season and it is very rare for a sponsor to continue their support for such a long period.

August saw Hitchin host their inaugural Beer/Milk Mile at Top Field. It was the brainchild of Kate Deller and raised over £300. It will take place again this year.

Luton Town announced they would hold some of their development games at Top Field cementing the strong relationship between the two clubs.

September saw Hitchin and Biggleswade United try and do something different on Non League Day. The clubs decided to make their F A Cup game pay what you want with 10% of the gate receipts being donated to Prostate Cancer UK. It was an unqualified success with a bumper gate of 708 and £300 being donated to the charity.

Also in September there was a successful Youth Day when Merthyr were the visitors. 200 under 16ís attended and Anthony Hamilton demonstrated his KickTrix football aid. The clubís facilities were again used by the television company filming Doctor Foster for BBC.

October saw another charity event as a coffee & cake morning was held for MacMillan Cancer Care and £360 was raised.

November saw the official opening of the new floodlights and the club pulled of a coup by inviting an Arsenal X1 to provide the opposition. It was 54 years to the month from when Arsenal played Hitchin to mark the switch on of the original floodlights. It was an emotional night as surviving players from both teams from the original game were among the 1,060 crowd and Arsenal legend Pat Rice performed the opening ceremony. Again Hitchin decided to make the game pay what you want and £500 was raised for Bob Wilsonís Willow Foundation as we continued to show our credentials as a caring community club.

In December it was announced that club legend Bruce Spavins had died and his family attended the game when he was remembered.

Photos thanks to Peter Else, Mick Docking & Steve Barker.†Part 2, from January 2017, follows tomorrow.†




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