LAST BULLETIN OF THE YEAR
This is the last bulletin of 2020. This has been a year unlike any other. Coronavirus has dominated everything and had such far reaching effects on football. We end the year in further limbo not knowing when the season will restart.

When I started the bulletin the idea was to give regular news and information to our supporters and to avoid the secrecy that at one time seemed all too prevalent. I hope you find the weekly bulletin informative and I will continue to try and cover all aspects of the club. I am proud of the fact that throughout both lockdowns the bulletin continued to come out every week despite the difficulties that were faced.

I would particularly like to thank Mark Burke for his manager’s notes each week. Mark always speaks to me even after particularly bad results. He also gives honest opinions and does not just look for excuses and if we play badly he will say so, while giving praise where it is due as well. This gives greater credibility to his comments.

Michael Jones has given excellent information on the academy team and Paul Sprague and Kate Deller have given regular Crowdfunder updates so many thanks to them. I must also thank Stewart Curtis from our media team who ensures the bulletin appears on the website and our social media outlets every week.

The bulletin will return in 2021 and let us hope for a better year.

CHRISTMAS CHEER FROM THE COW COMMONERS
We are delighted to say that the Trustees of The Cow Commoners Trust have agreed to give a fourth consecutive rent free quarter to the club. The full story is available here.

FIXTURES
The FA issued the following statement on Saturday 19th December:

An update for ‘Non-Elite’ football in England following latest Covid-19 Tier 4 restrictions
Further to the government’s announcement this evening with regards to the introduction of Tier 4 areas and the latest information on Covid-19, football for adult participants across ‘non-elite’ football in Tier 4 areas is not permitted, including all training and fixtures.

This immediate advice in place from 20 December applies to the following aspects of ‘non-elite’ football in England in Tier 4 areas:

  • Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS];
  • Tiers 3-7 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP];
  • Regional NLS Feeder Leagues;
  • The Barclays FA WSL Academy League;
  • FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs [unless under elite status]
  • Indoor and outdoor adult grassroots football.
  • The Vitality Women’s FA Cup is currently classified as ‘non-elite’ at this stage in the competition.

THANK YOU TO OUR VOLUNTEERS
We never take our volunteers for granted and this is the message our ground safety and covid officer David Tudball sent to them this week:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the help you have given since September, when spectators returned to Top Field in a vastly different environment to that which we had when we stopped playing in March.

We are all supporters of the club and watching the match is why we go to Top Field. I really appreciate the fact that you have given your time, and in return for most of you only managed to see parts of the games. You carried out your allotted tasks in a most professional manner, helpfulness and politeness at all times.

Your assistance has been invaluable in helping to provide a safe environment for supporters to enjoy football at Top Field. On behalf of myself and the Management Committee we are very grateful, for without your help we could not have managed this.

I would like to wish all of you, and your families, a very Merry and safe Christmas, and look forward to the time in 2021 when football can once again return to Top Field.

Best Wishes,
David

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS FRIENDLY
Last Saturday morning Hitchin played Baldock in a behind closed doors friendly at the Arena. The game was split in to three 30 minute periods with multiple substitutions being made. Mark Burke was able to use nearly all the first team squad with a number of players getting an hour’s football.

Callum Stead scored a brilliant goal in the first period but Baldock equalised in the second period and scored a penalty in the third period. Mark considered it a useful exercise to keep players match fit.

MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE

With the move in to tier 4 and training and matches no longer permitted it is a really frustrating time for myself and the management team and the players. The problem is the uncertainty with no idea when football will resume and when it does what format may be used in the league. We have already had two ”pre-season” periods and now a third one is likely.

I must say I was pleased with the way the players came back after the second lockdown and they showed excellent fitness levels. I am sure the players will again step up to the plate when we come back after this latest break.

It will be strange for me to be able to spend the whole Christmas period with my family as for the last 35 years I have been so used to Boxing Day and New Year’s Day football.

Finally on behalf of the players and management I would like to thank all our supporters for their great support in 2020. It has been a difficult year for everyone but your support has been unwavering. Let us hope 2021 will be a better year and we can return to normality.

Merry Christmas all!

BY ROY IZZARD