FIXTURES
The FA have just issued the following statement:

National League System Step 3 to 6 update.

We wish to provide the following update to Clubs in relation to the potential continuation or curtailment of the 2020/21 season at Steps 3 to 6 of the National League System (NLS).

The Alliance Committee (Steps 3 & 4) and Leagues Committee (Steps 5 & 6) met on 8 and 9 February, respectively, to discuss the data that was collated following the recent surveys circulated to Clubs at this level of the game.

During discussions, the Committees acknowledged the likelihood that the Prime Minister will set out a ‘roadmap’ to the nation on 22 February as to how Government intend to begin to reduce the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Given that any such update from the Government on 22 February may provide the Committees with additional, relevant information to help determine the preferred route forward, they have agreed to reconvene after this date.

In addition, the Alliance Committee are also conscious of the ongoing process the National League (Steps 1 & 2) are undertaking and the potential impact this could have on any actions the Committee may choose to take.

We will provide an update in due course.

On behalf of the Alliance and Leagues Committees

WINTER SURVIVAL FUND
We have submitted our claim to the Winter Survival Fund but will not find out if we will be successful for a few weeks.

RAPID COVID TESTING AT TOP FIELD FOR THE ASYMPTOMATIC
Hitchin Town FC pride themselves on doing their best to help the community, so when we received a call from Herts County Council asking if we could provide a rapid Covid testing site at Top Field, we jumped at the chance to do our little bit to help.

HCC have an increasing number of pop-up testing sites in and around the county which are intended to make easily available free tests to key and essential workers who do not display symptoms. By getting regular tests in this way it is hoped to further limit the spread of the virus.

The site will not be open to anyone displaying symptoms and all tests must be booked online beforehand via www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/rapidtest. This way numbers can be strictly monitored and social distancing safely maintained throughout.

The Top Field testing site has initially been earmarked to operate on Sunday 21st and Sunday 28th February.

A MESSAGE FROM THE CAPTAIN
I asked our captain Dan Webb to write an article reflecting life in the lockdown to let supporters know how our players are being affected. This was his response which should make you smile:

As you can imagine, not a lot to report! The group chat has dried up – it’s mostly Del Boy (kit manager Derek Barker) on the wind up about how rubbish Spurs are each week. He does well though, getting bites out of Parks and Egghead (Josh Bickerstaff) without fail.

Generally, the lads are keeping well. Steve Cawley has taken up professional PC gaming, Belly (Ben Walster) has gone into property investment. The always positive Marsh brothers have let themselves go a little, you can barely see their 8-packs any more. The goalkeepers are probably working the hardest, as Burkey has Chaz (Charlie Horlock) and Boomer (Josh Mollison) up at the Arena doing general maintenance on minimum wage (that’s a lie, they’re not getting paid at all).

JD (Jhai Dhillon) has had the longest sabbatical known to non-league football and in fact, probably the first ever and only sabbatical in non-league football. Kye Tearle spends most of his days up the park, kicking a ball around like he was 16 years old again (actually I think he still is 16 years old). He tells me he sees LB (Lewis Barker) up there most days, as LB has bought himself a skateboard.

Just like on match days working hard as usual and recruiting for the MoD, is Layne Eadie. Browny (Luke Brown) and Greeny (Jack Green) have joined Max Ryan in the music industry and have started a boy band – Max needed some real talent to help him reach the charts but unfortunately only these two were available.

I’m sure, like me, they’re all keeping as fit as possible while trying to live their lives. It’s harder to do that right now, with the weather and lack of facilities, but no excuses for us. Plenty of ways to keep fit and we’ll all be ready for Brett’s pre-season postcode marathon come July or August or… I’ll leave it there.

Really missing it, the lads, everyone at the club and the buzz of a Saturday match-day at the mighty Top field. I’d do anything to be sitting in the Canary Club right now, off the back of a clean sheet win (very rare), taking plenty of abuse from the Guinness Guzzlers and the Flag Brigade.

I’m looking forward to the Adam Parker Blog. If you’re trying to tie him down, he’s usually walking around the golf courses looking for lost balls to sell on eBay.

All the best everyone, see you soon!

Cheers, Webby

A MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAPLAIN
After he read in last week’s bulletin about how Brett Donnelly was struggling through the lockdown our club chaplain Nick Smith contacted me. This was his message and please take advantage of his offer if you are in need of someone to talk to:

Hi Roy,

I saw in your bulletin this week that Brett Donnelly has been finding the lockdown tough. I imagine he’s not alone…

If anyone associated with HTFC wants to have a confidential chat I am of course available to be a listening and non-judgemental ear…feel free to pass my contact details along to anybody who you think might value a chat.

I did have somebody stop and ring the doorbell for a chat a while back because they’d seen I was the chaplain.

I hope you are well.

Stay safe,
Nick

Rev Nick Smith
Vicar

01462 434 686
www.stmarks-hitchin.org.uk

Donate to St Mark’s Church here:
https://stmarkshitchin.churchsuite.co.uk/donate/

ACADEMY UPDATE BY MICHAEL JONES
Troy Townsend – Kick it out – Tackling Racism & Discrimination

We were extremely fortunate this week (Wednesday) to be invited to a zoom call with Troy Townsend. This allowed our players and staff to listen to Troy’s experiences and knowledge while also discussing the key topic of discrimination and areas in which players can take control in partnership with the ‘Kick it out’ campaign, tackling racism and discrimination. In recent weeks and months, this has become an even bigger topic within the sporting community, and we are doing all we can to support it. This gave a great insight for all involved and provided a very beneficial experience that has helped educate us all further.

FISHPONDS ROAD STAND ROOF
As you have probably seen the roof over the Fishponds Road stand was blown off on Sunday. It is yet another problem we have to deal with but the most important thing to say is how relieved we are it happened when the ground was empty so nobody got hurt..

We are obviously well aware that the infrastructure of the ground is an ongoing problem. It was the reason we had our Crowdfunding appeal as we knew the costs of doing the necessary work to keep our ground grading was beyond our finances. The Crowdfunding was a great success but that money has all been allocated to specific projects so dealing with the Fishponds Road roof presents a further problem. But rest assured we will come up with a plan to deal with this.

JAMAL LOWE
Continuing the theme of how ex-Canaries are doing Jamal Lowe played for Swansea against Manchester City in the FA Cup on Wednesday. Jamal joined Hitchin on loan from Barnet in the 2013/14 season and played 19 games scoring 1 goal. He eventually played for Portsmouth and then Wigan before joining Swansea for a fee of £800,000 in August 2020.

BRETT’S BLOG
Brett Donnelly has produced his latest blog and it will go online next week. It is currently being edited.

FACE MASKS AND SCARVES
Another reminder to advise that we have Face Masks and Bar Scarves now on sale online.

The face masks costing £7 plus postage, are of a better quality than the first range we bought back in the summer.

The bar scarves, which we sold at the Solihull Moors FA Cup game a couple of seasons back (yes it really is two years since then), remain at £6, plus postage.

Please be aware that at the current time, these are only available from our Online Shop. It is expected that delivery will take between 7-14 days from placement of order. The link to the Merchandise sales page in the shop is https://hitchintownfc.ktckts.com/brand/merchandise.

BY ROY IZZARD