FIXTURES

  • Saturday 15 February – Home to Royston Town – League – Kick-off 3pm.
  • Monday 17 February – Home to Leiston – League – Kick-off 7:45pm.

PLAYER NEWS

  • Steve Cawley has returned to Hemel Hempstead as his loan period has ended.
  • Lewis Rolfe and Josh Coldicott-Stevens are now free from suspension.
  • Jacob Hutchinson and Diogo Freitas-Gouveia played for Colchester on Monday so did not play at Hemel on Tuesday. They return to the squad on Saturday against Royston.
  • Josh Bickerstaff will miss the Royston game through injury.
  • Alex Marsh, Jhai Dhillon and Ben Walster are all available for selection for the Royston game after recovering from injury.

HTFC SUPPORTING FOOTBALL V HOMOPHOBIA
At our game against Royston Town tomorrow, Hitchin Town FC is showing its support for the Football v Homophobia campaign. Football v Homophobia (FvH) takes place year round and the campaign has its “Month of Action” in February. It is an international campaign to tackle homophobia and prejudice against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT+) people in football. The aim of FvH is to make football safe and welcoming for everyone.

In recent years polls have shown that whilst football fans would be more accepting than ever of a gay player in their team, as many as 72% of football fans have heard homophobic abuse at football matches.

Using homophobic or transphobic language, or putting someone down because of their gender just because you don’t like the way they play football, manage a team, make a refereeing decision or because of whom they support is wrong. It’s against the Laws of the Game and can be a criminal offence, but most importantly, it can make football an intimidating and unpleasant place for fellow fans, players, and match officials.

Attitudes in Football are changing, but everyone needs to make sure that the language we use and the way we behave reflects this change. Fans can make a real difference to the culture of football, and we’d like your support. We will be supporting the campaign today in the following ways:

  • The team and Managers will be wearing Rainbow Laces to show the Club’s support of the LGBT+ community and Football v Homophobia. Many Club volunteers will be wearing these as well.
  • We have a new “Rainbow Canary” lapel badge for sale at £4, to show our support for the community and the campaign. They will be on sale in the Club Shop and Club Office, and can also be purchased online via our online Shop.

Throughout Football v Homophobia month and beyond, please help support Hitchin Town FC by standing up to prejudice and discrimination against LGBT+ people in the game. Together we can make Top Field a welcoming place for everyone.

NORTH HERTS RADIO
North Herts Radio will be at Top Field on Saturday 15 February 2020, to bring you live commentary of Hitchin Town’s league match against Royston. Freddie Cardy and Marac Alionic will be your hosts with the programme starting at 2:45pm.

We are on the ‘North Herts Radio Extra’ channel on the North Herts Radio website. If you are using a mobile device the latest North Herts FM Android App is available to download from the Play Store which will give access to the ‘North Herts Radio Extra’ channel.

TRAVEL SICKNESS
Since 7 December Hitchin have played 15 games and remarkably only 4 have been at Top Field with no less than 11 away games! At least 7 of our 13 remaining league games are at home.

NEWS FROM KATE DELLER
There will be raffle tickets on sale on Monday at the Leiston game, see Kate Deller to purchase them. The draw will be held at The Soul Man gig on Friday 21 February. Some of the prizes on offer are as follows–

  • Charlie Horlock Goalkeeping Gloves
  • Signed Arsenal Penant
  • “Blood Shirt” from Solihull Match
  • A “Seasons Fruit and Veg” Veg box
  • Hair Pack from Ambitions, Arlesey
  • PT Session and 2 spin Classes with Gayle Harvey PT
  • Two Fire Blankets from Herts Fire Protection
  • Battle Honours Ltd are offering a place shooting historic firearms in Surrey. Muskets to modern snipers rifles

Please try and attend our Quiz and Curry night on Thursday 27 February. Teams can consist of up to 6 people. The cost is £6.00 per person so please ring Kate to book a team on 07966 366664 or email at kate.deller@hitchintownfc.club.

JENNY O’SULLIVAN
On Saturday we have invited Jenny O’Sullivan to the Royston game. She is currently studying for an MA at the University of Hertfordshire and for one of her assignments she is completing a project about the traditions and rituals of football fans – the folklore of football you could say.

She sent me the following message:

As part of my MA at the University of Hertfordshire, I am carrying out a research project on the “Folklore of Football”. I am interested in fans’ match day routines, rituals and superstitions – it could be as simple as always standing in the same place at the ground, arriving at a certain time, wearing the same socks, buying a particular food or drink at half time – anything at all! I will be at the match on Saturday and would love to informally chat to anyone interested in taking part. If this is not convenient and you would still like to participate, please contact me at jenny_osullivan@hotmail.co.uk and questions can be emailed to you. At some point in the next few weeks an online questionnaire will also be posted on the fan forum if this is more convenient. Thank you in advance for any help you are able to give!

So please help Jenny on Saturday if you can.

JOHN GRAY FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS
The funeral service for John Gray will take place at St Ippolyts Church, St Ippolyts, Herts on Wednesday 19th February 2020 at 11am. All are welcome.

This will be followed by a private family cremation at North Herts Crematorium.

The Gray family would like to welcome everyone to join them at The Canary Club, Hitchin Town Football Club, Fishponds Road, Hitchin for refreshments after the service.

Donations in memory of John Gray for Bedford Hospitals Charity may be sent to G & H Seamer, Funeral Directors, 47 High Street, Sandy, Beds, SG19 1AG.

Cheques may be made payable to either the charity or G&H Seamer Donation Account.

HITCHIN TOWN UNDER 19’S
The academy team lost 2-0 at Maidstone this Wednesday. They do not have a fixture next week.

HITCHIN TOWN LADIES WITH CALLUM ELLIS

The Reserves game was called off last Sunday due to the weather.

Sunday 16th February 2020
14:00 kick offs

Division One
Houghton Athletic v HTLFC Firsts
Tithe Farm Road, Houghton

Division Three
Buntingford v HTLFC Reserves
Bowling Green Lane, Buntingford

EJA NEWS WITH NICK CARR
All EJA games were called off last weekend, victims of Storm Ciara, and it remains to be seen whether any games go ahead this weekend as Storm Dennis threatens to disrupt the scheduled football fixtures again.

Those games we are hoping to get played are as follows:

  • U14s at home to Bury Town in the EJA U14 Yellow Division, kickoff 11am at North Herts College.
  • It’s first versus second in the EJA U15 Brown Division when our U15s go to Cheshunt FC for a 2pm kickoff.
  • Our U18s also make the trip to Cheshunt in the U18 EJA Brown Division, kickoff 10am.
  • The U17s don’t have a fixture this weekend.

MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE

BANBURY

I thought we shaded the first half and did this by playing a passing game. But in the second half Banbury took a stranglehold on the game and I was very impressed by the way they passed the ball. We were indebted to Charlie Horlock who made a number of vital saves to keep us in the game.

In the last fifteen minutes we got back in to the game and could even have grabbed a late winner. But I was pleased to get another clean sheet and a further point towards safety.

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD

On a very cold evening I thought the few supporters that did turn up were treated to a very entertaining game. We started the match very well having a couple of half chances and then Dan Webb had a header that cannoned back off the bar.

Hemel grew in to the game and slowly started to cause us problems and this resulted in two goals being scored before half time. They added a third just after half time but I felt we responded well to this setback and we went on to play some very good football. Indeed after our second goal Hemel became anxious and we pushed them all the way. Unfortunately we could not find the equaliser and so exited the Herts Senior Cup.

It was interesting to see different generations playing together as 16 year old Kyle Tearle was alongside 37 year old Brett Donnelly!

ROYSTON TOWN

Royston arrive at Top Field on Saturday full of confidence after a fantastic result at National League Ebbsfleet in the FA Trophy last week. Not only are they flying in the Trophy but they are also riding high in the league and are in a play-off position with games in hand.

Therefore we know we face a very difficult match and I hope we are able to raise our game to match Royston.

LEISTON

On Monday we try again to play Leiston after the previous attempt ended in an abandonment caused by torrential rain. Leiston have improved since the beginning of the season and are making a bold bid to escape relegation. I am expecting a hard fought game and we will need to be up for it.

STEVE CAWLEY

I would like to thank Steve Cawley for his contribution to our season. He has now returned to Hemel and I will particularly remember the excellent hat-trick he scored at Peterborough Sports.

BY ROY IZZARD