Well it has been quite a week for Hitchin Town Football Club. Firstly we were informed that at last spectators could return to non-league football and then on Friday we launched our Canary Crisis Fund Crowdfunder appeal to raise £25,000 for essential safety and maintenance work at Top Field.
CANARY CRISIS FUND CROWDFUNDER APPEAL
On Friday we launched our Canary Crisis Fund Crowdfunder appeal. We are looking to raise £25,000 to carry out urgent safety and maintenance work at Top Field. To read the full story behind our appeal please click here which starkly sets out why we need the money.
However much you can donate will make a difference and I am sure the people of Hitchin will rally round to ensure we are able to continue to play football at our current level. If the work is not carried out we will fail our ground grading and be automatically relegated so it is essential we achieve our target. As well as donating you can help by sharing our Crowdfunder page among your family and friends. We will be totally transparent and detail exactly how the money you donate will be spent as we go along. The appeal lasts for six weeks and I am confident that as in 2014 when we successfully marched to Save Top Field being replaced by a supermarket we will again succeed in saving our magnificent and unique stadium.
As I compile this bulletin we have already broken the £9,000 barrier which is an incredible start in just over 48 hours but just shows how so many people really do care about Hitchin Town Football Club. I for one never doubted the generosity of our supporters. It is good to see that already a number of ex-Canaries have donated including Luke and Callum Donnelly, Matt Lench, Lewis Rolfe and Will Wright.
There was also a great gesture from Brian Gray and his sister Alison who have added to the Crowdfunder appeal by sponsoring the home and away dug-outs in memory of their parents as well as many other incredibly generous supporters. With friends such as these I am confident we will reach our target. In order to donate, please click here.
The government finally gave the go ahead for spectators to return to non-league football this week. There are different capacity guidelines for the different steps of the non-league system but for Hitchin’s level it will mean a maximum of 300 spectators at the first game and that will increase to a maximum of 600 for future games. There are many guidelines and protocols to adhere to and I urge all our supporters to read our Covid-19 plans. The link is here.
Things will not be the same and in future you must buy a ticket in advance of the game-you will not be able to pay on the day. Social distancing must be observed and there will be changes in the way supporters move around the ground. Hopefully the new regulations will soon become second nature to our supporters but if you can help any supporter who may not yet be confident of buying tickets online please help them if you can. We will also try and help anyone who may need more help and advice.
Our Covid-19 officer David Tudball has spent many hours working through our Covid-19 plans and deserves much praise for being so thorough.
We urgently need more match day volunteer stewards to help with the new arrangements . If you can help or know of anyone else who could help please ring Kate Deller on 07966 366664.
GROUND REPORT BY STEVE BARKER
Today was a great improvement weather wise, or that’s how it started.
Our wonderful volunteers were given the task of painting the perimeter fence around the pitch and were making great progress applying gleaming white paint that was really brightening it up, until what we thought was a few spots of rain turned so quickly into a monsoon which caused the painting to be halted, even though it only lasted about 10 minutes. Everyone got drenched before they reached cover and decided that was enough and headed home to get dry. They will continue next Saturday.
The new fence was completed near the tractor shed and a coat of paint applied as was the case with the new cladding on the board room.
The pitch was cut which took all morning due to the length of the grass after all this week’s rain and the task wasn’t helped when one of our two mowers suffered a drive belt failure so just the teaming mower had to complete the cutting. The grass is growing at the rate of around 15mm a day.
The contractor will be putting fertilizer down this coming week along with worm control treatment as all the rain has brought casting worms to the surface much earlier than normal as we don’t usually see them before Autumn!
We also have quite a few ant nests appearing on the surface. It is not a simple task to maintain a quality playing surface and I don’t expect most fans and players realise what we have to do ” behind the scenes” as when they arrive on a match day everything is done.
LEVERSTOCK GREEN BY BRETT DONNELLY
I thought it was a very competitive game with plenty of robust tackles and free kicks. We dominated the whole game but in the first half I felt we took too many passes and needed to move the ball quicker which happened in the second half.
We looked dangerous up front and the work rate throughout the team was impressive as we gave as good as we got.
Overall I think we are in a much better position than at this time last year.
AMPTHILL TOWN BY MARK BURKE
I was very pleased by our performance at Ampthill. Our fitness levels are looking very good and this was shown in our impressive work rate and the closing down we did. It is good to see that there is genuine competition for places and I will be very happy to have difficult selection problems.
I am very happy that we are scoring a lot of goals as this has been a problem in recent seasons. I realise we have been playing lower level teams but this has been deliberate and we will gradually step up the level of opposition as match fitness improves.
We will be travelling to play Bedford on Tuesday 1 September 7.30pm kick-off.
LEAGUE FIXTURE RELEASE
The league fixtures are released at 1.00pm on Friday 28 August.
NO SOUTHERN LEAGUE CUP
The Southern League have confirmed there will be no League Cup competition this season.
STOTFOLD TICKET ARRANGEMENTS
Stotfold have now confirmed their ticketing arrangement for this Tuesday’s friendly. These can be viewed by clicking here.
BY ROY IZZARD