CROWDFUNDER UPDATE
We are about to enter the last week of our Canary Crisis Fund Crowdfunder and we are less than £5,000 short of our £50,000 target. I am absolutely certain that with one final push we will reach the target and I am so proud of the support we have received. There have been nearly 300 different contributors and support has come from far and wide. There is no doubt that Top Field can now be made as safe as possible and we will be able to carry out all the essential repairs and maintenance that were needed.

TEDDY’S SPONSORED WALK
This Sunday will see five year old Teddy Donnelly doing his sponsored walk when he will attempt to do 25 laps round Top Field for our Crowdfunder. We all wish him well and he will start soon after 10.00am. I am sure the Donnelly clan will be present in big numbers to cheer Teddy on. Of course Teddy is now a TV star after his appearance on Look East and I hope he doesn’t know something I don’t after saying to the reporter that Hitchin Town was closing down because we don’t have much money!!

Teddy’s original target was £500 but he has already raised over £1,600 so well done Teddy and good luck on Sunday.

BBC LOOK EAST
We were lucky enough to be featured on BBC Look East on Monday evening as there was a live link from Top Field before our FA Cup tie with Needham Market. It was great publicity for the club as I was able to plug Crowdfunder and Teddy Donnelly stole the hearts of the audience with his interview.

I thought it might be interesting to explain how the feature came about. I received an email from the Look East sports editor Jonathan Park who had seen we were running a Crowdfunder appeal and wondered if we would be able to start the season. I saw this as an opportunity to try and get Jonathan to come down to Top Field to do a story on Crowdfunder. So I went back to him and listed what I thought made it a story that needed to be covered. I went for the human interest element mentioning the donation from the Andrews’ family in memory of Fred, the players paying for four shirts to feature the names of longstanding supporters who had passed away last season and the fact we had our own younger version of Captain Tom doing a sponsored walk.

Luckily Jonathan agreed it was a story that deserved to be covered and we agreed a date for BBC to come down. Unfortunately it got put off as a bigger story had to be covered instead! Jonathan agreed to come the following week until at the last moment he had cold symptoms and the BBC wanted him to have a covid test. Due to problems with the testing system he could not get one so he had to cancel again.

I was very frustrated but was not going to give up so I asked Jonathan to come down to our FA Cup game to which he agreed. When I finally got confirmation on Monday that he was definitely coming I was so relieved.

Jonathan was very professional and hopefully our profile has been enhanced but it did nothing for my nerves with the two cancellations!

MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE

ALVECHHURCH

We got off to the perfect start to the season in our opening game. To score five goals was beyond my wildest expectations despite our pre-season form. Alvechurch actually started very brightly but we scored our opening goal at an opportune moment. This put them on the back foot while it served to relax us. We went on to play good football and scored a second goal before half time. When one of their players got himself stupidly sent off the cards seemed stacked in our favour.

However at the start of the second half All credit to Alvechurch who came at us and scored a deserved goal. This saw a great reaction from us and we scored a third goal almost immediately to restore our two goal cushion. This visibly deflated Alvechurch and saw us raise our game back to the levels of the first half. We made the pitch big which did not help the ten men of Alvechurch and it led to more openings and we scored two further goals.

NEEDHAM MARKET

Once again we got off to a slow start which was very dangerous against a very good Needham Market side. However once again the timing of our first goal was critical and we then had further opportunities to increase our lead. Unfortunately we did not take them and fortunately Charlie Horlock was in magnificent form and made two great saves either side of half time.

We responded to this threat by scoring our second goal and this gave us breathing space before a third goal settled the game.

I would like to thank our supporters. To get more than 400 in both games was very encouraging and I thought there was a great atmosphere around the ground.

STOURBRIDGE

I am looking forward to our trip to Stourbridge and it is exciting to be involved in a top of the table clash for the first time for several seasons even if it is after just one game!! But seriously I am under no illusions about the task that lies ahead. Stourbridge are almost certain to be chasing promotion and if we come back unbeaten I will be very happy. Dan Webb will return to the squad but Lewis Barker is still suspended.

AFC RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS

Tuesday sees us face our first local derby at Rushden. Andy Peake has done a very good job in establishing Rushden at this level and before the pandemic struck in March they were play-off candidates. I am pleased to be playing soon after the Stourbridge game because if we did well it will continue the momentum while if we have lost we have the chance to get it out of our system. I hope our supporters turn up in good numbers and get behind the side.

EMIRATES FA CUP
The Second Round Qualifying of the Emirates FA Cup took place earlier today, with the Canaries travelling to local Hertfordshire rivals St. Albans City. While writing this bulletin I had a phone call from the St Albans secretary regarding our Emirates FA Cup tie. As it stands it will take place behind closed doors and there is not an option to switch it to Top Field. Their secretary hoped there may be further news from the FA as it seems quite ridiculous some FA Cup games will have supporters and others will not which means some clubs will make money while others suffer losses.

If anything changes I will let you know as soon as possible.

ACADEMY NEWS WITH MICHAEL JONES

Thursday 24 September we played away to Newport Pagnell in the FA Youth Cup 1st Qualifying Round. We were missing a few players from last week’s away 2-0 win over Newport Pagnell in our league fixture.

Unfortunately this week after taking an early lead through Kye Tearle with an excellent free kick from 30 yards we had a 15 minute spell before half time where we conceded a penalty which resulted in a goal, then conceded another goal to go 2-1 behind as well as a straight red CARD for an off the ball incident. This left us coming in at 2-1 down at half time. Playing the rest of the game with 10 men was difficult but the players gave their all and we ended up losing 5-2 which was a very harsh score line for the effort put in. Our second goal came from another expertly taken free kick from Kye Tearle meaning he ended the night with a brace.

Squad: Daniel Weaver, Stan Georgiou, Luke Wright, Marlow Gough, Tyrese Oates, Raymond John, Kye Tearle, Harvey Stock, Nathan Wing, Flavius Drescanu, Nikolay Rusev.
Subs Used – Cameron Markland, Rajveer Samra, Cameron Francis
Subs Unused – Joe Warne, Adam Asad, Scott Wilson

Friday 25 September we were at home to Heritage Grey in the SCL east division league fixture.

We started the game strong despite falling behind but goals from Joe Warne and a superb free kick from Cam Francis put us in front. A wonderful passing move resulted in a Morgan Seaby goal and despite a late penalty from the away side we came out 3-2 winners. This leaves us top of the table with two wins from two.

Squad: Adam Asad, Scott Wilson, Nathan Bell, Rocca Lewin wren, Joe Warne, Cam Francis, Ansu Koroma, Morgan Seaby, Cameron Markland, Matthew Morton, Thomas Gentry.
Subs Used – Ronaldo Caromba, Rocco Traetto
Subs Unused – Kai Dawson, Carl Evans, Tyler Toms

BY ROY IZZARD