I said in last week’s bulletin that I was hopeful today of having some positive news regarding signings and I am delighted to announce that is the case. Three of our key squad players from last season have signed contracts—Charlie Horlock, Jack Snelus and Diogo Freitas-Gouveia. Charlie is one of the best goalkeepers in the Central division and is so well respected and our club captain while Jack and Diogo were regular goal scorers throughout last season with some memorable goals included as well as excellent approach play. I am so pleased that despite interest from other clubs these three have decided to commit to Hitchin Town and see a bright future at Top Field after the strong finish to last season. I have had positive talks with other players and hope to give news of further signings early next week.

On Saturday I am really looking forward to going to Wembley to support Luton Town in the Championship Play-Off Final. I was a youth team player at Luton and since I have been manager at Hitchin I have fostered a very close relationship with my former club. We often loan players from Luton, and they use Top Field for their academy games which often see senior members of the board present including the chairman. They have also very kindly sent very strong sides to us in pre-season friendlies that are important to our finances. Stuart Hammonds an ex-Canary is a vey important part of the Luton media team and has always remained a close friend of the club.

So we send Luton our best wishes for Saturday and hope we will be playing a Premier League club in a pre-season game!

I have spoken to our head groudsman Steve Barker for his comments on the pitch. He felt it was in the best condition it had ever been in at the end of the season in all the years he has been at the club. The end of season maintenance work was very successful and with decent temperatures and plenty of rain the new seed germinated quicker than ever before. The first cut took place ten days after the seeding and it is now being cut twice a week. Steve says watering started last week and the grass seems to be growing half an inch per day and he says the pitch is almost ready to play on already. Steve is hopeful the pitch will be in its best ever condition when the new season starts.

We are well aware that the improvements that have been made at Top Field in recent seasons have transformed the ground and led to a much better spectator experience. It is essential therefore we keep on top of any necessary safety and maintenance work that may be needed to ensure Top Field remains a safe and welcoming environment. To this end a detailed summary of all concreted areas has been undertaken and we have a list of the most urgent upgrades that will be carried out in the close season. We have been very proactive in making grant claims to three different funds to ensure we do not miss out on any funding opportunities that may be available.

I attended a meeting this week where we reviewed match day activities to see if any changes or improvements could be identified. It was a very comprehensive analysis and covered areas such as safety, ticketing, security, parking, catering, toilets and signage. I was very impressed and can assure supporters we are striving to give them the best match day experience possible.

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