It has been quite a week for our Canary Crisis Fund Crowdfunder appeal. To break through the £17,500 barrier in just the first week is an amazing achievement and on behalf of the club can I thank everyone who has donated. The early success of the appeal means we can plan to start the most essential work immediately and an order has already been placed to repair the main stand roof.
As ever our social media team have been performing above and beyond what we could reasonably expect. To get a feature about our Crowdfunder on the Colin Murray show on Radio Five Live gave us a national platform and Matt Furniss did an excellent PR job for the club in the interview. I found it interesting that the previous feature was on Lionel Messi so it was quite something that Messi and Hitchin Town FC were linked together by Murray – if only Messi would donate to the Crowdfunder!
We were also featured in the i newspaper while the Comet gave prominent coverage on their website and in the paper. Luton Town gave us a mention on their twitter account and we are due to be in the Non-League Paper on Sunday. All publicity helps so the more our Crowdfunder page is shared across social media the more donations we will receive. £25,000 is a stiff target but I have every confidence we will achieve it because I know that people do care about our iconic Top Field stadium.
A stand out moment during the week came when our playing squad made a generous £400 donation to the fund. They asked that the money be used to buy four ”name on the shirt” rewards and that the name of four loyal and devoted followers of the club who sadly passed away last season be put on our 2021/22 away shirt next season. John Gray, Chris Green, Ralph Armitage and Fred Andrews will therefore be remembered in a unique way and their families were delighted with this brilliant gesture from our players. Footballers are often portrayed as money grabbing and selfish so how great it is to see that the Hitchin Town squad have shown that there is a different story to tell.
Click here to get involved and donate to the Crowdfunder appeal today.
Another heart-warming story about the Crowdfunder appeal concerns young Teddy Donnelly. Teddy if five years old and the son of ex-Canary Luke. He wants to raise money to help our appeal for the club that has seen apart from his dad, his grandad Ian and three of his uncles (Callum and Brett Donnelly and Josh Bickerstaff) play for. On Sunday 27 September Teddy is going to walk 25 laps of Top Field which is about 9km in distance. Teddy can be our equivalent of the legendary Captain Tom albeit 95 years younger! His target is £500 and there is a just giving page set up. He is already close to reaching his target Please support Teddy in his quest as the link between the Donnelly family and Hitchin Town FC remains as strong as ever. Here is his funder.
I was pleased to speak to NHDC councillor Ian Albert this week. He is the councillor for the Bearton ward and made a donation as well as expressing his delight that the Crowdfunder had made such a great start. It is always good to have local politicians on board.
PRO:DIRECT ACADEMY REPORT BY MICHAEL JONES
We have now completed our pre- season programme and are looking forward to the upcoming season. The players are back in full time from 1st September 2020 with our first youth game being Wednesday 16th September.
We have now grown the programme with 35 new players now integrated into the squad to build on the very good group of players we have progressing from last season.
We have now had six current players represent the first team so far this pre-season (Daniel Weaver, Haydan Evanson, Luca Cardines, Marlow Gough, Jordan Webber, Nikolay Rusev) with Kye Tearle who has again signed first team forms and will hopefully be an integral part of the first team squad in this year’s campaign.
The League fixtures were released on Friday and can be seen on our website. We begin at home to Alvechurch on Saturday 19 September. The full fixture list is available here.
There are two additional friendly games to announce which were only arranged late last week. On Saturday 5 September we travel to St Neots 1.00pm kick-off and on Thursday 10 September we host Harpenden 7.30pm kick-off. Further details will follow as to admission prices and means of entry.
Below are the details of our game at Bedford on Tuesday taken from their website (with permission):
The capacity for the game will be 400. To gain admission, you must have an eTicket. These are available to purchase now via the club’s online ticket store.
Prices for the Hitchin game are as follows:
- Adults – £7
- Concessions and U21s – £4
- 10-15 year olds – £1
- Under tens – FREE
Entry is by pre-purchased ticket only, if you don’t have a ticket, please do not travel.
I would again urge all supporters to read our Covid-19 protocols. Details are on our website and in future you will need to purchase tickets in advance of games as there will be no cash payments on the day.
MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE
I would like to thank Stotfold for their hospitality and giving us the opportunity to play on their new ground. I have always said that the worst weather to play football in is strong winds as it tends to ruin the game. At Stotfold the winds were gale force and it was more like November than August . However I was delighted with the way we played football in the first half by keeping the ball on the ground and using short passing. I thought the players looked sharp and deserved their two goal, lead at half time.
The weather deteriorated in the second half which hindered our display but I was still pleased with the performance under difficult circumstances. At the moment we are ahead of where I thought we would be in pre-season and I am looking forward to working with a full squad when the absentees from Tuesday return to the squad.
I wish Stotfold and their manager Luke Gregson all the best for the coming season.
Moving on to our Crowdfunder I think it has been an amazing response from Hitchin supporters and the wider league and non league community. It is great that we can start the repair work on Top Field straight away and I would like to thank everyone who has donated. But please keep donating as we need the full £25,000.
I thought it was a tremendous gesture by my playing squad to donate to the Crowdfunder and pay a fitting tribute to four stalwart supporters. I admit to being quite overwhelmed by their generosity and thoughtfulness and I am very proud of their gesture.
GROUND REPORT BY STEVE BARKER
We had much better weather on Saturday and it was dry but with a massive drop in temperature. Thanks again to our wonderful volunteers who again turned in great numbers.
They carried on from last week’s abandonment due to rain with the painting of the fencing around the pitch which is looking very smart and was long overdue.
The boardroom had its exterior painted with wood stain which has now covered up the yellow, it’s former colour, the door lock was adjusted too as it was getting difficult to lock.
Grass and bracken was cut at the rear of the stand behind the dugouts to enable the emergency exit doors to open and will continue next week along with the weeds being sprayed.
The pitch was cut in both directions with a substantial amount of grass removed and a potential fault noticed on one of the mowers which will be resolved before next Saturday. The contractor arrived as arranged after cutting was complete and sprayed a liquid fertiliser on the pitch which will feed the turf.
We hope as many volunteers as possible will come along next Saturday from 9am so we can do a sweep up of all the ground before our test game the following Thursday, September 10 when Harpenden will be the opponents.
From this season you will be able to hear commentary from as many Hitchin games as possible on HTFC Radio, the all-new, independent platform that has been created by Marac Alionic and Freddie Cardy.
To listen to HTFC Radio, you can either:
Download the Zeno Radio App and search for ‘HTFC Radio’.
Visit the Zeno website using this link.
Make sure to follow their social media platforms so you never miss a commentary.
Freddie and Marac have also started the Canary Club podcast, which is available on all podcast platforms: https://anchor.fm/canaryclubpodcast.
There will be commentary from Bedford on Tuesday.
BY ROY IZZARD