STEP 3-6 SURVEY UPDATE
The FA issued this update on Wednesday:

The FA would like to provide an update in relation to the recent survey sent to clubs at Steps 3 to 6 of the National League System.

Submissions were made by 99.1% of clubs at Steps 3 and 4 and 95.8% of clubs at Steps 5 and 6. The FA would like to thank the clubs for submitting their views and the time taken in providing responses at what we appreciate it an incredibly challenging time for everyone.

The FA’s Alliance & Leagues Committees now have a large amount of data and information to consider before determining a proposed way forward. Ultimately any proposal made by the committees will be put to FA Council for consideration. FA Council will then make any final decision on a way forward.

The Alliance and Leagues Committees recognise the desire for clubs to be updated whilst these issues are being carefully considered . Therefore, both Committees commit to providing updates to Leagues and Clubs as the process progresses; and remain mindful of the difficulties faced by clubs at present.

Further information will follow in due course.

WINTER SURVIVAL FUND
The FA issued this update on Wednesday:

We can now provide further information in regards to the Winter Survival Fund announced by Government, in relation to Steps 3-6 of the National League System.

Steps 3-6 will receive up to £10 million in grants to protect the immediate future of these clubs over the winter period. Government have announced this formally today. Grants will be distributed via the Football Stadium Improvement Fund (FSIF).

Eligible clubs can apply for support to help with key expenditure such as lease or mortgage payments, debt or loan repayments, utility costs, insurance, essential pitch and stadium maintenance, non-playing staff that haven’t been furloughed or Covid-19 compliance measures.

The application window will open via the Football Foundations website within the next 24 hours and close on 14 February. All steps 3-6 clubs will be notified directly by the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) but we would welcome your support to encourage your clubs to apply for the grant support available.

CANARY PODCAST BY FREDDIE CARDY
Our final one of the January Interviews is with Hitchin local Layth Yousif, editor of the Gooner Fanzine and the man behind Hitchin Nub News. We start by finding out everything about Nub News and Layth’s love for the town of Hitchin, before getting stuck into Arsenal.

We discuss Layth’s thoughts on Mikel Arteta, the Mesut Ozil dilemma, and some incredible memories from the many, many years he has been covering the club. Layth then tries to categorise some of the most controversial of this season’s performers at the Emirates, and looks back on the FA Cup defeat to Southampton.

Remember that all of our commentaries this season are available to listen back to on the Canary Club Podcast (but I would avoid the Rushden game if I were you).

Listen to the Layth interview here

ACADEMY UPDATE BY MICHAEL JONES

Recruitment for the 2021/22 season is still continuing, if you are interested in applying for the Academy or want further information on what we offer please use the links below.

Education information
https://www.wearescl.co.uk/pro-direct-hitchin

Register for a trial
https://www.northhertsarena.co.uk/next-trial-dates

We are also offering Zoom presentations for players who would like to find out more information about the Academy.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY COSSER
Alan Cosby will be celebrating his birthday on Saturday 30 January. Cosser played 277 games for Hitchin between March 1982 and March 1995 scoring 68 goals. Mark Burke has kept in touch with him and he still follows what is happening at Top Field.

MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE
Mark has been keeping in touch with the players and when I asked him how they were doing he said the main feeling was one of frustration. They just want to be playing football again and are obviously unable to do so and are not even able to train together.

FACE MASKS AND SCARVES
Just a reminder to advise that we have Face Masks and Bar Scarves now on sale online.

The face masks costing £7 plus postage, are of a better quality than the first range we bought back in the summer.

The bar scarves, which we sold at the Solihull Moors FA Cup game a couple of seasons back (yes it really is two years since then), remain at £6, plus postage.

Please be aware that at the current time, these are only available from our Online Shop. It is expected that delivery will take between 7-14 days from placement of order. The link to the Merchandise sales page in the shop is https://hitchintownfc.ktckts.com/brand/merchandise.

BY ROY IZZARD