BULLETIN
There was no bulletin last week for two reasons. Firstly we felt the story introducing our new brand identity should take centre stage with no distractions as it was the start of a new era for the club. Secondly we wanted to adhere to the social media blackout that took place last weekend.

However the bulletin is back this week and will continue to appear throughout the period until football returns.

REBRAND
We are delighted with the reaction to the new club branding. When a radical change is made to an existing club badge it is almost impossible to please everybody and we knew some would not like it. But the overwhelming support the new badge has received has been really gratifying. Our explanations behind the new brand were really extensive and Stewart Curtis did a brilliant job in outlining the process behind the change. He was on the Three Counties Non-League Show last Sunday (which you can still hear on BBC Sounds) and again gave an excellent explanation of the whole rebranding process.

The new brand together with the improvements at Top Field and in Canary Club adds to the feel good factor around the club at the moment.

TOP FIELD UPDATE
You will all be aware that extensive work is going on at Top Field improving the infrastructure. But the pitch has not been forgotten and this week contractors started work on improving the drainage on the dug out side of the pitch. This area has caused us problems over the past few seasons with games being postponed due to waterlogging in this part of the pitch despite the rest of the pitch being totally playable. The usual end of season maintenance is also now underway and we hope all the pitch work will be completed by the end of the coming week.

The stadium work continues to progress and every Saturday is a hive of activity with our volunteers working really hard, while outside contractors are also now undertaking their improvements.

Work on improving Canary Club is also progressing well and Mick Docking will give a more detailed update in next week’s bulletin.

TEAM NEWS
We can announce our first confirmed friendly. We will host Bedford Town at Top Field on Tuesday 3rd August – kick-off 7.30pm. Other friendlies have been agreed with the opposition but as yet they do not want an announcement to be made, so rest assured we will let you know dates and opposition when we are able to do so.

Training is continuing on Thursday evenings and the players are enjoying the sessions

MERCHANDISE REPORT BY CHRIS NEWBOLD
The response to the introduction of the new range of Hitchin Town merchandise in the online club shop since the announcement of our new brand image last week has been nothing short of stunning. Over £2000 of merchandise has already been purchased, with sales of our new shirt already almost reaching 50.

Result of this unprecedented demand is that all initial stock that was brought in has been sold and dispatched, and we have already made a massive re-order to replace already exhausted popular sizes. The majority of supporters will have already received their orders well ahead of our anticipated delivery target times – for those of you that haven’t yet received your orders, we still expect to be able to meet the 14-21 day target we have set for deliveries.

For myself, who started in the club shop in the year 2000 and spent ten years running the shop until 2010, the support and demand for the new range of merchandise is really gratifying. We’ve already sold more shirts than I would have sold in a season in the early years of this century. I will finish by making mention of the tremendous amount of work and dedication that Stewart Curtis has put into making all of this happen – without his direction and vision it would not have materialised. I am very grateful to him for his efforts.

Here’s hoping you will all support our new direction by considering investment in one small item. Even the purchase of a pin badge means vital money coming to the club at a time where every single penny absolutely counts. Thanks as always for your support.

Apart from the new shirts, we have green polo shirts, two different types of Hitchin Town mugs, a new scarf and a new pin badge. We will be looking to introduce new lines as we progress, but if you haven’t already done so, please visit our online shop and take a look at what we have on offer. Buying these items online is the only way of obtaining them at the current time.

SUPPORTER ENGAGEMENT UPDATE BY SASCHA GUSTARD-BROWN
Just two items from me this week but firstly, I want to say a huge congratulations to all of the team who were involved with the new club branding. It’s fantastic to see the return of the Canary and I have already purchased my shirt (and a mug!).

On to supporter engagement business and for those of you who may remember, I recently reported that several clubs across the football pyramid had kindly agreed to support us on a small project, to be displayed at Top Field. Did anybody guess the theme? It seems apt – with the return of the Canary on our own crest – to confirm that the theme was birds! A little reminder of the clubs who have sent us a shirt so that we can proudly create our own ‘nest’ at the ground:

  • Bradford City – Bantams
  • Brighton and Hove Albion – Seagulls
  • Bristol City – Robins
  • Newcastle United – Magpies
  • Norwich City – Canaries
  • Sheffield Wednesday – Owls
  • Swansea City – Swans

I don’t suppose anybody knows someone at Cheltenham Town, Swindon Town, Crystal Palace or Notts County?!? A response to my email is still pending! 😉

The second item – and I am so pleased that I can finally confirm this – is that the large project we have been working on will be announced next week! Please keep an eye on the club website for the story and from there, further updates too, as this will truly be a fantastic addition to our supporter engagement offering.

ACADEMY UPDATE BY MICHAEL JONES

LAST WEEK
After an extremely busy week last week, we only had the one game this week. Wednesday our development team travelled away in the SCL East division to second in the table Crawley Development. The game finished 1-1 with our goal coming from Matthew Morton. It was a very solid performance from the squad and with slightly better finishing in the final third we could have easily taken all 3 points.

We now focus our attention to two fixtures next week where Wednesday 5th we travel to top of the table West Ham development and Friday 7th we host Crawley Development in the return fixture.

We were also delighted to have 5 players represent the Pro:Direct 11 team this week in their away fixture against Portsmouth Academy. This is a team formed of the best players from all the Pro:Direct sites in the country. Well done to, Kye Tearle, Daniel Weaver, Callum Kane, Marlow Gough and Anthony Georgiou.

THIS WEEK
On Wednesday we played away to top of the table West Ham in the SCL league, with a depleted squad due to injury/illness and we were always going to be up against it. The game ended in a win for West Ham. Friday we were meant to play Crawley at home but due to travel issues for them this game has now been postponed.

We have a busy week next week as we are due to host West Ham on Wednesday 12th May in the afternoon, travel to Bedford FC Mens (Step 6) in the evening and travel away to Dartford Academy on Friday 14th May.

Our next trial date has been confirmed as Saturday 22nd May. The trial will take place at the Arena Baldock SG7 5AU on the all weather pitch between 12noon & 2pm. To register your interest or for further information please use this link – https://www.northhertsarena.co.uk/next-trial-dates

HITCHIN LADIES UPDATE BY CALLUM ELLIS

LAST WEEK
It was round three of Division E of the Beds & Herts Women’s Football League on Sunday 25th April 2021 and the results went against both teams.

First up it was HTLFC First team v Hitchin Belles. The Firsts got off to a strong start moving the ball around the pitch and pressing the Belles from the early stages. However the first goal came for the Belles after a long ball over the top and it was finished by their striker. Shortly after the Belles added a second. Some half time subs were made and the Firsts were starting to develop pace around the pitch and dominated within the Belles’s half. Belles added two more goals to their tally late on in the second half. Sadly captain Chaffey who was completing her 102nd appearance for Hitchin ended up on the floor after rupturing her achilles. We wish her a very speedy recovery and we hope this isn’t retirement for her.

Our Reserves were at home to Herts Vipers Development who they played against earlier in the year. The Reserves started strongly but it was Vipers who started to push the ball around quicker after twenty minutes and scored the first goal. The Vipers got their second from a wild shot from 30 yards out. The second half got underway and the Vipers took the game to the Reserves. An additional four goals wrapped the game up for the three points.

THIS WEEK
The fourth round of the Beds & Herts Women’s Football League got underway for Hitchin Town Ladies Firsts on Sunday 2nd May 2021 down at Ransoms Recreational Ground. The Firsts were up against Herts Vipers Development who the previous week had beaten our Reserve team 6-0. The game was packed with action from the start of the first half and throughout. Chances came at both ends and it was Darling who scored the only goal of the game on the 42nd minute. Herts Vipers reacted as expected however the Hitchin defence stood strong and made little room for the Vipers to break through. A defensive master class and an all-round team performance.

The Reserves unfortunately had to withdraw from the fixture against Hitchin Belles FC due to injuries rattling around their team.

The Reserves hosts the Firsts on Sunday 9th May 2021, at a due to be confirmed time slot, depending on the referee and venue bookings down at Ransoms Recreational Ground.

HTFC RADIO BY FREDDIE CARDY
One of the things I love about the new Hitchin Town FC rebrand is the fact it includes everyone from the first team, ladies teams and the many youth teams who will all soon be playing in the new Hummel kit. We’ve been exploring the different parts of the club too on HTFC Radio, with commentaries of the Under 15s, Pro:Direct Side and both Ladies Teams.

All of these commentaries are available to listen back to on the Canary Club Podcast, available on all platforms.

Our next broadcast will be from Ransoms Rec on Sunday afternoon, as Hitchin Town Ladies 1st play the Reserve team in a highly anticipated encounter. Coverage starts from 1:45pm on htfc.radio12345.com

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
Next week is Mental Health Awareness week and to mark this occasion our club chaplain Nick Smith is writing a special article that will relate to football. It will be on our social media outlets and mental health early next week.

EX-CANARIES NEWS
On Monday Kane Smith scored in Boreham Wood’s 5-1 win over Kings Lynn. On the same day Will Wright had two assists in Dagenham & Redbridge’s 3-1 win over Woking.

Matt Lench has rejoined Slough having left Wealdstone.

I met Canary legend Paul Giggle last Saturday. He came to watch his son Sam playing cricket at Ickleford. He looked really well and retains his unique sense of humour. He hopes to come down to a Hitchin game next season.

BY ROY IZZARD