Congratulations to Tom Chaplin who was the winner of our latest 50/50 draw. He won £305.50 but very generously he has decided to not take the prize money. Instead he has invested in a season ticket and donated the balance to the club.

Tom is a recent convert to Hitchin Town FC and only stated watching last season. He is a neighbour of Geoff Thomason who is part of our ground staff and Geoff persuaded Tom to come to Top Field. Tom is a Millwall fan and the 2018 World Cup reignited his love of football. He enjoyed watching Hitchin and felt more connected as it was his local team. He likes the community ethos of Hitchin and thinks the online 50/50 draw was a great way for supporters to support the club at a time when income streams had dried up.

Tom told me he had joked with Geoff after failing to win the July 50/50 draw that he would definitely win the August draw. He is now looking forward to returning to Top Field as and when spectators are allowed to attend

Many thanks again Tom for your generosity which means we have now made over £2,000 from the 50/50 draw and have sold over 4,500 tickets.

You will have seen on our social media outlets that we have produced a new set of guidelines to cover the eventual return of spectators to Top Field. David Tudball our Covid-19 officer and Chris Newbold have worked tirelessly to ensure we comply with all government and FA regulations. I can assure you it is a real challenge and I hope supporters realise there will have to be a “new normal” because of Covid-19. We have done everything possible to ensure supporters will feel they are in the safest possible environment.

During the week the FA reiterated that no spectators will be allowed to attend pre-season friendlies. Below is an excerpt from the letter the FA sent out:

The FA resubmitted a proposal for spectators at National League System & Women’s Pyramid games to DCMS. You will be aware that Government suspended the test events for the return of spectators under Stage 5 of the Elite Sport Protocols, which much of the NLS does not fall under. As such, we are continuing our dialogue with DCMS separately to the Stage 5 pilot project.

The suspension however of the Pilot Events which had low spectator numbers shows that Government are sensitive to crowds of all sizes and as such, crowds at pre-season matches does put the longer term supporter strategies at risk. We are working continuously with the Sports Ground Safety Authority, DCMS, Leagues and colleagues within The FA to bring ultimate guidance for Spectator to return as soon as possible. We are still hopeful of meeting the timescale outlined in our initial guidance, but we do need to do so with the approval or support from Government and therefore during this time ask for your support. We will write again as and when we have further DCMS clarification.

We have arranged the following pre-season games:

  • Thursday 13 August Letchworth Garden City Eagles
  • Tuesday 18 August Leverstock Green
  • Tuesday 25 August Stotfold

All games are away and please remember supporters are not allowed to attend. Another game has been arranged but the opposition do not want it publicised.

The previous two training sessions had been optional but Thursday night was the first ‘’proper’’ session as we aim to be ready for the mid-September start to the season. Again it was an excellent turn-out and there will now be three sessions per week.

On Saturday following a road run (that included going up Windmill Hill) the players went to Top Field to join in with the volunteers who are helping to get Top Field ready for the new season. I think this was a good team bonding exercise and it was good for the players to mingle with the supporters, creating an atmosphere where we are all in it together. The players also got to see just what goes on behind the scenes.

Finally I would like to pay my tribute to Ralph Armitage whose death Roy announced last week. He was a lovely man who I had known for many years. We often had a chat before home games and he was very supportive, and always asked after my father. It is a shame to lose such a loyal supporter and it was a typically great gesture that he asked for donations to go to the Supporters Trust.

On an extremely hot Saturday morning is was great to see our wonderful volunteers come along yet again – we really do appreciate all your help.

Today we started by moving the sprinklers over to one side so the pitch could be cut through the middle first allowing us to complete the marking out of the pitch.

The players returned from their training run covered in sweat and at least one in flour for allegedly getting lost on the run somehow! As they are not allowed in the changing room or the showers I decided to turn on the sprinklers, there are five of them, so the boys could cool themselves off which I think they enjoyed, I just wonder if I hadn’t a certain player’s car would have been in a bit of a mess!

After their “shower” Burky organised getting them rakes and brooms so they could clean up the paths at the turnstiles end of the ground for which we thank them, well done boys, see you next week. 🙂

More rubbish was found and deposited in what little room was left in the skip. The ground has really started to look smart but there is still lots to do.

Posts were put in to create a new fence from the tractor shed to where the removed shed had created a gap that needed filling.

Finally the sprinklers were set out again to come on only at night when it’s cooler so the water doesn’t evaporate, the pitch is looking a lot greener for it in the heat we are having.

Our contractor returned on Thursday and has over seeded through the centre of the pitch to thicken up some areas that were not thickening up too well after pigeons had a feast when the pitch was first seeded nearly three months ago.