- Stevenage – Saturday 10th July – 3pm KO
- Watford U23 – Tuesday 13th July – 7:45pm KO
Tickets must be purchased online in advance of both matches.
FOOTBALL IS COMING HOME – TO TOP FIELD
With all the euphoria surrounding England we must not forget that football has come home—to Top Field. The visit of Luton last Saturday was our first home game since December and it was great to return to our beloved ground after such a long absence. The ground looked very different and there were plenty of favourable comments made by supporters who appreciated the improvements. The work will not be complete for a couple of weeks but everybody could see that the ground was safer, brighter, more welcoming and it still retained some of its old world charm.
As ever the Luton supporters turned out in high numbers and were impeccably behaved and courteous. They really are a pleasure to host and thanks must go to everyone at Luton for sending their full first team squad to Top Field. Manager Nathan Jones said some very complementary things about Hitchin Town and we will continue to cultivate our special relationship with Luton.
It was great to see ex-Canary Stuart Hammonds at the game and he remains one of the nicest people I have met in football.
Seeing supporters for the first time for so long was a very important factor in football’s return. You forget just how many social connections are made at games and it was really good to see so many familiar faces again. The mental strain caused by the pandemic was all too real so the return to normality becomes very much a health issue.
Let us now hope for an uninterrupted season of football.
The Southern League fixtures will be published at 1.00pm on Friday 16th July.
VIEWS OF THE COACHING STAFF
I spoke to Michael Jones from our coaching staff about the two friendlies with Luton and Stotfold and pre-season in general. Starting with the Luton game Michael said it was a very tough game . We had only had a few training sessions and yet played a top championship side who brought a very strong side and took the game seriously. This season we are looking to adopt our own identity and philosophy so all players will know what we are doing and how we will play. Against Luton it was not easy to have this new approach but Michael thought we held our own for the first 30 minutes. The four goals before half time resulted from our own errors where we tried new things.
Overall the management felt there were a number of positives to take from the game but clearly there are areas where we need to improve.
The Stotfold game presented a different challenge as we were expected to win and dominate possession. In the first 20 minutes we played really well and scored four goals and also missed a number of chances. However after Stotfold scored their penalty our levels dropped off. The second half saw multiple changes and it was difficult for some of the players to gel with each other as they had not played together before. Also manager Brett Donnelly deserves credit for making changes that made Stotfold play better and press higher. Nonetheless Michael was disappointed with the second half display as we set high standards.
Stevenage on Saturday will be another tough test as they ended last season really well. We want to test ourselves against better sides and while there is no pressure we want to work on new things. Alex Brown is not available but the rest of the squad should all be available.
Generally Michael is happy with the pre-season so far. We have kept the majority of last season’s squad and the training has been well attended and the players are keen to embrace our new ideas. Michael and the rest of the management team are determined we will be more organised and more professional this season.
SPECIAL 1871 CELEBRATION ALE
2021 is a year of special importance to football fans everywhere- being the 150th anniversary of the worlds first Cup competition – the FA Cup. To the town of Hitchin there is even greater significance since we were one of the original entries way back 1871.
To celebrate this milestone we have decided to commission a celebration ale from Garden City Brewery which will be available exclusively from the Canary Club and GCB. A massive thanks to IDNet, our broadband provider who are sponsoring the brew.
However we need your help, not only in drinking the beer once its ready in a couple of months, but also to provide us with a memorable name.
So don those thinking caps and send me your witty or witless suggestions now. My email address is email@example.com.
No obscenities please. The best and worst will be shared in a couple of weeks and a panel of judges will decide on that all important winning name.
TICKETING UPDATE BY CHRIS NEWBOLD
Match Day Tickets
Tickets for pre-season games are continuing to sell well – after a complete sell out against Luton Town last Saturday, we attracted an attendance of 171 against Stotfold on Tuesday evening, even with a Euro 2020 semi-final taking place.
Sales of tickets are going well for the Stevenage game – we are nearing 500 so here’s hoping that by kick-off on Saturday we’ll be hosting another bumper crowd. Tickets are now on sale for the Watford game next Tuesday, prices for this game are £8 adult, £5 concession (60-79), £2 teenager , £1 under 13s accompanying an adult (max 2 per adult) and seniors over 80 free (a ticket must still be obtained online).
As most will know by now, all tickets for our games must be bought online in advance, and there is no pay on the gate. This will be our policy for all future matches. The online ticket office is now kept open until half an hour after kick-off, but it goes without saying that you are strongly advised to buy your ticket in advance.
If you wish to buy tickets for any of our future games, the link to our match ticket sales site is: https://hitchintownfc.ktckts.com/brand/match-tickets
If you are a regular, or even a part regular visitor to Top Field, you may wish to consider investing in a season ticket. We have frozen prices again at 2019-20 early bird prices (£185 adult, £110 concessions (60-79), £25 teenager, seniors over 80 free). We currently have no child under 13 season ticket – this is something we may consider in the future when all Covid and capacity restrictions are lifted and remain lifted.
Season tickets offer a massive saving on buying separate tickets for each game. They are valid for all 21 league games, with the pre-season friendlies offered for free as well, so you’d only have to buy tickets for FA Cup and Trophy, league cup and county cup games. You do the maths and see for yourself what a saving can be made.
The local interest in our club is growing. We are the envy of many local clubs because of our fanbase. But lately it really has grown. Just as a comparison: In 2018-19 we had 34 season ticket holders. In 2019-20 we had 55 season ticket holders. In 2020-21 we had 134 season ticket holders, and currently for the 2021-22 season , we have 149 Season Ticket holders. This constitutes a 338% increase over three seasons! Thank you all for your tremendous support.
If you would be interested in possibly buying a season ticket, the link to the season ticket sales site is: https://hitchintownfc.ktckts.com/package/hit2122hst/season-ticket-202122
MERCHANDISE UPDATE BY CHRIS NEWBOLD
Finally we received our order of hoodies and these have now all been dispatched bar one (awaiting more of one size). Again I apologise that for some people we didn’t meet our 21-28 day delivery commitment for this item. Our supplier had to order these in from Hummel’s main factory in Denmark and there were some dispatch issues that had to be rectified. This is the only Hummel item that has to be ordered from abroad and so hopefully the teething problems that we experienced on this occasion have been eradicated. We have a small stock of adult hoodies now ready to fulfil any further online orders that we receive.
So far we have shipped to New York, Cincinatti and Colorado State in the USA, and a chap who lives in Saskatchewan, Canada whose surname is Hitchins. He was very impressed with the new clothing so he bought a hoodie and a shirt!
Sales of the shirts have now passed the 100 mark – incredible! And that’s before the season has started. We have had to reorder more stock such is the demand.
Finally, I would like to emphasise that for now and the next few months, online is the only way that merchandise can be purchased. We hope eventually to have a new club shop, and we are working towards this, but we have to ensure that our finances will support the purchase of it. The unit that used to be the club shop is unfit to be restored to its former status. We do not hold any stock at the ground and there is no scope for picking it up from the ground. As soon as we are able to reinstate a club shop for match days, please be assured we will. Again, thanks to everybody who has purchased any of the new Hitchin Town merchandise online.
Link to merchandise sales is: https://hitchintownfc.ktckts.com/brand/merchandise
SUPPORTER ENGAGEMENT UPDATE BY SASCHA GUSTARD-BROWN
Just two things from the supporter engagement side this week.
Firstly, for those that haven’t seen the news, I am pleased to confirm that the two mini mascots have been named Casper and Connie! Thank you to everyone who submitted a suggestion.
Secondly, the Junior Canaries website content (part one) is now finalised and should be live on the website in due course. Hopefully, the activities will keep you all busy when you’re not at Top Field! We hope to update activities throughout the season and will of course keep you informed when any changes are in progress or have been made.
ACADEMY UPDATE BY MICHAEL JONES
We had a few players involved in the match day squad for the home game against Luton Town. One player that did feature was Kye Tearle who came on at half time to play the rest of the game.
We also had a few players involved for both teams in the second match of pre season in the home game against Stotfold FC. Nikolay Rusev, Luca Cardines and Flavius Drescanu played for Stotfold and Stan Georgiou and Kye Tearle played for Hitchin with Kye Tearle also getting on the scoresheet in the 4-1 win.
BY ROY IZZARD