THE SOUTHERN LEAGUE
The Southern League issued the following statement this week:

“Subject to FA Council ratifying the FA Alliance Committee decision to ‘curtail’ the 2020/21 season when it meets on Thursday 18th March, the Board of the Pitching In Southern Football League has decided that the 2021/22 season will commence on Saturday 14th August for all four divisions. The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round is scheduled to take place on Saturday 7th August, with the Preliminary Round on Saturday 21st August.”

CANARY PODCAST BY FREDDIE CARDY
The latest interview on the Canary Club Podcast is with the vastly respected HTFC Youth coach Marc Campbell, who starts by explaining the benefits of former players returning to take over the managerial reigns, with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enjoying success at their respective clubs. Marc and Marac then joyfully reminisce on some brilliant stories from their time together at Arlesey Town Youth, including Marc’s military-like fitness regimes for the players, hilarious red cards and favourite matches.

The two led an Arlesey side from Under 15 level all the way through to Under 21s, so they reflect on the challenges faced by many of the players away from the pitch, going through adolescence and trying to balance football with other aspects of life. Marc then goes on to discuss the formation of the EJA (Eastern Junior Alliance) League and the benefits it has for young footballers in Hitchin, going up against many of the clubs that Mark Burke’s side face every week, such as Needham Market.

Finally, we’ve got some exciting news about a partnership between Hitchin Town FC Youth’s EJA team and HTFC Radio! Listen here:

https://open.spotify.com/episode/5g82z2bCdt0gMryx5x1FmF?si=6227fxdzRVGM6QV-R8M8jQ

KIND DONATION
Following our announcement last week that we had decided that 2020/21 season tickets will be valid in full for the 2021/22 season programme of league games, we received the following message from one delighted supporter:

“What a fantastic gesture to apply last year’s season tickets to next season. I would therefore like to donate to the club the cost of the 3 home games I attended with my boys last season.”

He has indeed made a donation using this link. Many thanks to him for this very kind gesture.

NEWS OF EX-CANARIES
With no football of our own to watch I find myself keeping a check on former Hitchin players and how they are doing.

Stuart Maynard played 61 games for us between 2003 and 2005 and has just been appointed manager of Wealdstone in the National League. He replaces another former Canary Dean Brennan.

  • Ben Wilmot who is the son of our former goalkeeper Richard and is playing for Watford was this week called up to the England Under 21s squad for the European Under 21 Championship group games. Ben who used to play for Hitchin’s youth teams has 3 previous caps for the Under 21s and has also played twice for the Under 19s and Under 20s.
  • Innih Effiong who played 15 times for Hitchin scored for Notts County at Boreham Wood on Tuesday when he was playing against another ex-Canary in Kane Smith who played 123 games for Hitchin.
  • Will Wright who played 84 games for us is now back in the Dagenham and Redbridge starting line-up and played on Tuesday.
  • Josh Coley who made 13 appearances for us scored for Maidenhead in their 4-1 victory over Torquay on Tuesday.
  • Jamal Lowe who made 19 appearances for us played for Swansea at Bournemouth on Tuesday.

ACADEMY REPORT BY MICHAEL JONES
This week we have again continued with our training programme ahead of our SCL league fixtures. Unfortunately our National League u19 Alliance season has been null & voided. We are now in the process of arranging friendlies to replace the fixtures lost due to this decision.

We are continuing to work on our recruitment for players for the 2021/22 season, we have an open training session on Friday 9th April for anyone who is interested in joining. To register your interest for this please use this link: https://www.northhertsarena.co.uk/next-trial-dates

SUPPORTER ENGAGEMENT UPDATE BY SASCHA GUSTARD-BROWN

We have had a quieter week this week but planning is still on-going behind the scenes regarding a number of initiatives we hope to launch within the next few months. I keep mentioning one particular project but I am going to mention it again because I cannot wait until we are able to share the news with you!

The Junior Canaries Kit Design Competition closes today so it’s your last chance to submit an entry. The winner will be chosen by HTFC Manager Mark Burke and there is a great prize for the winning design too! Details of how to take part, including the downloadable template, can be found on the Junior Canaries page.

Lastly, we will have two stories published next week with details of new initiatives and activities for families and the wider community so please keep an eye out for these.

GROUND UPDATE BY KATE DELLER AND PAUL SPRAGUE

Many of you will have driven past Top Field and seen a hole where there once stood our fixtures board. The winds of winter had not finished with us quite yet as after blowing down the Fishponds Road end terrace roof they had now made the fixtures board dangerously wobbly! Geoff Thomason our fixture board volunteer has been keeping the board alive with old fixture results since the new year. When updating with news from the Southern League he telephoned me to let us know it was dangerously swaying. Some timber was placed temporarily to stop any further movement until we could permanently make it safe.

Due to the sheer size of the sign, its placement and the rot which was fairly prevalent the only safe decision was to remove it completely and seek quotes for a replacement. This has been done and a new sign of the same size will be positioned in exactly the same place. Individual lettering and numbering will still be used to keep the Top Field fixtures authentic.

We have tried to find out exactly when the fixture board was erected but this has proved difficult – can you help us by letting us know if you have the answer? With the repairs of the past few years we find ourselves dating it to at least the 60’s but there is an element of Triggers Broom to be taken into account!

Suffice to say, watch this space!

Photo courtesy of Steve Monk

BY ROY IZZARD