It’s been a turbulent and difficult few weeks for the entire world and we would like to start by paying tribute to those who are working on our front line including those in essential services and of course the amazing people who work for our NHS.
Now that our first season as chairs of the club seems to have come to an abrupt conclusion, we can say on reflection it’s certainly been a season of ups and downs and lessons learned. We both a have a couple more grey hairs than when the season started but for the most part, it has been a fun experience!
Off the field, we will, of course, do everything that needs to be done to ensure the club remains healthy during this time of closure and that all our obligations are met. Like all clubs, this period of time will be challenging but we will come through this ready for the season to commence with renewed energy and focus. In the coming weeks, we will start selling early bird season tickets, taking into consideration the home games that we have been unable to play this season. We will also be reducing our average ticket price across the board. We’re ever aware that the following few months aren’t going to be financially easy on anyone. We will also be looking at what the club can do to help and be useful to the community over the next few months.
On the field, it’s fair to say it has been a season of highs and lows. Whilst we had a disappointing start to the campaign and sadly took the difficult decision to part with long-standing manager Jody Banim, who had done so much for our club in previous seasons, it’s been fantastic more recently to see the team starting to thrive on the pitch. Having only lost twice in 2020 and sitting top of the form table from the last ten games played we feel we were finally starting to deliver on the entertaining brand of football we had imagined, with the entire club pulling in the same direction under new manager Michael Clegg. We’ve certainly been treated to some wonderful goals of late! It’s been very exciting working with Michael and his team, they are driven, detailed and dedicated to moving the club forward and we know that when the new season starts we will be ready to kick on from where we left off.
It’s been a joy to see our newly formed junior section flourish, offering young children all over the borough the chance to play football and represent Ashton United FC, with the U17s, U15s and U12s all chasing promotion and the U13s and U7s developing as the season progressed . We’ve even had a couple of the under seventeens join the squad for training and of course, we’ve had juniors as young as seven join us as ball boys and match day mascots with their families coming along to support at Hurst Cross for the very first time.
We’ve also been really proud to see our newly formed women’s team become more and more competitive having started from scratch and having taken the brave decision to join the women’s football pyramid in a higher division. They were on course for an above mid table finish in their first season and were playing some fantastic football. We’ve been blown away by the volunteers working to sustain the team and the commitment shown by everyone involved.
We’re naturally hard wired to be optimistic people and we really believe that we have all the foundations in place to achieve on the pitch but also grow as a club. This is so important to becoming sustainable in the long term and to maintaining an ambitious outlook as to what we can achieve together. We sincerely hope next season we will be challenging for promotion back into the Vanarama North. Michael is already working hard behind the scenes from home to make sure we do everything we can to improve and continue our 2020 form.
Finally we’d like to thank everyone at the club who made this season happen; the board, the coaching staff, the players, our administrative team and our media team who at times genuinely work round the clock to make sure our players are registered, our pitch is playable, our social media is kept up to date and that all of our matches are covered, and to every single volunteer at the club who give up their time to make sure everything runs smoothly on a matchday and during the week; a small club like ours depends on you all immensely. Finally thank you to our supporters, to those who come week in and week out, often travelling to away games too, thank you for your support of the team and for making us feel so welcome this year, you are the lifeblood of the club and we look forward to ensuring we all have something to cheer about once normal life resumes and the new season begins.
Stay safe and look after one another. It is through small acts of kindness that we emerge from this difficult time.
Jonathan and David