Chairman's Column 17.09.2022

Guillem Balague

Chairman's Column 17.09.2022

I have always described our club as one big family and one that I am extremely proud to be part of. Our family is made up of many individuals, predominantly players and supporters, but an extremely valuable group of individuals of that family are our band of volunteers.

On Friday I spoke with our club secretary, Tracey James, who like so many of our volunteers has only ever known one sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Tracey was clearly saddened and shocked by the sudden death of Her Majesty and like many of her fellow volunteers felt that she needed time to pause and reflect the passing of someone that had been part of her life right back to when she took the Brownie Promise at the age of 8 and then as a civil servant for 38 years.

Tracey described it as like losing her mother and grandmother all over again - a sentiment echoed by thousands since the Queen's passing - and the emotions that evokes were clearly evident when I spoke with her. It was clearly going to be a very difficult weekend for her and so many members of our "family" with matches on
Saturday and Sunday.

What many do not know is that as far as our volunteers are concerned a "weekend of football" starts on Friday morning with pitch preparation, cleaning the clubhouse and changing rooms, shopping, kit organisation and much, much more.

All that she and other volunteers wanted was for a period of quiet contemplation. We were left with a decision on whether the weekend games should go ahead.
At midday on Friday that decision was made for us by the Football Association. They decreed that all games, from the Premier League down to grassroots football should be cancelled throughout the weekend to enable all to pay their respects to Her Majesty the Queen who was the long-standing Patron of The Football Association.

For some this was an unpopular decision and I respect those opinions who felt that it would have been more fitting if clubs had the opportunity to pay tribute to Her Majesty over the weekend.

However, football is not just about the Premier League. Non League football is about community and family and we must be mindful that we care about the people that make up that family and on this occasion it was completely right that we understand the feelings that the Queen's passing had on all of our family and "press the pause button" for just one weekend.

Now that we have had that time to reflect we will be marking the passing of Her Majesty on Saturday and Sunday with a minutes silence at our men's first team League game against Ardley United and our Women's Reds team Vitality Women's FA Cup tie against Headstone Manor. Both at the Keech Hospice Stadium.