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Weekly club update:  Sat 1 May

National League North

For the second season running we enter the May Bank Holiday weekend without football.  The fixture list had Saints visiting Gloucester City, at the time of the cancellation of the season the league leaders, and welcoming FA Trophy finalists Hereford to St James Park over this extended weekend.  But at least the green shoots of a new season are there if we only look hard enough.

Three further pre-season fixtures have been agreed.  St James Park will host National League South near-neighbours Oxford City on Saturday 7 August in the final warm-up game.  Two further exciting games have been agreed and an announcement will follow agreement on that release date.

Kevin has made the first signing for his squad for 2021-22.  Connor Franklin put pen to a new contract this week.  As a 2018 Wembley winner and left-back stalwart he is a fans’ favourite now signed up for a fifth season at the club.  Connor said, ”I am really excited to sign again.  I am pleased to get it done and am looking forward to getting back to it.  I took a little break and then was back in training so I will be fit and ready.  We have had two disrupted seasons so it will be good to get started again and get back to some normality.  I’m sure everyone feels that way.  I love it here and am excited to be signed up for another campaign.”

Club personnel

With The Venue due to open soon we have recruited key staff to run it.  Shelley Shepherd has been brought in as Venue Manager and Sharon Edwards as Bar Supervisor.  Both are local people and are excited to join the club and be in at the start of an exciting period.  Additional staff are being recruited to the team so that, as the opening draws ever closer, training and important planning can take place.

The club is looking to stage some small scale test events in mid-June but the works continue and are on track.  We will provide a detailed update next week.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

This weekend the club is supporting the FA’s call for a social media boycott in protest at the continuing vile abuse suffered by players and others on-line.

The Football Association in conjunction with the Premier League, FA Women’s Super League, EFL, Women’s Championship, LMA, PGOL and Kick It Out, among others, have said: “The boycott shows English football coming together to emphasise that social media companies must do more to eradicate on-line hate, while highlighting the importance of educating people in the on-going fight against discrimination.”

Consequently everybody associated with the club is asked not to post on-line messages through social media during this period.  We call on the authorities and social media outlets to work together to stop on-line abuse in the game.  Acting together we can have an impact.  Thank you for your support.

While some Covid restrictions are relaxed and cases are falling, the situation remains serious so please continue to follow the rules, take care and stay safe.  If we stick together, better times are ahead.

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