Saturday 19 September
Welcome to the latest club update.
Amidst the lovely early autumn sunshine we ride a rollercoaster of news and anticipated announcements that are so crucial to clubs at our level in the football pyramid.
After last Saturday’s home win against AFC Rushden & Diamonds in the first pre-season game at St James Park, we host fellow Step 2 side Hemel Hempstead today. It is again a behind-closed-doors event. This is of course frustrating and disappointing because we want supporters to be back and the club desperately needs the income through the turnstile of home games.
A number of test matches are taking place to prove that games can be played safely behind-closed-doors even though some major test events have been cancelled such as the Non-League Finals Day at Wembley when 10,000 were to be admitted. Nevertheless, every game behind-closed-doors or otherwise is being closely scrutinised and it is vital that games run smoothly and clubs demonstrate sound procedures and strong commitment to Covid-secure arrangements so that we may soon reach the point when spectators can again return to Step 1 and Step 2 grounds.
We await the FA Cup draw next week to discover who we will play on 3 October and whether it will be at home or away and, if it is at home, whether we will be able to admit supporters and if so, how many.
The National League and Football Association have made a joint plea to government this week to permit spectators into games pointing out how perilous the financial position is of so many clubs. While our ground has a calculated capacity for the purposes of being a designated Covid-secure stadium of well above our average home crowd, the joint National League and FA plea is for a limit of 1000 spectators across the board – again this could work well at St James Park if not at some bigger clubs.
In all cases, when it is agreed that spectators can again attend games at SJP, capacity will be limited and so we launched the club membership scheme as a way to manage ticket sales and to reassure regular supporters and provide priority ticket booking.
Details and an application form for the Brackley Town FC Membership Scheme can be found on the website. Uptake has been high which is encouraging – thank you for your support. It is not too late to join. Adult membership is £10, Junior membership is £5 and lasts for the whole season. Membership will give priority access for tickets at all ticket games along with a range of other benefits.
First team squad
With 16 registered players already Kevin expects to add more players ahead of the season’s start and the next signing will be announced in the coming few days. After the Hemel game we have one further pre-season game to come when we travel to Oxford City next weekend. In the event that spectators are to be admitted to games by that time we will of course publicise this on the website and through social media.
Successful funding application
We had more welcome news this week with a successful application for funding from the Match-day Support Fund which is managed by the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) funded by the Premier League. The grant will help towards some of the extra costs of getting St James Park ready to host games again. Chairman Francis Oliver said, “The Match-day Support Fund grant is a huge boost to our club in these difficult times. The grant will help us to continue and build upon the work that we have carried already to make our stadium a safe environment for both staff and supporters, whom we look forward to welcoming back to St James Park soon.”
Good progress continues to be made on the new clubhouse. The roof is now completed and all the skeleton steel work is in place ready to accept the wall panels starting next week. This work should take about two weeks to complete. Next week will also see the pour of the interior floor slab and by the end of the month the building should start to show its full colours. Also next week will see the barrier in front of the clubhouse building site move out about one metre which will remove the dog-leg from the end of the old main stand. These are all important stages in the construction process.
For all the latest news and updates stay in touch through our social media outlets and the club website.
Until next time – stay safe, stay well.