Our chief executive Jason Turner has provided an update on several club matters as preparations commence for the 2021-22 campaign.
It has, of course, been an emotional week for everyone following Saturday’s cruel play-off semi-final defeat and the departure of a number of players. We offer our sincere thanks and best wishes for the future to those who are leaving us.
Sadly, farewells are part and parcel of football but I have to say, despite my many years in the game, this time of year never gets any easier. There is, however, plenty to be excited about moving forward.
We are in the final stages of confirming season ticket arrangements for the new season and will announce all details this weekend ahead of going on sale next Monday. We’ve already received a considerable number of enquiries from supporters and we’re very much looking forward to sharing these details with you.
It won’t be too much longer before we’re able to reveal the designs of our new PUMA kits either. While I very much like both shirts, I’m particularly taken with the new away colour and design and hope you find it equally appealing.
As you may have seen in our recent Lifeline update, pitch renovations are well underway thanks to a significant donation from the membership. I would like to reiterate my thanks to all members, along with our Lifeline coordinator Lynn Lawson who does an excellent job, and urge everyone else to join our ever-growing waiting list.
The pitch is sure to be in wonderful condition by the time Derby County arrive at Meadow Lane for our first of two home pre-season friendlies on Sunday 1 August (kick-off 1pm). We’re delighted that Wayne Rooney’s side have agreed to play us and, fingers crossed, there will be a big crowd watching on. Due to the ever-evolving Covid-19 situation, ticketing details for all our pre-season friendlies, including our second home fixture against York City, will be confirmed closer to each match. Click here for a full schedule.
Our Vanarama National League season will kick-off on Saturday 21 August with 23 teams competing, including newly relegated Grimsby Town and Southend United. Having commenced last season in early October, I think all clubs are looking forward to a campaign with far fewer midweek fixtures in their schedule. Hopefully the forthcoming campaign will present a major shift back to normality, with fans by our side throughout.
One change we would like to see is an increase in the permitted number of named substitutes in the National League. Supported by several other clubs, we have submitted a proposal which states that, as an elite league, we believe the National League should fall in line with the EFL and Premier League by permitting clubs to name more than five. We feel we have a strong case and look forward to discussing this further at the league’s forthcoming AGM.
Preparations for the new campaign are also underway in our academy, the future of which was secured thanks to our owners, Chris and Alex Reedtz, committing to providing significant financial support to help compensate for the lost income of £200k grant funding due to us remaining in the National League. Our Official Supporters Association will also be ramping up their fundraising to help cover some of this deficit, so please support their efforts as best you can.
Whilst writing, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge and praise the considerable efforts of our dedicated and committed staff, led by my senior management team of Dave Langton, Nick Richardson and Jordan Worthington, who have worked tirelessly over the past year or so to ensure that the club has continued to operate as normally as possible in extremely difficult and trying circumstances. A special mention too for Marco Ferreira, our Head of Medical Services, who has ensured that our Covid protocols have been strictly adhered to throughout the playing staff.
On a final note, I would like to congratulate two of our former managers, Neal Ardley (Solihull Moors) and Harry Kewell (Barnet), on beginning their new challenges. We look forward to welcoming them both back to Meadow Lane next season.
Thank you for your continued support of the club and keep your eyes peeled for further updates.