25 Nov 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 44
So, Calum pulled off another tactical master class to beat Warrington Rylands and take us up to 3rd in the table. Lloyd Marsh-Hughes gave us the lead with a well worked goal before new boy Lewis Doyle made it 2-0 with an absolute peach into the top corner. Joe Young put in one of his best performances in a Linnets shirt and kept Rylands at bay with some outstanding saves.
Next we travel to Market Drayton and I'm absolutely delighted that Tina and Josh have succeeded in sorting a coach for the travelling fans. I know just how difficult it is to organise from when I ran the Supporters Group travel club and they deserve enormous credit to pull it off. The support this season has been fantastic and it's great to see so many new faces not just at the APEC but at away games too.
The Ladies played Ellesmere Port Town Ladies at the APEC in the Cheshire Cup on Sunday and put in a dominant display as they progressed to the next round with a 3-1 win. In the past weeks I've been talking about good performances but not being able to convert them into a win so it was great to see all the hard work rewarded with a good win.
Next up for the Ladies is an away game against Didsbury at the Didsbury Sports Ground, Ford Lane, Didsbury, M20 2RU on Sunday 28th November at 2pm.
There was no game for the Development Team last weekend but they are back in action on Friday 26th November at the APEC Taxis Stadium (kick off time to be confirmed) against Witton Albion Development Squad.
The Development Team manager Robbie Gibbons has recently informed me that he will be stepping down from his role due to work and family reasons and I would like to thank Gibbo for his work in assembling a good squad in difficult circumstances. We will be making an announcement regarding hi replacement in due course.
The ESPFA academy team continued their 100% start to the season with a 2-0 win away at Witton Albion in the cup with goals from Reece Jones and Lucas Wilson.
There next game will have been at the APEC Taxis Stadium on Thursday 25th November.
I informed you last week that work had begun on the cover for the far end and I hope you all managed to have a look against Warrington Rylands. This work has begun on attaching the sheeting for the accrual cover to the framework and the work will be completed before our next home game, so both ends of the ground will have cover to protect fans from the winter weather.
Trust Board Elections
The results of this year's Trust Board elections have been announced and as there were less nominees than there were positions available myself, Bren Connolly, Paul Riley and Jack Walsh were automatically elected to the board.
Even though attendances have massively increased this season, Trust membership has actually decreased and I would encourage all our new fans to consider joining the Trust as the Trust is an essential part of how our club is run. The deadline has passed for involvement in this year's AGM but you can join the trust at any time.
Thank you all for reading.
Runcorn Linnets FC - Chairman
21 Nov 2021 : Linnets' 1990s Wembley favourite Graham Hill passes away
The Linnets are extremely saddened to report that popular former centre half Graham Hill, who twice played in the Yellow and Green at Wembley, has died after a long illness.
Graham, who was in his early 50s, had battled cancer for many years with the same redoubtable spirit and positive attitude that he showed on the football field.
He was very influential in Runcorn AFC reaching successive FA Trophy finals in the 1990s.
The Linnets lost to former Northern Ireland international Martin ONeill's Wycombe Wanderers in '93 and the following year, were beaten by Woking.
On both occasions, Runcorn were big underdogs. Just to reach the twin towers at a time when the club was under financial strife and hit by off-field disasters, including the destruction by fire of their main stand, was a huge achievement.
Graham in many ways epitomised the Linnets' Trophy final teams - genuine, brave, honest and committed.
But he and his team-mates also had ability in abundance, helping the club to punch well above its weight in the fifth tier of English football, the Vauxhall Conference (now known as the National League).
During Graham's time with the Linnets, the 1992 Bob Lord Trophy final was also reached, this being the League Challenge Cup for Conference sides.
Runcorn lost 2-1 on aggregate to Wycombe, having won the first leg at Canal Street 1-0.
Wycombe boss O'Neill reportedly took champagne into the away dressing room at Adams Park after the trophy presentation - such was his admiration for the Runcorn performances.
The Linnets camp around this was a tightly-knit unit, firm and long-standing friendships being formed between the players and management team led admirably by manager, John Carroll.
Graham and Arthur Williams, goalkeeper in both '90s Wembley appearances, had a particularly strong bond. After retirement from playing, they trained racing greyhounds together.
Many of the players, Graham included, were very sadly reunited in tribute to their former boss at John's funeral in 2016.
In the Runcorn Weekly News pre-match edition for the 1993 Trophy final, John described Graham as "an excellent on-field communicator", "a great competitor, strong in the air and a good marker" - in summary, "as good a centre half as there is in the Conference".
Graham joined Runcorn from Curzon Ashton, bringing family, including his parents, as supporters.
He later played against the Linnets for Leigh RMI with whom he had gained promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division as Division One runners-up in 1996-97.
The now defunct RMI reached the FA Cup first round in 1998-99, Graham starring in a 1-1 draw at Fulham, big spenders in the Second Division (equivalent of today's Championship).
The Cottagers won the Hilton Park replay 0-2.
Horwich-born Graham was also a good cricketer, playing alongside brother Iain in the Bolton League, mostly for Westhoughton but also Farnworth SC.
Very sadly, Graham developed myeloma, a form of blood cancer, and POEMS syndrome, a rare blood disorder that damages the nerves.
He was unable to stand or walk freely and used a frame.
Before falling ill, he had been a national retail manager for construction services and materials firm, Hilti GB.
Runcorn Linnets send our deepest sympathy to Graham's wife Anne, their son Ryan, other family and friends at this very distressing time.
Photo credit: Runcorn Weekly News.
21 Nov 2021 : Result of Trust Board election 2021
Nominations for the Trust Board of Runcorn Linnets closed at 7pm on Wednesday, November 17th.
Four applications for the six vacancies on the board in the 2021 rotation were received by Trust secretary, Dave Bettley.
All were valid and with there being fewer nominations than available places, the Trust rule is that all four candidates are automatically elected to serve for two years from the 2021 AGM.
This has led to the re-election of club chairman Dave Jones and, in Bren Connolly, Paul Riley and Jack Walsh, the addition to the board of three newcomers, all of whom have already performed various volunteer roles at the club.
The elected candidates (in alphabetical order of surname) are:
A P Jones, Ste Bignall
Peter Cartledge, Josh Christian.
A P Jones, Alan Spendlove ("Spenny")
David Jones, Josh Christian.
We are sure Trust members will join us in wishing them every success.
There were no member resolutions submitted for the AGM on Wednesday, December 15th.
Full details of the meeting in the clubhouse at APEC Taxis Stadium (7pm) will be mailed to members in due course.
18 Nov 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 43
No game for the Men's team last weekend but results elsewhere saw us once again outside the play-off places but with games in hand.
We face Warrington Rylands at home this Saturday where a win could see us go second. With us two points behind Warrington Rylands and them sitting in the play-off places, a win will definitely see us into the play-off places. From what I saw of Warrington Rylands against Prescot Cables on Saturday, it is not going to be an easy game but we are definitely capable of getting the win.
With us catching up on games with everyone else in the next couple of months we will have a better idea of where we are but we are definitely in the mix at the top end of the table and deservedly so, given the quality of football Calum has got the lads playing.
The Ladies played Hindley Women away on Sunday and unfortunately lost the game 6-0. Performances are improving, we just need to convert our chances and turn good performances into wins.
Our next game is at the APEC Taxis Stadium in the Cheshire County Ladies Cup Preliminary Round against Ellesmere Port Town Ladies on Sunday at 2pm. This is a big game for the Ladies and I urge as many fans as possible to come along and support them. The tea bar and bar will be open with the Sky Sports games being shown in The Clubhouse.
The Development Team continued their good form with a 3-0 win away at Witton Albion U21s. That's back to back wins now for the young Linnets and hopefully signifies an upturn in fortunes for the rest of the season.
Our next game is home against Witton Albion U21s on Sunday 28th November.
The Development Team are looking for a new coach to work with manager Robbie Gibbons, if you are interested, please contact the club.
Linnets in the Community
As part of our Linnets in the Community initiative our Community Engagement Manager Josh Christian took part in a knife sweep with Runcorn Police, Onward Housing and Halton Borough Council.
Officers from Runcorn Police will also be attending our game against Warrington Rylands to talk to our young fans about the serious impact of carrying a knife.
Spenny and the maintenance team have started work on getting cover behind the goal at the bottom end. The framework is now in place and the next step will be to get sheeting to cover it.
I would like to take this opportunity to give a special mention to Spenny, his enthusiasm at the moment is infectious and he has saved the club a lot of money by doing the installation himself. Thank you Spenny, your work is very much appreciated by me and the rest of the board.
11 Nov 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 42
The lads put in a battling performance against Trafford to earn a 1-1 with a late equaliser from Lloyd Marsh-Hughes after Trafford had taken an early lead. They never gave in and kept battling until the very end and if the game had gone on a little longer, I think we would have gotten a winner.
We then had a long trip up the M6 to face Kendal on Tuesday night. After a very good performance the Linnets got a deserved 3-0 win with goals from Iwan Murray, Ryan Brooke and Dapo Olarewaju. Kendal had put in a very dogged performance in the first half to keep the game goalless at half time but we just had too much for them in the second half and it felt inevitable that we would eventually get the goal.
Those two results took us into the play off positions and considering the way we have played so far this season; it is only what we deserve.
The Ladies played Chester Women on Sunday and despite an improved performance from the Linnets we unfortunately lost 5-2. We need to remember that the Ladies have had a big step up in league's and had a lot of upheaval in the summer. The team is improving and I have no doubt that the results will come.
Our next game is away against Hindley Juniors Women on Sunday 14th November.
The Development Team put in a great performance at the APEC Taxis Stadium and ran out 3-0 winners against St Helens Town U21s.
Our next game is away against Witton Albion Development Squad on Sunday 14th November.
Our ESPFA Academy team continued a great start to the season with a 5-2 win over Mickleover to continue their 100% start to the season.
Ste Chaney's lads have won five out of five scoring 32 goals in the process. This is after getting to the national finals last season where they finished 2nd.
We had our fireworks display on 6th November and it was a great success. As well as putting on a great night for our fans and the local community, everyone who attended was also able to raise £760 for charity. We will top that up to £800 and it will be split evenly between Halton Haven and Alder Hey. Thank you to everyone for their fantastic generosity.
We will be putting on more great events in the future so please keep an eye on our social media for more details.
As I am sure you are all aware, Grace Mantova has made the decision to resign from the Trust Board and from her role in the Tea Bar. I want to place on record my thanks to Grace, she was integral in the off field success we have achieved so far and working in the Tea Bar on a match day is a thankless task where you don't even get to watch the games.
Thank you to Grace from all at Runcorn Linnets.
We have been delighted with the increase in attendances this season and very much hope that they continue, however increased attendances do bring their own problems.
We have been made aware of a few incidents involving unruly behaviour by some of our younger fans including verbally abusing opposition players and fans. Whilst there is always an element of "banter" with players and even some light-hearted interaction, it should never be malicious and abuse cannot be tolerated.
Runcorn Linnets have always been known for the respect shown to opposition players and that is something I want to continue. Any abuse or threats of violence from our fans towards opposition players, officials, or fans will not be tolerated. Anyone observed being abusive will be asked to leave and will not be welcome back.
We want everyone to noisily back our players but there is a line that must not be crossed and everyone deserves to be treated with respect.
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