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23 Dec 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 48

Men's Team

We made the short journey over the water to play Widnes last Saturday and it was certainly worth the trip. I sublime Iwan Murray hattrick and goals from Dapo and Sean O'Mahony saw us take all three points in the Halton derby.

The away support was fantastic once again and you basically turned it into a home game, the attendance broke their club record attendance and we now have the highest average away attendances in the West Division. I went pitch side at the end of the game and the reception you gave the players was amazing and I know they really appreciate it.

Next up is our festive fixture on Monday 27th December against Prescot Cables at the APEC Taxis Stadium. Cables have had some very interesting results recently so it's sure to be an entertaining game.

Mental Health

I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who replied to last week's update or reached out to me personally after I opened up about my mental health issues. I was genuinely touched by them all and also by the offers to help. I would like to make a special thank you to Vice President Paul Eastup, who contacted me to offer to help me sort out the information required by our Accountants.

Mental Health is a massive issue at this time of year, especially considering the uncertainty surrounding the increase in COVID infections and the possibility of further restrictions. Mental Health services have been decimated by government cuts but help is still available. A variety of free services are available for people experiencing crisis.

The following three are featured on the NHS Website and staffed by trained volunteers:

Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email: jo@samaritans.org for a reply within 24 hours.

Text "SHOUT" to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Helpline , or text "YM" if under the age of 19.

Anyone aged under 19 can also call 0800 1111 to talk to Childline . The number will not appear on any phone bill.

Halton Borough Council also has a wide range of contact information for support services on its website at Halton Borough Council

Please reach out if you need help.

Christmas This is my last update before Christmas, so I just wanted to say a massive thank you to all our volunteers for their hard work this year. It doesn't matter what you do, without you we simply wouldn't be able to run this football club.

Merry Christmas to all our players, staff, fans and volunteers. See you on Monday.

Thank you all for reading.

Dave Jones

Runcorn Linnets FC - Chairman

16 Dec 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 47

Men's Team

We entertained Glossop North End on Saturday where a disappointing performance in difficult weather conditions resulted in a 1-1 draw. Whilst not the result we would have wanted it was important that we didn't lose. Although the attendance was down on what we have been getting, 445 is still a very good crowd considering the opposition, the weather, and the proximity to Christmas.

We travelled to table toppers Marine on Tuesday and I still have no idea how we didn't go in at half time at least one goal up. We were excellent in the first half and showed that we can play as well as anyone in this division. Marine made us rue our missed chances with three quick fire goals and a late goal from Ryan Brooke wasn't enough to get us back into the game but there were many reasons to be optimistic for future games.

The away support was brilliant and many of the coaching staff and players have commented on how loud you all were.

Pitch Issues

In his post-match interview following the Glossop game Calum mentioned issues with the hybrid pitch at the APEC Taxis Stadium and I just wanted to clear a few things up.

Firstly, the pitch is admittedly not in the best condition but we have this pitch as part of a pilot scheme ran by the Football Foundation and part of that pilot it to see how it can hold up in this part of the country with continued use. The pitch gets used by the men's team, Ladies team, Development team, the ESPFA Academy team, the Juniors and other commercial hirers. It gets so much use as that is part of our agreement with the Football Foundation. I'm not an expert on grass or football pitches but Jeff Jago is and I know he is doing everything he can to keep the pitch in as good condition as possible within the parameters he has to work with.

One of the things Calum said in his interview which seems to have caused a few rumours and questions was that the team was unable to train on the pitch. The men's team have exclusive use of the pitch for training on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7pm. On Tuesday 7th December the pitch was available for use as it always is and in fact, we had cancelled all other training on it. What Calum was referring to was that when he arrived early for training, he didn't feel the pitch was in a condition to be played on and therefore he had to cancel training for the team.

Pete Cartledge and I met with Calum after the Glossop game and had a frank discussion about the pitch and what we could do to improve the situation. We will now put a plan in place to manage the pitch through the difficult winter months.

Postponement of the 2021 AGM

I want to apologise unreservedly to all Trust Members for the late postponement of this year's AGM. A good leader acknowledges and takes responsibility for all their failures and the postponement was 100% my fault.

I have suffered with anxiety and depression for many years now. Most of the time I am able to manage it and go about my daily life fairly normally. Over the last 6 months a number of things have happened in my personal life that have taken a toll on my mental health and the last couple of months I have been suffering with severe anxiety and depression. These illnesses make it difficult to function never mind carry out important tasks and this added to a full time job and the day to day tasks of being a chairman of a non-league football club meant that I was unable to provide our Accountants with the information they require to produce our annual accounts. There are absolutely no issues or concerns with our finances or accounts, I simply haven't done it. Another aspect of mental health issues is that it makes it almost impossible to admit you're struggling and ask for help, so I kept it to myself hoping I could sort it out.

On Monday I spoke to my doctor and was signed off for another two weeks and that meant I would be unable to Chair the AGM as I was unable to work. I finally reached out to my Vice Chairman and friend Pete Cartledge and he did what he has always done and supported me by speaking to Dave Bettley and taking advice from the Football Supporters Association and based on that advise the decision was made to postpone the AGM.

Anyone who knows me, will know that I am a very private person, I keep a lot of things to myself and it has been very difficult for me to share this with you all but I have done so for two reasons. Firstly, I always face up to my mistakes and it's important that although as a Board of Directors we are team and they have all supported me, it is me that takes responsibility. Secondly, lots of people suffer with mental health issues and everyone should be able to speak out without fear of ridicule or people thinking less of them.

I would say to anyone that is struggling mentally to reach out to someone, it really does help to share it and speak about it, no one will think any less of you.

Thank you all for reading.

Dave Jones

Runcorn Linnets FC - Chairman

16 Dec 2021 : AGM Update

As you will probably be aware, the Trust Board on Tuesday made the decision to postpone last night's Annual General Meeting of the club.

Unfortunately, this was at very short notice and we as a board and club apologise for that.

People will no doubt have been wondering about the reasons for the postponement, which as we said in our original release are numerous.

The main cause of the postponement is that we have been unable to finalise the accounts in time for presentation at the meeting.

This is entirely the fault of the club.

We will serve our accountants Burton Beavan with the required information in time for a full financial report to be available at the rescheduled AGM in mid-January,

The delay in producing accounts is mostly down to pressure of club-related work and there are no issues of concern with the accounts themselves.

We did consider until the very last minute going ahead with a meeting to pass on the news to members in person but we would still have had to reconvene the AGM.

With the spiralling health emergency and uncertainty continuing to surround the new Covid variant, it would not have been the best time to meet informally.

We realise that many of our fans would have been (and will be) wary of gathering in numbers indoors, particularly with Christmas fast approaching.

The final straw was unexpected but pressing personal matters, non-club related, which would have prevented a number of club officials from attending the scheduled AGM.

We discussed the postponement with the Football Supporters Association (FSA) by email on Tuesday morning and in person at our game at Marine, which coincidentally the same representative had already agreed to attend.

He did not see any major problem with the decision so long as the AGM is rearranged for mid-January which is now our intention.

We can assure members that the postponement decision was not taken lightly and the board can only apologise again for the eleventh-hour call-off.

14 Dec 2021 : AGM Postponement

Due to multiple unforeseeable circumstances we have had to postpone tomorrow nights AGM (15th December) until mid January.

Both the date and format of the new AGM meeting will be confirmed at a later date.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

09 Dec 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 46

Men's Team

Unfortunately, we have had our last two games against Market Drayton Town and Colne postponed due to adverse weather so there isn't really much to talk about. Results mainly went our way and we ended up one place and one point outside the play off places with two games in hand on the team in 5th place and three on the other teams on the play-off places.

We did announce the signing of James Steele from Widnes on Sunday and from what I've seen in training he should be a very good addition to Calum's squad.

We finally get back into action at the APEC Taxis Stadium with a game against Glossop North End on Saturday, which will be quickly followed by a trip to Marine on Tuesday 14th December.

Linnets Ladies

The Ladies played a very good Curzon Ashton Women's side and found themselves a goal and a player down after conceding a penalty on 27 minutes. Despite that setback the remaining 10 players battled hard and went in at half time only that goal behind. Unfortunately, the player deficit took its toll in the 2nd half and they eventually lost the game 5-0. It was a very spirited display after going down to 10 and showed good signs for the future.

Next up for the Ladies is away game at the Warrington Wolves Foundation Women's on Sunday 12th December at 2pm.

Development Team

There was no game for the Development Team last weekend, as the game at Chorley FC U21s was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Their next game will at the APEC Taxis Stadium against Winstanley Warriors FC U21s on Sunday 12th December at 12pm.

Ground Improvements

Spenny and the team have completed the cover at the bottom end of the ground and I have to say it looks brilliant, it's great to finally have some cover down that end so the Linnets faithful can cheer the lads on from behind the goal we are attacking in all weathers. We have already begun planning on extending the cover so it covers more of the bottom end.

Thank you all for reading.

Dave Jones

Runcorn Linnets FC - Chairman

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