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Bucko
Barmy Army Communications Officer

655 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2017 :  09:00:21  Show Profile
Hello everyone! Whilst we were looking at ways to keep our fans up to date with not just the major news but also what is going on behind the scenes, it was suggested that I write a regular column in the match programme, and it became quickly apparent that this could be extended to the forum. Some of you will remember the “Linnets Minutes” publication, which whilst looking great, was always going to struggle to give up-to-date information due to design and printing times.

Hopefully this “blog” will bridge the gap between the major news such as signings and building work, and the speculation that always exists around the club, to provide fans with all the background on what is happening at the club.

We can start with the building work, some of you will have seen how the new clubhouse is progressing, and completion date is expected in mid-October, but of course this can change. The new structure will greatly enhance our matchday experience, with everything in the main stadium compound. Of course there are other benefits, and the staff and players will of course have a much shorter journey to the pitch, and we will all have a much easier access to facilities such as refreshments and toilets etc.

On the pitch, the players have been training hard, and the morale in the camp is high. The lads put in a decent shift at Conwy, and the trialists also slotted in nicely. There will be some new signings to announce soon, to compliment the squad retained from last term.

Everybody at volunteer level has been working their socks off pre-season, and Chris and Dave have the pitch looking great. Spenny is heading up the maintenance team, and you will see there has been a lot of painting and cleaning done inside the stadium. Thanks to the generosity of one of the Trust Board, the final green perimeter panels are purchased and will hopefully be in place soon (some are still available for sponsorship!).

Fundraising will soon be in full flight, and Lee Chez is pulling together all the various ideas with the fundraising team. The 200 Club will be of vital importance, please read the latest press release to see how to get involved. There are many other initiatives on the way. The new blood on the Trust Board (Mike, Tracy, Lee and most recently James, along with Club Secretary Steve) have given us all a boost, as well as fresh outlook and ideas.

Great news continues to pour out of the Junior and Ladies teams. This year we will be running a youth team, and they will compete in the West Cheshire League Youth Division, and the Juniors have also been selected to feature on BBCs Match Of The Day “KickStart” show, so national coverage is beckoning for the youngsters and The Millbank Linnets Stadium! The programme airs on BBC1 TV on a Saturday morning (quite early) so as soon as we have details from Ciaran and the Juniors we will let you know.

In the next week or two we will be getting new squad pictures done, with the players sporting our new Macron kit that will be showcased in the home friendlies. Once the pictures are ready (and in some cases photo-shopped haha), we will be able to update the squad page with everyone that has sponsored a player for the new season (again there are a few left to sponsor, but I am conscious not to turn this communication into a sales pitch!). Our new Match Programme Editor Ellis has produced a programme to cover the three friendlies, we’re all looking forward to seeing his first publication, and again great to see new volunteers helping at the club.

So, there’s a general overview to get us kicked off, I will endeavour to make the blog a weekly event (or more regular if there’s big news!) and of course you can chat to me or any club official whenever you like! We will be putting a board in the new clubhouse with pictures of people involved and their roles so that fans can quickly identify the right person to answer a specific query. There’s also the “Contact Us” section of this website if you have a question or concern.

See you soon
Bucko

Bucko
Barmy Army Communications Officer

655 Posts

Posted - 30 Jul 2017 :  11:35:29  Show Profile
With pre-season drawing to a satisfying close, we are now preparing in earnest for the season ahead both on and off the pitch. Whilst there are differing schools of thoughts on how much should be read into pre-season games, I’m sure you’d all agree that the performances produced by Ello and Crossy’s squad have been very easy on the eye. The matches so far against Evo-Stik opposition have seen The Linnets looking the better side on each occasion, and the two games against sides from the Cheshire League saw us score 17 goals. The quality of goals has been exemplary, with team possession and swift passing leading to accomplished finishing, with the scoring coming from all areas within the squad.

Ello and Crossy have built a really decent looking squad for the new campaign, and I’m sure there are one or two comings and goings still to come. I must thank our management for the way in which they have handled their pre-season business, an incredible achievement to secure the early signatures of the whole of the squad that finished last season so strongly, and the quality of the new signings looks very impressive. The opening weeks of the season are always a bit difficult, with niggling injuries, holidays and the frustration of suspensions hanging over from last season, but everyone at the club is confident that our opening games will feature a very strong Linnets line-up, and of course, we wish the management and players every success, and hope they enjoy the journey.

Our opening tie against Hemsworth Miners Welfare in the Emirates FA Cup sees us quickly renew acquaintances with the team that knocked us out of the competition last year. We are pleased that once again our opening home match is to be sponsored by Brenda Jenkin and family in memory of Phil Tyler. Riley Moores (aged 6) and Ben Snape and Jake Pendlebury (aged 7) will be mascots on the day, we hope everyone enjoys the season opener. As well as remembering Phil, I’m sure that everyone will turn their thoughts and prayers to the family of Runcorn supporter Stan Mayhew who sadly passed away a few weeks ago.

Away from playing matters, work continues on our new clubhouse, with the size and layout of the structure clearly visible to visitors to the stadium. Dave Rose and Chris White have continued their hard work on the playing surface, and have taken on board more guidance from people within the industry. The pitch is generally in good nick, we have had an issue with a certain type of weed which conquered the summer “weed and feed” treatment, but by the time you read this, the contractors should have returned to have eradicated the pesky growths as part of their guarantee of work.

Ello has appointed his new physio, we would like to welcome Gemma to the club. The position of physio has taken some time to fill on a permanent basis this summer, but I'm sure now we will be able to settle knowing that players are getting the best possible treatment. Of course this will be further extended when the club move into the new clubhouse, with a specialist treatment room available for use.

The commercial group continue to work extremely hard, and we have some great deals with local businesses to announce soon. Coupled with community and charity link-ups, the group are focussed on raising the profile of the club in the local community and beyond. Everyone associated with the club can help with this, asking in the workplace or in their neighbourhood to see if any businesses would like to become a part of our journey, details of all available sponsorships are on our website.

Our next Trust Board meeting is next week, and as well as the clubhouse we will be discussing how to continue to improve our media campaign. James, Dave and Steve along with myself have been striving to ramp up our Twitter and Facebook presence, and James has also started to up our Instagram output. The new squad photos are nearly there, and soon we will be having our annual team photo shoot. Keep checking the social media streams for latest news from the club.

League fixtures have been released, and although various cup competitions will invariably cause some changes, this season throws up more mouth-watering ties than we have ever had before. The traditional Bank Holiday fixtures with our neighbours Runcorn Town have been reinstated for Easter and Christmas, and I’m sure fans are relishing our first competitive ties against newly promoted local rivals City Of Liverpool and Widnes. With Cheshire derbies against 1874 Northwich, Barnton, Winsford, and Northwich Victoria being added to our fixtures with Merseyside rivals AFC Liverpool and Bootle, this season promises to be our toughest league campaign. There are also bound to be the usual “dark horses” amongst the favourites to be at the top of the table come May, there are honestly about a dozen clubs with genuine title credentials this year. Everyone at the club will be doing everything possible to make sure that we are in with a shout.

Best Wishes
Bucko
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Bucko
Barmy Army Communications Officer

655 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2017 :  17:12:29  Show Profile
Hi again everyone, and I’m sure like me you still have feelings of contentment, excitement and even a slight relief after our first game of the season ended in a very good 2-0 victory over Hemsworth Miners Welfare. As the dust settles we can look back on an excellent performance and a clean sheet to boot, in what was always going to be a tricky tie. Despite it being a physical game there were no long term problems in the aftermath, although our new physio Gemma Mooney had a very busy day on her Linnets debut! I’m sure you will all agree that our debutants in the team also had a busy and successful day, and this only underlines the great summer that Ello and Crossy have had in the “transfer market”. I’m sure that there maybe one or two more comings and goings but everyone at the club is more than happy with the squad that has been assembled.

Off the pitch, it was also a very successful day, and the crowd of 324 was excellent. Our match sponsors on the day Brenda and John Jenkin brought a host of family and friends to help us remember Phil and Kath Tyler, and after the match they presented Kyle Hamid with a “luxury gift bag” as their Man Of The Match. Of course Kyle had earlier scored our first goal of the season, our Top Scorer Award this season is going to be very tough to predict, with a host of players in with a shout of claiming the “Golden Boot”.

I must congratulate Ellis on his first proper match programme at the weekend,
and feedback from league officials has been very complimentary. I know how difficult it is from experience to come to terms with the demands of the job of Programme Editor, it is one of the most demanding roles within the club, but we all know that Ellis will go from strength to strength.

It was great this week to announce our new signing in the form of our new finishing mower and roller. This is a joint acquisition with our Linnets Juniors, so hopefully all players under our Linnets family umbrella will reap the benefits. Chris and Dave quickly got to grips with the new beast, and hopefully we will see a difference tonight. Whether or not Dave will be looking for tartan or another unusual pattern design in the grass only time will tell. Thankfully the contractors returned to eradicate the last of the weeds, so again the pitch should continue to improve over the coming weeks. We are very precious about the playing surface, and we do get literally dozens of requests to use the pitch per season which unfortunately we cannot accommodate, it would be easy to make a quick few quid, but wherever we can the pitch is protected as much as possible.

Our first home game also saw the first broadcast of Linnets FM at the ground, great fun and an opportunity to recognise birthdays, landmarks and our sponsors of course. Follow @LinnetsFM on twitter for more info or to make a request, another Linnets project in its infancy that should go from strength to strength!

Our Trust Board meeting took place last Monday evening at the MLS, and to be honest there isn’t too much to report that you’re not already aware of. Of course we are all really excited for the Golf Day on the 17th and the first ever 200 club draw at the home game against Winsford United. It is pleasing that every single member of the first team squad has signed up for the 200 club, and personally if I don’t win it (surely that couldn’t happen?!), then it would be great if one of the players won the first monthly jackpot. However, every entrant has an equal chance, and what’s guaranteed is that everyone playing is helping to secure vital funds for the club, so a massive thanks to all our 200 club players.

At the Trust Board Meeting we also reviewed and accepted a new full colour sponsorship brochure, put together by myself, Mike Biggy and James Eastup. We will be really pushing this towards local companies in the next month or two, and we’ve already reaped the dividends with an exciting new deal with a local firm that I can’t wait to tell you about once “rubber-stamped”. The clubhouse project remains on target for mid-October, and of course we need to think about a Grand Opening, another topic discussed on the night at the meeting. With sponsorships, building, and some great new community projects in the pipeline it’s a very busy and exciting time for all.

Thanks for reading, and for your continued support of the club, and don’t forget you can ask me or any club official for any further information or clarification that you want regarding anything involving Runcorn Linnets, or contact us through the website. It’s your club...

Be loud, be proud, be heard.
Bucko
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Bucko
Barmy Army Communications Officer

655 Posts

Posted - 16 Oct 2017 :  20:38:19  Show Profile
Hi Everyone,

Firstly, my apologies that there hasn’t been a blog for some time, as you can imagine things have been very hectic lately, I knew how demanding a role this would be, and it hasn’t disappointed. On the whole I am really enjoying the position of Club Chairman, and although sometimes things can get very stressful, it is extremely rewarding, and I must thank my parents and my children, and of course Tracy for their support, it would be impossible to do this without knowing that my loved ones are stood by me.


The next immediate challenge that awaits us is Saturday’s journey to The North East. We have been unfortunate with suspensions and a few injuries, and Ello and Crossy will have a very busy week ahead in preparation. Of course the club will, as always, do everything we can to back the management team. The team are travelling by coach, and again this brings a challenge, as we need to fill the remaining spaces on the team bus with officials and volunteers who pay to cover the cost of the coach. Unfortunately there isn’t enough demand for a second coach, and this brings a dilemma when supporters do enquire about travel. The club are constantly looking for better solutions to the travel arrangements for longer trips, but again on this occasion there simply wasn’t enough demand to run a supporters coach whilst remaining financially viable. We are always ready to listen if fans have ideas or solutions as to how we can improve things.


The clubhouse project is thankfully nearing completion, and currently we are looking for a handover date at the end of October, although again this could be slightly delayed by the commissioning of the gas supply. It is difficult for this reason to arrange the official opening, but at the moment we have pencilled in the Saturday 18th November game with Northwich Vics as the projected date for the opening ceremony. The building looks great, and I’m sure we can be settled in very soon. Reg and Adrian from the Trust Board are co-ordinating the removal of fixtures and fittings from the existing clubhouse into the new building, again an arduous task as we nowhere near have enough room to house all of the memorabilia etc that we have collected over the years. Ciaran and Stu from the Juniors are co-ordinating the furniture and new fittings, Tracy will oversee the movement of paperwork and admin, and of course Steve P will be vital in the organisation of the technology and computer equipment. It’s very much a team effort!


Mike Bignall has now qualified as our Club Licensee, having successfully completed all the relevant courses, and we are finalising the position and logistics of running the bar, and I will be taking a keen interest in product and stock flow, given my background in the pub trade. There is much to do, but we expect everything to come together quickly, it may be that we have to use the existing clubhouse on Saturday 28th October, it’s a case of wait and see. When the project was announced, it was difficult to imagine that we could have reached completion with no disruption to our match schedule at all, and the fact that we have fulfilled our home fixtures without any cancellation or rearrangement is a testament to everyone involved.


I was extremely saddened to receive the resignation of Dave Rose, our groundsman, and whilst fully understanding of his position, it was still with heavy heart that I couldn’t persuade him to reconsider. Dave has given up uncountable hours to tend to the pitch, sometimes in the most difficult of circumstances, and has always given his all. Of course we will still see him at games and be subject to his unique wit and observational humour, but I place on record the thanks of everyone at the club for all he has done for us. Chris White and myself have spoken at length with Jeff Jago, who has been involved with the club for some time, and Jeff has put in place a plan of action for the pitch, and a team of volunteers who will keep up the high standards expected from the playing surface. Jeff brings a wealth of experience with him, and he has our full support.


More projects are forthcoming, the Junior section have now finalised their plan to fence the outside pitches, which is essential for their protection and upkeep. The footprint of our site will change dramatically over the coming weeks, as everything moves over to Stockham Lane, but the improvements and advantages are too many to mention. The Car Park next to the Stadium has been resurfaced, and we hope to see an end to some of the difficult scenarios we have encountered with parking recently, especially on big games. We will assess the best methods of getting everyone in and out of the site safely, and of course, John Pickering will oversee the risk assessments involved with the new methodology.


Every so often something happens that is unique, and I feel that Runcorn Linnets truly has something magical about it. We receive hundreds of emails and messages a year from oversees players looking for a trial, badge and programme collectors, requests for friendlies from all four corners of the country and many requests from charities and teams who would like to use the stadium. We do through our long suffering Trust Secretary David Bettley reply to all of them, but unfortunately in most circumstances it is difficult for us to help as much as we would like. A tweet from Huang Andersson from China however caught our eye, and last weekend I met with him at the ground and listened to his amazing story.


Huang lives in China, and in 2001 he adopted Runcorn FC Halton as his favourite team through playing the computer game Championship Manager. Because social media is limited in his home country, it has been difficult for him to get much information about the club, and so he decided to bring his family on a pilgrimage to England to find his favourite team! He had the ground listed as “Autoquest, Liverpool”, and through setting up a twitter profile he was able to get in touch, and we sent him directions to The Millbank Linnets Stadium. Huang and his family duly arrived on Sunday afternoon via the 79c! He was thrilled to be given a tour of the facilities, and explained to me that his favourite (and best) player in the game was Steve Carragher. He was distraught to lose him in the game to fund a move for Steven Gerrard (!), and was very happy to hear that Cas eventually became Linnets manager, and Huang took many pictures of the team group in the foyer with Steve on. He and his son had a kick about on the pitch (sorry Crossy!), and many stories were exchanged and photos taken. I was honoured and humbled to meet such a warm, polite and enthusiastic fan. I’m sure it’s not the last we have heard of him, and I gave him my word to keep in touch via email.


Before I sign off I must mention and congratulate Paul Tandy now that the 200 Club is in full swing, we must continue to support Paul in promoting this fund raiser, and Paul’s next target is to make it into a 300 Club! The Fundraising Group have been working hard and you will see all kinds of new merchandise is now available. We will set up an area in the new building to improve the availability of souvenirs, scarves and so on. The work never stops, the club honestly runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you all for your amazing support, it means everything to Ello and the players, and we look forward to seeing you soon.


C’mon The ‘Corn!

Bucko
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Runcorn Linnets 200 Club

Draw date : October 2017

Winning Numbers
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Runcorn
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Ashton Athletic
   
Date:Sat 25 Nov 2017
Kick-off:3:00pm
Venue:The Millbank Linnets Stadium
Match:The Hallmark Security League Premier Division

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Padiham
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Date:Sat 16 Dec 2017
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