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16 Sep 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 34

Men's Team

A mixed couple of results for the men's team since my last update. Firstly, we put in a tactical masterclass against Clitheroe to win 2-1 with a well worked team goal culminating in a very tidy finish from Dapo and a great individual goal from the on fire Ryan Brooke. We then followed that 3 days later with a disappointing 2-1 defeat away to Bootle. Whilst the result was disappointing, the lads have played a lot of football over the last few weeks and overall, we've got to be happy with what we have achieved so far.

Next up, is of course Bamber Bridge in the 2nd qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup. I have been so happy with our attendances this season and it would be great to see us top the highest attendance we have gotten so far. It'll be a big ask as 729 against 1874 was a very good attendance. Bamber Bridge are from the league above and have had a very good start to the season so the lads are going to need your support to get the job done.

Women's FA Cup

The Linnets Ladies made history on Sunday when they took part in the Vitality Women's FA Cup for the first time. They were watched by a crowd of 282 and they did us proud with a great performance and a 4-1 win against Preston North End. It was also the highest attendance in the Vitality Women's FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round in the entire country and that is a tremendous achievement.

It was great to see so many fans out to see our Ladies team, as growing their support and improving the Ladies match day experience is one of my priorities.

The Ladies next game is against Altrincham in the league on Sunday 19th September at 2pm, admission is 2 and 18 and under can get in for free.

FA Youth Cup

The Youth Team took on AFC Liverpool in the FA Trophy at the APEC Linnets Stadium on Wednesday and they put in a brilliant performance but unfortunately lost in sudden death of a penalty shootout. To continue the theme of great crowds, there were 215 fans there to witness it.

It was a very entertaining game including a stoppage time equaliser from the young Linnets to make the game 3-3 which sparked wild celebrations on and off the pitch. Although the run has come to an end, it has been a great experience for the lads and I'm sure they will be better players for it.

Unauthorised pitch use

Over the last few weeks, we have been dealing with the issue of unauthorised pitch use. Youths have been gaining access to the ground late in the evening and have even been turning the floodlights on to play on the pitch. This is obviously causing us problems in relation to pitch wear and tear and then there are the security issues and safety issues. We have already implemented improved security arrangements and have been in discussions with our sponsor Complete Security Services and the local police.

Whilst the security of the site is a concern, in my opinion it is just young lads who want to play on a world class pitch under the floodlights. So, we have also been discussing options with the local police which will allow us to set aside a booking on the pitch, probably on a Friday evening, for them to run a free community football programme. My hope is that if they are allowed to play on the pitch then they will be less likely to gain unauthorised access and cause any damage. We are always looking at ways to increase our work in the community so this will kill two birds with one stone.

Meeting with the Leader of Halton Borough Council

Today I met with the Leader of the Council Mike Wharton to show him the work we have done and outline our plans for the future. He was very impressed and complimentary about how the ground is looking and was very happy with the work we have been doing in the local community.

He also said that the Council will help us in any way they can with our ground redevelopment plans including help with planning and with gaining grants for the work. It was a very positive meeting and hopefully we will be able to work more closely with the council in the future.

Ground improvements

Our Maintenance Team have already made huge improvements to the ground but we are always looking at ways to improve the match day experience for our fans and we also listen to all feedback. The feedback we have received in relation to the relocation of the bar to the old Nest kitchen have been mostly positive, however we are aware that there have been some issues with queuing.

So, our latest improvement has been to move the perimeter fence so the old Juniors door is now inside the ground. The idea being that if you are queuing for the bar, then you queue through that door as it is nearest the bar and then you can exit more easily through the door near the tea bar without the congestion. Hopefully this will improve the flow of the queue for the bar.

Dave Jones

Runcorn Linnets FC - Chairman

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