Chairman’s Update #19 – 25 July 2020

Hello and thank you for taking the time to read the latest update from the AFC R&D Board, in which I am pleased to be able to start talking about the new football season.

During the last week, the constitution of the Leagues was confirmed, dates were announced for the potential return of football and all of our teams have been able to resume competitive training subject to some stringent conditions. We have worked hard to put together appropriate risk assessments to ensure that everyone remains safe and we are pleased to report that all our players and coaches across the Club have responded well to the additional tasks requested of them.

Subject to ratification from the FA, we will play the 2020/21 season in the Southern League Premier Division Central and it is anticipated that the season will begin on Saturday, September 19th 2020. We are now working, along with Rushden & Higham Utd, on the documents required of us to demonstrate that Hayden Road fully complies with the Government and FA guidelines. Our risk assessment and action plan will be published on our website ahead of the first scheduled match at Hayden Road.

We are awaiting specific government guidelines for admitting spectators to Hayden Road so when these are published, we will update our risk assessments and plans. It is very likely that there will be some significant changes to our matchday routines. We will do our best to keep you all updated on those changes. Current guidance, however, requires that all pre-season friendly games and training sessions must be played behind closed doors.

Last week, we launched our home kit sponsor raffle offering businesses and individuals an affordable opportunity to nominate a good cause of their choice to be our home kit sponsor for the 2020/2021 season. Individual raffle tickets are priced at only £250 and will be entered into the draw which will be held on 9th, August 2020. Full details, including the individual package benefits and terms and conditions, can be found here. We have already seen a positive start to sales of the raffle tickets from supporters, individually and in small groups on the unofficial forum, and local businesses.  Several business ticket sales have come about because of the efforts of supporters pushing the initiative on the Club’s behalf but we still need more entries for us reach our planned target. Please could ask you to circulate the kit sponsorship raffle details to any of business contacts which you may have, as such word-of-mouth promotion will not only help us to spread the message of the raffle to businesses, but also gives you the chance to tell them about the Club’s community values. It would be great if we could pass the first level of 25 sales over the next week, hence any help you can give to raise awareness would be greatly appreciated.          

One of the few benefits of having a delayed start to the football season is that we have been able to add an extension to the deadline for you to take up the unique opportunity of having your name in both our Home and Away shirts for 2020-2021 seasons. The #GetInTheKit initiative will close on Tuesday, 7th August and with 180 names sold already, our target is now to achieve 200 names. As a result of the delay, shirts may not arrive until early October, however this does also make them an ideal Christmas gift. You can select from the following options here. As a reminder, here are the options you can choose from:

  • Adult Shirt plus Name: £100.
  • Adult Shirt Gift Package: £120.
  • Framed Shirt: £300.
  • Name in the Shirt only: £50.

Under our Membership “900 Club” there is still time for new members to join before 31st August and have a chance to win a framed new-season shirt and lithograph signed by the First Team squad in the free prize draw.  You can however, join or renew your membership at any time. Full details can be found here – www.afcdiamonds.com/membership.

The hard work continues but we are hopeful that we will all be able to be together again soon so, as always, please remain safe and keep up to date with the emerging Covid-19 guidance fromm the Government and Public Health England which can and can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.