Saturday 8 August
We have switched the weekly club update to a fortnightly bulletin but will continue to use it to keep all supporters up-to-date with the news around the club. And there is a lot of news this week.
First, today was to have been the first Saturday of the new football season with a first league fixture scheduled for 3pm this afternoon …
As it is the league announced this week that the National League season will begin on 3 October. Our first fixture will be an FA Cup tie. Having lost the opening weeks of the season and with a planned extension of the season only until the end of May, there will still be plenty of fixtures to fit into a tight schedule so look out for more midweek games when the fixtures are published.
The announcement of a proposed start to the season allows Kevin to plan the team’s preparation including warm-up matches. Currently four games are planned – two at St James Park and two away. All games must be strictly behind closed doors with no spectators and will follow detailed protocols set out by the league and the Football Association to ensure a Covid-secure environment with player well-being paramount.
The first friendly will be at Banbury United on 5 September followed by a visit to SJP by AFC Rushden and Diamonds on the following Saturday, a further home game against National League South Hemel Hempstead on 19 September and then a trip to Oxford City on 26 September.
Given the continuing uncertainty of circumstances both nationally and locally with the health emergency, all arrangements remain tentative and subject to change but it is good to have a concrete timetable to work with.
All clubs need spectators back in the grounds and it is the hope that this can be the case for us from 3 October. The National League and FA have put the case for the return of spectators to government ministers at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and await a definitive answer with the inevitable caveats. The most likely scenario appears to be a limit on spectator numbers but we await further news on this.
What does seem certain is that matches will be ticket-only so that numbers can be controlled. We have set up an on-line ticketing system which is being trialled and tested so that it will be ready once spectator attendance is confirmed. The app will also permit Track and Trace, an important part of government strategy to get public gatherings up and running.
In line with FA advice we are currently not planning to have season tickets. This is due to the uncertainty around the forthcoming season, its start date and any possible interruption to the season or early curtailment, as well as the likely requirement to restrict attendance.
We will continue to keep you fully updated as further decisions are made and guidance issued.
First team squad
Two of our players feature in the National League North Team of the Season – congratulations to Gaz Dean who is voted into the Team of the Season again and to Lee Ndlovu who more than earned his place for his overall contribution and his goals. This is always a great accolade – congratulations to Gaz and Lee.
The club is excited to announce the signing of two new players this week. Welcome to both. Read more on Twitter and watch interviews with our new signings on our YouTube channel.
We will be adding more content to our YouTube channel this season, including some exclusives, starting later on today! In order to allow us to do more with the channel, we need to reach 1000 subscribers so we need your help.
Please subscribe and ask friends and family to do so too. Here's the link - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKn9E5qprdvAaKqeVJoAQAQ
The re-build of the clubhouse is progressing well and on track with completion ear-marked for the spring. This week has seen another important milestone passed in the completion of the excavation of the foundations with concrete to be poured next week. The next stage is construction of the steel frame which could be finished by the end of the month.
And finally …
While last season’s FA Cup competition ended in the Wembley final last weekend, you may remember some filming carried out at St James Park earlier in the season for the FA Cup Preview Show. This has now been made into part of a longer documentary covering the whole FA Cup campaign last season which is showing on BT Sport this weekend. It’s called Emirates FA Cup: Behind The Dreams and gets its first airings this Saturday at 22:30 and Sunday 19:30 on BT Sport 1.
The good news is that the beginnings of a football season are in sight … !
In the meantime, stay safe, stay well.
Brackley Town FC