14 Oct 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 38
The lads put in a dominant performance away at Tadcaster Albion to win 5-1 with goals from Jacques Welsh, Rhain Hellawell, Eden Gumbs and two from Ryan Brooke in the second qualifying of the FA Trophy. As I'm sure you all now know we have drawn FC United of Manchester at home in the third qualifying round which will be played on 30th October (I'll come back to this later).
We then had 535 people watch us beat Newcastle Town at home on a Tuesday night, whilst England were playing on free to air TV. When I joined the board that kind of attendance would usually be expected for a high profile Saturday game.
We now have 117 season ticket holders and are averaging just under 600, I do expect this to level off when we enter the colder months but our original aim was to increase our average season attendance to over 400, so we are well on track to achieving that.
One of the most pleasing aspects of the increase in attendances is the number of youngsters we've had attending our games this season. I've long looked on enviously when I've seen the number of young people attending games at other club's stadiums. The club has been attempting to attract the next generation of fans for a long time now and I'm delighted that we appear to have cracked it, although no one will be resting on their laurels.
There are many factors that have led to this increase but the main factor is the improvement in our relationship with the Junior Section as the support of their Executive Committee has been vital in us attracting and retaining younger fans. We will still be looking to roll out other initiatives to increase attendances and will of course be looking at ground improvements to make sure everyone who attends has the best match day experience possible.
The Ladies played away at Alder FC on Sunday coming away with a 1-1 draw after leading at half time thanks to a Marcia Jones goal. Although we were unable to hold on for the win it was an improvement on the loss in the FA Cup the previous week.
We are away again on Sunday 17th October this time against West Kirby Ladies at Greenbank Road, West Kirby, Wirral, CH48 5HL with the game kicking off at 2pm.
The Ladies are still on the lookout for new players in particular a left back, centre forward and centre back. If you are interested or know of anyone who is interested then please get in touch.
The Development Team had a home game against AFC Knowsley U21s on Sunday and after an excellent 1st half performance eventually ran out 4-3 winners with two goals each from Harry McDonald and Alfie Saunders. It was a very good performance and after a slow start to the season due to COVID postponements and player absences it feels like the season has really started now following back to back wins.
Their next game is away at Macclesfield FC U21s on Sunday 17th October.
FA Trophy game against FC United
When we last played FC United of Manchester in the Trophy the attendance was 962 and as we already know our attendances this season have been a lot higher than usual, I think it would be fair to expect a crowd over 1000.
We had a board meeting on Monday and obviously included the Trophy game on the agenda. We will be increasing match day security simply due to the sheer volume of fans of both clubs we will be expecting. Extra toilets will be in place to relieve any potential congestion in the toilets. We will be providing additional refreshment facilities at the bottom end of the ground including a can bar (providing we can obtain an additional licence from HBC).
We have decided against making the fixture all ticket however advance tickets will be available for all fans to purchase. Fans will still be able to pay on the gate but purchasing a ticket in advance will ensure you can get into the ground easier and will help to ease congestion at the turnstile. As well as having turnstile one open for cash and card payers and turnstile two open for cash payers only, we will be looking into the possibility of having a third entry point for those that have purchased a ticket.
One of the issues we have had at previously well attended games is a large number of fans coming in at the same time, usually from around 15 minutes before kick-off. Opening the cash only turnstile has helped to ease this congestion but for such a big fixture, if as many fans as possible could gain entry earlier that would help to ease congestion and ensure everyone gets in in time for kick off.
Our next event will be a Halloween party in The Clubhouse on Saturday 30th October with the doors opening at 7pm. Fancy dress is very much encouraged, there will be hot food provided, games played, prizes awarded for best costumes and of course our bar will be open until 11pm. Tickets are priced at £5 and I'm sure it will be a fun filled evening for all the family. Tickets will be available from the Club Shop, at the programmes table outside the main turnstile and online at the link below. If you have any questions regarding any of our events, please speak to our Events Manager Grace Mantova.
Runcorn Linnets Events
Thank you all for reading.
Runcorn Linnets FC - Chairman
12 Oct 2021 : A Message of Thanks From the Bettley Family
Our Trust secretary, Dave Bettley and family thank everyone for their kindness, support and messages of sympathy after the recent passing of Dave's mum, Joan.
The family's special thanks go to all at Runcorn Linnets, particularly to Alan Jones and Josh Christian for organising such lovely tributes for Joan and for staging the get together in the clubhouse after the funeral service.
Thank you also to everyone, who donated so generously in memory of Joan, a Linnets supporter and volunteer for 50 years.
Runcorn Linnets FC have received £401.27 and the same amount will be sent this week to RNLI Hoylake.
07 Oct 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 37
Men's FA Cup
Although we were ultimately left disappointed, I was very proud of our overall performance against Gateshead and feel that with a bit more luck we could have gotten a win. It was another fantastic crowd, this time topping 900 and what a noise you all made, it was amazing to see and hear.
We were aware of some post-match comments from the Gateshead manager and whilst I won't give him the satisfaction of responding or mentioning his comments, please rest assured that we made an official complaint to Gateshead and were happy to see the video was subsequently taken down.
There were a few issues after the game with a small number of Gateshead fans and a few of our younger fans which I and other members of the board had to deal with (along with some former board members and the hired security). I spoke to both parties, as well as the Gateshead officials and we were able to get the Gateshead fans minibus away from the Stadium without a major incident.
Whilst I'm happy that we are attracting a lot more younger fans we don't want to gain a reputation as a club that has troublemakers but I do feel that the vast majority of the time they are well behaved. We will monitor the situation like we do most things but overall, the young fans have been a great addition to the club.
Onto the next game and we start our journey in the FA Trophy away at Tadcaster on Saturday 9th October. I absolutely love the FA Trophy and I hope we can go on a good run in this year's competition.
I travelled to Aintree on Sunday and after many diversions I arrived just about in time to watch the Linnets Ladies take on BRNESC Women FC in the Vitality Women's FA Cup. I guess the referee must have had the same issues as me finding the venue and gave up as they never turned up, so we ended up with the bizarre situation of a referee and an assistant on only one side of the pitch. I do feel this had an impact on the game as the referee called some offsides when he wasn't really in the correct position to do so.
We dominated the game but were unable to take our chances and some unfortunate defensive errors led to a 4-2 defeat. A disappointing result for the Ladies but I'm sure they'll bounce back.
Gibbo is still struggling with being short of players but a gritty away performance against St Helens Town U21s led them to a 3-2 win with goals from Jordan Monthe, Joe McGowen and Harry McDonald.
Next up for the Development Team is a home game at the APEC Taxis Stadium against AFC Knowsley U21s on Sunday 10th October at 12pm.
The crowd at Saturday's game was 907 which for us, as I'm sure you'll agree is huge. With more people comes bigger queues and the bar was very busy, for example 578 pints were pulled. There was also an issue with some of the plastic pint pots we use, as they were making the beer froth, once the cause was identified the pint pots were changed over and the issue was resolved.
Whilst I apologise for any delays caused, I have to say that our volunteers in both the Bar and Tea Bar worked so hard and did very well to manage such a large crowd. So thank you very much to all our volunteers on Saturday.
Club Development Plan
The Club Development Plan has been sent out to all Trust Members and I hope it has given you all an insight into our plans for the future of your football club.
If you have any questions in relation to the plan or think you can help in any way, please use the link below to contact me.
Request to Chat
Our next event will be a Halloween party in The Clubhouse on Saturday 30th October with the doors opening at 7pm. Fancy dress is very much encouraged, there will be hot food provided, games played, prizes awarded for best costumes and of course our bar will be open until 11pm. Tickets are priced at £5 and I'm sure it will be a fun filled evening for all the family. Tickets will be available from the Club Shop, at the programmes table outside the main turnstile and online at the link below. If you have any questions regarding any of our events please speak to our Events Manager Grace Mantova.
Runcorn Linnets FC - Chairman
30 Sep 2021 : James Eastup Steps Down
Runcorn Linnets have reluctanctly accepted the resignation of James Eastup from his position on the Trust Board.
James had been finding it increasingly difficult to fulfill the role due to new working and family commitments.
However, the board is happy to report that James will stay actively involved in the club as Trust communications manager.
This is an official continuation of an existing role, liaising with the Trust secretary, Dave Bettley to issue regular updates via member email.
James has supported Runcorn Linnets from day one, our first friendly game at St Helens in 2006, and been actively involved as a volunteer or Trust Board member for the last seven years.
He has carried out many and varied duties during this time.
James was previously responsible for the club's online and graphic design content, creating the popular Subbuteo-style match updates and club branding, including our new-style club crest.
He has also served as assistant club secretary (acting as secretary on the odd occasion) and as club photographer took many fantastic images, most notably of our NWCL title-winning in season of 2017-18.
Club chairman Dave Jones said: "We are sorry to lose James from the board but fully understand his reasons with increased working commitments and a new arrival in the family. We are pleased he will continue to have a vital input as Trust communications manager."
James Eastup said: "I am sad to step down from the Board but due to a lot of big changes in my life the last 12 months, find I no longer have the time to commit fully to the role.
"However, I look forward to helping to keep our Trust members fully informed and up to date of Trust business and club news."
30 Sep 2021 : Linnets mourn 1970s star Tony Murphy
The club has received some distressing news, after the death yesterday of ever-popular former Linnets defender Tony Murphy.
Tony was one of three hometown full backs who served the original club with distinction in the early 1970s.
Both Tony and Tim Rutter were only in their mid to late teens when they first broke into the Northern Premier League side.
It has to be remembered that at this time, the NPL was at the top level of football outside the Football League and yet they were both stellar performers.
Tim switched from left back to right on the playing retirement of Derek Baker, the third of the Runcorn-based full backs, at the end of the 1975-76 NPL title-winning season.
It was at this point that Tony made the left back berth his own.
Then living in Castlefields, he had come through the Linnets' reserve ranks.
Tony subsequently moved on Bangor City when his Runcorn manager, Stan Storton took over at Farrar Road in the late 1970s.
But he later returned to Cheshire, signing for Northwich Victoria with whom he won the FA Trophy in 1983-84.
After a draw at Wembley, Vics won the first ever final replay - defeating Bangor City at the Victoria Ground in Stoke.
Two other ex-Canal Street men, Runcornian Graham Abel and Phil Wilson were in the same Greens squad.
Tony was as enthusiastic on the field as he was off it and would maraud forward on trademark runs from defence.
Runcorn themselves fell victims of his ebullience in November 1980, Murph's spectacular long-range strike knocking the Linnets - bound for another NPL title that same season - out of the FA Cup.
Alliance Premier League outfit Northwich triumphed 2-1in a thrilling Drill Field tie, the 86th-minute 'thunderbolt' in front of a 2,866 crowd offering his former club little or no time to recover.
Tony would briefly return to Canal Street in the mid 1990s to manage Runcorn's Youth team.
That side featured David Ness, another left back who graduated to the first team at a young age.
Nessy has since served Runcorn Linnets as first-team coach.
Tony Murphy's youth side also included the hugely-promising Chris Shuker, who was promptly snapped up by Manchester City and went on to appear 402 times in the English Football League, representing a number of clubs over a 14-year career.
Tony's team had son Andy in goal.
Andy went on to play a few games for the first team as understudy 'keeeper towards the end of the original club's days.
Tony Murphy was a guest of Runcorn Linnets at a game in 2017 when he accompanied, in typical larger than life style, another ex-Linnets and Vics star Eddie Bishop and Northwich legend Kenny Jones.
Kenny had been invited by Linnets to collect a commemorative tankard, which related to his long Vics career and had been found in the Halton Arms pub next door to us (Jones having been a one-time landlord) immediately prior to its demolition.
Tony Murphy was an excellent player and a great, fun-loving character, who never really changed - always having a big smile on his face.
Picture: Tony Murphy, left, with Kenny Jones and Eddie Bishop at the Linnets Stadium in 2017.
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