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30 Sep 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 36

Men's Team

We welcomed back some familiar faces to the APEC on Tuesday, when City of Liverpool were our guests and it turned out to be a cracking game. The Linnets took a 2 nil lead following a Jacques Welsh penalty and a header from Ryan Brooke before Freddie Potter (who else!) got a goal back before half time to send us into the break leading 2-1. City of Liverpool got off to a very bright start in the 2nd half and we quickly found ourselves 3-2 behind following goals from Ryan Gibson (another familiar name) and Djavan Pedro. Then on 67 minutes Iwan Murray's marauding run was crudely brought to a halt by the City of Liverpool number 5. After picking himself up, Iwan exacted the ultimate revenge by perfectly placing the ball in the top corner to make it 3-3.

After being 2-0 up at home you will always be disappointed not to win the game but we showed great character to find an equaliser and I felt we were the only team likely to find the winner.

Onto Saturday against Gateshead in the cup and what a game it promises to be, based on the press requests we've received it seems there's a lot of outside interest in the game and I cannot wait for it.

Linnets Ladies

The Ladies played Wythenshawe AFC Women on Sunday and after an eventful game they came away with a 2-2 draw with goals from Chelsea Gillies and Lile Ashley.

The Ladies are on their own FA Cup journey and they take their next step of the journey on Sunday 3rd October away against BRNESC Women FC at Melling Road, Liverpool, L9 0LQ. Hopefully the Ladies can get through and then get a home draw in the next round.

Development Team

The Development Team continued their difficult start to the season losing 4-1 at home to St Michaels DHFC with a lot of players missing, hopefully Gibbo will be able to field a consistent team soon and start picking up some results. Although, as I told Gibbo when I offered him the job, it isn't about results, it's about developing Linnets Juniors players into 1st team players.

Their next game is away against St Helens Town U21 on 3rd October.

Tea Bar We are aware of the issues with queuing at the Tea Bar, Grace and the staff in the Tea Bar are working flat out to get everyone served in a timely manner, unfortunately we are dealing with crowds almost double what they used to be and this means that it takes time to serve everyone.

We will trial opening the internal hatch into the Clubhouse for drinks and confectionary only but we will have to keep an eye on how it works because we don't want to create congestion inside the Clubhouse, especially considering we have moved the bar queue for similar reasons. The layout of the Clubhouse is not the best to work with and the reason I was reluctant to reopen the internal hatch as the queue used to block the door out to the pitch but we will endeavour to implement a workable solution.

Events

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.

Dave Jones

Runcorn Linnets FC - Chairman

23 Sep 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 35

Men's Team

There's only one place I could start this week's update and that's with the great win in the FA Cup against Bamber Bridge. I felt we dominated the game from start to finish and were deserved winners. It was great to see our heads didn't drop after the Bamber Bridge equaliser as we almost immediately retook the lead after great work down the right from Dapo forced an own goal. That was after a great headed goal to open the scoring from Carl Spellman.

I think the highlight of the game was the crowd's reaction to local lad Eden Gumbs scoring to make the game 3-1. The noise that greeted the players as they left the pitch gave me goosebumps and I can't wait to hear more of it as the season progresses. It was also great to see Alex Downes on the pitch before the game after his horrific injury in the previous round against Liversedge.

As I'm sure you all know by now, we have been drawn at home in the 3rd qualifying round, this time against Gateshead. This is huge game for us and with the crowds we've been getting this season, home advantage should be massive for us. Gateshead were the last away team at Canal Street so it's sure to be a nostalgic day for those of us over 30.

Linnets Ladies

The Ladies played Altrincham at the APEC Taxis Stadium on Sunday and put in a great performance to win 6-3 and pick up their first 3 points of the new league season. With that result and following the FA Cup win I really feel like Toddy is starting to get the best out of his players and I think we will go from strength to strength.

We are away for all our October games and don't play at the APEC Taxis Stadium again until 7th November when we face Chester.

Development Team

Gibbo's team played a very talented Macclesfield U21 team on Saturday and put on a very good display before eventually succumbing to a 3-1 defeat. The lads were in the game for the full 90 minutes, only conceding the 3rd after going all out for an equaliser, they also hit the twice along the way.

It's been a difficult start to the season for Gibbo and his players, with late recruitment, having players missing for various reasons and having games postponed due to COVID but there were really good signs on Sunday that he has put together a really talented group.

We are at home again at the APEC Taxis Stadium on Sunday 26th against St Michael's U21s with a 12pm kick off. It would be great to see you all down there to support the young Linnets.

Events

We hosted our first fundraising event on Saturday after our win against Bamber Bridge when we hosted a Race Night and it was a great success. It was good to see so many fans return after the game and that the players stayed after the game. A massive thank you to Martin Holding for hosting the event, our Commercial Team for arranging it, Club President Alan Jones for managing the bar and all our race sponsors and horse owners/jockeys.

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.

Dave Jones

Runcorn Linnets FC - Chairman

23 Sep 2021 : Funeral of Joan Bettley

The funeral of Joan Bettley will take place on Friday, October 1st. Joan died last week, aged 90, having been a Linnets supporter and volunteer for half a century.

The service, in celebration ofJoan's life, is at 9.40am in the chapel at Walton Lea Crematorium, Chester Road, Higher Walton, Warrington, Cheshire WA4 6TB.

No flowers please but any donations received will be divided between Hoylake RNLI and Runcorn Linnets Football Club.

Dave and family are asking anyone attending not to wear black as Joan would not have wanted this. All other colours will be fine!

After the service, there will be a get together in Joan's memory from 11.15am in the Linnets clubhouse at APEC Taxis Stadium, Stockham Lane, Murdishaw, Runcorn, WA7 6GJ.

18 Sep 2021 : In Memory of Joan Bettley

Everyone associated with Runcorn Linnets FC is deeply saddened to have received the news on Friday that one of our most beloved and staunch supporters, Joan Bettley, has passed away, age 90, following a short illness.  

Joan, and the rest of the Bettley family, have been closely involved in Runcorn AFC and latterly Linnets for over 70 years. Those supporters who frequented the old Runcorn Travel Club will remember Joan, and her late husband Wilf, as the organisers of our coach journeys watching the team all over the country, picking up the role in the 1970's when manager Stan Storton started to forbid supporters travelling on the same coach as the players. The travel club was a treasured part of the old club, and Joan ran it to perfection. And in times that were much more difficult to organise things than today. There was no email, no card payments, no txt messages or whatsapp groups, it was all done with a notebook (that never seemed to be out of her hands!) a landline telephone number, a chequebook and a huge amount of dedication! 

In the clubs golden days at the top of the Alliance Premier League, Vauxhall Conference (both now known as the National League), big FA Cup & Trophy games and of course, our 3 visits to Wembley, there would be multiple coaches all leaving the old Linnets Social club at Canal Street and returning in the middle of the night! It really was no mean feat, but only ever done with a welcoming smile and total reliability. And my, it was great company to be in regardless of what had happened on the pitch! People still talk fondly to this day about Wilf's legendary games of Bingo on the travel club bus! 

It was during this time that Joan struck up a friendship, that would last the rest of her life, with Joyce Carter, mother of one of our greatest ever players Mark (Spike) Carter. Everyone reading this who has watched the club in our Linnets days will have passed and likely recognise Joan and Joyce, always sat roughly in the middle of the stand together. Despite her travel club days coming to an end with the formation of Runcorn Linnets, Joans unwavering support for the club remained just as strong. A trust member, season ticket holder, always took part in the raffle, golden goal and more recently even our more obscure fundraisers such as the Covid Virtual Matches when the 2019/20 season was curtailed early. 

And of course, another of Joans legacy's is her son Dave, our Trust Secretary. Equally as well known and popular around the club as his Mum and Dad, Dave is another who's support has always been well beyond the terraces. For many years Dave was the sports reporter for the Runcorn Weekly News, ensuring that the club always took prime spot on the back page of the paper and was reported on in forensic detail. Still a season ticket holder at Runcorn Linnets himself, Daves other roles over the years include program editor, program columnist, media officer, website administrator, turnstile operator, cleaning crew member and many more. The club would not be where it is today without Dave's involvement since day one.

The Bettley family have always embodied everything great about Runcorn AFC & everything that we love about Runcorn Linnets. From the formation of the new club in 2006 they have always understood the true meaning of what being a fans run club is. 

Joan will be greatly missed by everyone involved with the club, her warmth and smile have touched so many people over decades of loyal support and volunteering work. Runcorn Linnets has lost one of its very special people, a true lifelong supporter through the good times and the darkest times, and she will never be forgotten. 

All of our thoughts are with her son Dave, the rest of Joans family and all of her friends at this difficult time. 

R.I.P. Joan Bettley.

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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