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31 Dec 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 49

Men's Team

We entertained Prescot Cables at the APEC Taxis Stadium on Monday for our festive derby fixture. Unfortunately, I had to listen on Linnets Live as I was unwell with Covid symptoms but thankfully three tests have come up negative.

It wasn't the best of games by all accounts but considering the number of players we were missing, which was highlighted by us only being able to name three subs and two of those being a player just back from injury and a player signed that morning, getting a result was all that mattered. The lads battled to a 2-1 win courtesy of an own goal and a second half goal from James Steele. It was another great attendance to finish the year off and a great atmosphere from what I could hear. The atmosphere is something the management team and players have all commented about.

Queues

I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any delays in gaining entry to the ground on Monday, there was an issue with opening the second turnstile and it was a higher than average attendance.

There were also issues with Covid isolations hitting our volunteers (myself included), which adding in the increased attendances resulted in there being excessive queues for both the bar and the tea bar. I would like to thank our fans for their patience and also thank our volunteers for working flat out to clear the queues.

I would say that crowds of around 900 are just about our limit with our permanent infrastructure when we have a full complement of volunteers and with volunteers missing, we are always going to struggle. That is something we are going to look at improving for the future, as it looks like these kinds of attendances could become the norm.

Thank you to Ste Lomax and Karen Chaney for helping to reduce the queue by letting fans in through the main entrance, this helped us get everyone in the ground by 3.10.

2021

What a year it has been for the Linnets, a year in which we didn't play our first game of football until 3rd July. I became Chairman at the start of January and then we took advantage of the extended break by making sure the club was in the best shape possible by the time we were able to host football matches again. Thanks to our amazing Maintenance Team, we completely transformed the ground and turned it into a welcoming place people will want to return to.

We honoured all 2020/21 season tickets for 2021/22 and launched our Footy for a Fiver initiative with adult season tickets priced at 95 and this resulted in us having 118 season ticket holders. Our league campaign started with over 700 fans attending for the visit of Halton rivals Widnes and the crowds have stayed high since, with our average being over 600.

We have broken our attendance record when 1078 attended the FC United game and our Ladies got in on the act when 282 fans watched them win their first ever Women's FA Cup match which was the highest attendance in the 1st Qualifying Round in the entire country. Not only have we increased our attendances but we've also managed to attract younger fans to the Linnets, something which we have been trying to do for years and it is great to see so many young people enjoying watching the Linnets and making so much noise.

Commercially we have signed two massive new deals which saw Complete Security Systems become our new front of shirt sponsor and APEC Taxis become our new stadium sponsor.

Ground improvements have also included moving the bar into the old Juniors kitchen, which allowed us to improve the seating in the clubhouse, improved signage, and additional cover down the bottom end.

There is plenty more to come in 2022, so I will end 2021 by saying a massive thank you to all our volunteers, fans, players, and management team for making 2021 such a good year for the Linnets.

Thank you all for reading and I'll see you all next year.

Dave Jones

Runcorn Linnets FC - Chairman

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