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16 Dec 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 47

Men's Team

We entertained Glossop North End on Saturday where a disappointing performance in difficult weather conditions resulted in a 1-1 draw. Whilst not the result we would have wanted it was important that we didn't lose. Although the attendance was down on what we have been getting, 445 is still a very good crowd considering the opposition, the weather, and the proximity to Christmas.

We travelled to table toppers Marine on Tuesday and I still have no idea how we didn't go in at half time at least one goal up. We were excellent in the first half and showed that we can play as well as anyone in this division. Marine made us rue our missed chances with three quick fire goals and a late goal from Ryan Brooke wasn't enough to get us back into the game but there were many reasons to be optimistic for future games.

The away support was brilliant and many of the coaching staff and players have commented on how loud you all were.

Pitch Issues

In his post-match interview following the Glossop game Calum mentioned issues with the hybrid pitch at the APEC Taxis Stadium and I just wanted to clear a few things up.

Firstly, the pitch is admittedly not in the best condition but we have this pitch as part of a pilot scheme ran by the Football Foundation and part of that pilot it to see how it can hold up in this part of the country with continued use. The pitch gets used by the men's team, Ladies team, Development team, the ESPFA Academy team, the Juniors and other commercial hirers. It gets so much use as that is part of our agreement with the Football Foundation. I'm not an expert on grass or football pitches but Jeff Jago is and I know he is doing everything he can to keep the pitch in as good condition as possible within the parameters he has to work with.

One of the things Calum said in his interview which seems to have caused a few rumours and questions was that the team was unable to train on the pitch. The men's team have exclusive use of the pitch for training on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7pm. On Tuesday 7th December the pitch was available for use as it always is and in fact, we had cancelled all other training on it. What Calum was referring to was that when he arrived early for training, he didn't feel the pitch was in a condition to be played on and therefore he had to cancel training for the team.

Pete Cartledge and I met with Calum after the Glossop game and had a frank discussion about the pitch and what we could do to improve the situation. We will now put a plan in place to manage the pitch through the difficult winter months.

Postponement of the 2021 AGM

I want to apologise unreservedly to all Trust Members for the late postponement of this year's AGM. A good leader acknowledges and takes responsibility for all their failures and the postponement was 100% my fault.

I have suffered with anxiety and depression for many years now. Most of the time I am able to manage it and go about my daily life fairly normally. Over the last 6 months a number of things have happened in my personal life that have taken a toll on my mental health and the last couple of months I have been suffering with severe anxiety and depression. These illnesses make it difficult to function never mind carry out important tasks and this added to a full time job and the day to day tasks of being a chairman of a non-league football club meant that I was unable to provide our Accountants with the information they require to produce our annual accounts. There are absolutely no issues or concerns with our finances or accounts, I simply haven't done it. Another aspect of mental health issues is that it makes it almost impossible to admit you're struggling and ask for help, so I kept it to myself hoping I could sort it out.

On Monday I spoke to my doctor and was signed off for another two weeks and that meant I would be unable to Chair the AGM as I was unable to work. I finally reached out to my Vice Chairman and friend Pete Cartledge and he did what he has always done and supported me by speaking to Dave Bettley and taking advice from the Football Supporters Association and based on that advise the decision was made to postpone the AGM.

Anyone who knows me, will know that I am a very private person, I keep a lot of things to myself and it has been very difficult for me to share this with you all but I have done so for two reasons. Firstly, I always face up to my mistakes and it's important that although as a Board of Directors we are team and they have all supported me, it is me that takes responsibility. Secondly, lots of people suffer with mental health issues and everyone should be able to speak out without fear of ridicule or people thinking less of them.

I would say to anyone that is struggling mentally to reach out to someone, it really does help to share it and speak about it, no one will think any less of you.

Thank you all for reading.

Dave Jones

Runcorn Linnets FC - Chairman

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