I’d like to start by welcoming you all to the 2021/22 season and say it’s going to be great to have you all back in the Stadium once again for our opening home fixture, and hopefully for the whole of the season, albeit I say this with a cautionary voice! Having welcomed so many of you back for the Notts County match in May, I know how your support made so much difference to the team on that day and really pushed them on to victory. Ultimately, this ensured the football club enjoyed a successful finish to a season.
I’m sure, like me, you were all disappointed that our season didn’t get underway as planned on 21st August, for reasons beyond our control. Despite our best efforts, it wasn’t possible to bring forward any fixtures, so it was a case of watching other results for us on the day.
Slightly later than expected, we now begin a new season, and I hope it can be a season that can resemble some normality and allow us all to enjoy it. I do say this with an element of caution, as the Pandemic has not left us, and I am sure that we will continue to be challenged. This means we will carry on having to act in an agile manner across all areas of the football club.
The close season has seen some encouraging signs on the football pitch, and I know Andy and his team are all looking forward to the season getting underway. Collectively, the manager and coaches have put together a squad of players, whilst operating within the budget of the business. I am sure, like me, you wish them well and are hopeful for some good results ahead of us.
Off the field, during the close season, we have undergone some changes around the ground, as you can see, and let me summarise these for you.
Perhaps the most clear of these are the brand new floodlights, which you can’t miss! These are a significant upgrade on the previous ones, and not only this, but are future-proof, as they meet and exceed EFL requirements. They also reduce the visual obstruction for supporters in the terraces, due to being positioned in the corners of the ground.
We have also begun the installation of electronic turnstiles, which are located near the entrance to the Glyn Beverly Stand. The existing turnstiles in the North East part of the ground will also be replaced soon. Again, this move has been made as we look to meet EFL requirements and ensure things are in place in good time. Ticket holders will soon be able to scan themselves in, and there is also a manually operated gate for wheelchair users and others not able to access the electronic turnstiles.
Significant upgrades have also taken place in the John Fiorini Stand, which many of you will have noticed during your visits to pre-season matches. We have increased the amount of seats in the stand and made better use of the space. Press facilities have been upgraded, again to EFL standard, as well as further entry and exit points from the Venue Bar.
The First Team environment has also been upgraded, with the entire tunnel and dressing room area (home and away) undergoing some serious work. Players now have a vastly improved dressing room area, with further Match Officials’ and Coaches’ facilities added in.
With regard to the major works within the Glyn Beverly Stand, these continue to take place, and will do so for most of this year as we look to improve our offering across all aspects of the football club. Our Academy Classrooms will shortly be completed, ready for the start of a new term. This will provide a state of the art learning environment for our Scholars, giving them the best chance of achieving something on and off the pitch. We have aimed to create a space which will inspire our learners to succeed, and we look forward to welcoming them back very soon.
On top of the classroom and learning space, the building will include changing facilities for the Academy, as well as for our Girls’ and Women’s teams, and also daily training facilities for the first team including a gym, stretch studio, ice baths, a sports science suite, and of course a canteen with the correct types of food! Furthermore, there will be office space for all of our staff, a new reception, and a new food and beverage facility for supporters, which will be open on a matchday and available for hire at other times. As a Community Club, the build will also be the home for our new Charity, the Bromley FC Community Sports Trust, which will enable us to support as much of our Community as possible and further our impact.
I’d like to finish by thanking you for your support in what has been a difficult year, as we look ahead to a season with our supporters with us all the way.
Enjoy the season ahead!