The close season at many a football club is often characterised by a reduced level of activity, as everyone takes a break from the exertions of the previous nine months of matches and staff try to fit in a break from the daily routine.
Players go off to wind down and to recuperate from those niggling injuries which may have hampered their competitive sharpness in the final few games. Management, having issued their released list, start to line up replacements whom they believe can “do a job for us”. Office staff may try to clear up the piles of papers which got shoved to one side in the daily need to keep the schedule on track. Ground staff can get away from the constant need to prepare pitches for 2 matches a week.
Not at Cambridge United, and certainly not in 2015! The phrase “exciting times” hardly seems adequate to describe the range of activity which has been going on at the Abbey over the past two months. If anything, the past few weeks has seen some of the busiest times in the club’s history, almost frenetic at some stages.
Most developments will be covered in more detail elsewhere but, as you might argue that everything that has been done should, ultimately if not immediately, benefit the fans of our club, let me list what has been done:
•We have brought in a raft of new signings, many of whom are players with experience of playing at a level higher than League 2, and some pre-season performances have shown exciting potential for the entertainment value in store, in 2015/16.
•We have ripped up and completely replaced the playing surface with a new pitch and what a good job that looks to be – no excuses for playing lump-it-to the-front-man football, this year!
•We have introduced new home and away strips, which have delighted and disappointed in differing measure. (I leave it to you to continue that debate).
•We have built extensions to the Dublin, the Boardroom and the Endeavour Club spaces and turned them into new, and more useable and marketable rooms.
•We have refurbished the tea bars and the toilets and installed a new shopping "outlet" behind the Main Stand. Chips available in all areas, now, they tell me.
•We have launched the Fans Charter, as a guide to what we think fans should be doing in support of their club, but do not regard it as a stick to beat people with, or as an attempt to prevent fans from expressing an opinion. It is not a set of rules, and we recognise that each individual has the right to choose how they voice their views, so long as the language is tempered and not gratuitously abusive towards anyone. The manager is signed up to it and has promised to watch his language, as well, and we have promised to keep him to it!
•We have seen the development of plans for a refurbished Abbey Stadium, due to be submitted by Grosvenor in September. Planning approval for those would see a real sea change in the facilities which fans could enjoy whilst supporting the team.
•We have given the CFU 'van a clean-up. Come and see us on a matchday and get your programme, your Golden Gamble tickets for the half time draw, Legends Scratch cards, order 100 Years of Coconuts clothing and merchandise, join CFU or renew your membership, sign up to the Play2Win lottery.
Now, then, what have I missed? It looks like interesting times ahead, so here’s to a great season and let’s hope we enjoy the ride!
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