Our long-awaited return to Basingstoke came to fruition last week after what was, and almost needless to say, a frantic and busy couple of weeks leading up to it.
It was great to see so many Basingstoke fans both old and new come out to support the club – to have two back-to-back sell-out crowds just goes to show that the appetite for Basingstoke is alive, well and as hungry as it’s ever been and will only continue to get stronger now we can immerse ourselves into the community.
We’ve been working incredibly hard to make the match day experience as positive for everyone and we’d like to thank everyone for their patience and cooperation as we find our feet at the new facility.
A special thank you to all our hard-working volunteers who have really pulled together to make game days the event it should be. From Nick Wilson’s fabulous commentary, to Tim Marr providing the music before the game and our new match-day Tannoy announcer, Josh – and everyone in between!
It’s also been great to see so many academy players (and some willing parents) help out on match days. It brings with it a real community feel and welcoming environment.
Obviously, as the whole world is, we are still learning as we go with regards to the ever changing and evolving guidelines set out by the FA and government with regards to COVID-19 regulations. Needless to say – the complications that come alongside it are quite complex but we’d like to thank all our supporters for continuing to follow the guidelines.
As you’ll have seen via our social media and website, we’ve had a number of local businesses that have come into support the club – from matchday sponsorship to kit sponsors. It’s great to see the local business community supporting the club and we’ve no doubt that more will come forward over the coming weeks. The financial side of that is hugely significant – that alongside the ever-present support from our loyal supporters will hopefully see us soldier through what will be regarded as one of the most difficult periods for non-league football with the restrictions in place.
We’re proud to once again welcome back our voluntary stewards Neil and James who continue to do such an incredible job. Sadly, there were a number of incidents last year that made their jobs not only difficult, but unenjoyable. To help alleviate that pressure, we were offered the assistance of DGCS who you will have seen helping steward on matchdays. It allows us to concentrate our efforts and attention on the fan experience, being great hosts and it will also give confidence that you can watch football in a safe and positive environment.
On Tuesday we had the pleasure of introducing Lilly-Ann to the crowd. Lilly-Anne who plays in our junior team has recently signed a contract with Southampton FC. It was great to see so many of the players and supporters congratulate her – once again demonstrating a real positive hub that Winklebury will be.
We’d like to once again thank everyone for their support in our return back to Basingstoke and a huge thank you to everyone who has donated their time to help make it the great positive experience everyone wants it to be. Whilst it may appear a thankless task at times, we can assure you everyone appreciates the efforts you go to and it makes a huge difference to our club.