Returning from a short break in Portugal last week it was very sad to hear of the death of young James Cook who played for St Mary’s Juniors. I attended the quickly arranged memorial on the playing fields at the College and it was very heartwarming to see the many friends and players, parents and coaches from St Mary’s line up to give a minute’s applause for James. There were lots of flowers laid along with the shirt James played in when he represented St Mary’s. On behalf of the Club I would like to offer our condolences to James’ mam and dad, Ian and Louise, his sister Rebecca and Trevor and Kathleen his grandparents, and all his family and friends.
Over the month of May we hosted many games at Heritage Park ranging from our Ladies team to schools’ games to charity games. Then we hosted the annual Wannasee Festival which involved a stage being installed on the pitch and mobile catering units gaining access along with thousands of people sitting, standing and dancing on the pitch! So now the pitch is having it’s annual recovery and treatment programme to get it in prime condition for the first pre-season friendly (Middlesbrough Under 23’s) in July and the new season which kick’s off in August.
The work carried out in the dressing rooms is now complete and many thanks to the workmen from Vest Construction for their skills to carry out the task. We have had new toilets fitted and additional showers. We have also created a new access point to the storage area under the main stand and laid a new floor to extend the storage area.
We are not increasing admission prices to League games next season and so season tickets are now on sale. You can purchase season tickets online at our Club Shop on the website or you can send a cheque with your details to us at Heritage Park. You will probably have seen by now that the FA has decided that only 21 teams will play in the First Division next season and so the savings of buying a season ticket have reduced as there will be one less League game. To compensate for this we will allow season ticket holders free admission at a designated League Cup or Durham FA Cup game next season.
One new offer for season ticket holders is for an additional payment you can secure a reserved parking space and a reserved seat in the main stand! See the details in our Club Shop section on the website.
We have been waiting for a while now to find out what is happening with the proposed re-structure to the National League system and there are rumours that the FA will impose mandatory promotion of the Northern League Champions from next season. As the only Northern League Club (apart from South Shields this season) to have shown any ambition to play at a higher level it will be interesting the see the reaction from Clubs in the Northern League. I have been told that this may be announced at the National League AGM in July.
We have announced our partnership with Motif8 to supply our new strips for next season which we will wear at all games, home and away unless their is a colour clash at our away games when we will wear our ‘yellow’ change strip. The strip is different this year whilst still representing the light and dark blue colours of the Club. We expect to launch the strip in early July.
You will have seen on the website that we are looking for volunteers next season to help us on match days. We are grateful for the response so far but if you are interested and can commit to home games then we are still keen to hear from you. I have spent the last couple of seasons producing the match day programme but time wont allow me to do it next season so I am keen to hear from anyone who might want to take up this job! We plan to hold a volunteers induction day at Heritage Park in early July.
We will be creating a new brick wall where people can purchase bricks either for themselves or in memory of friends and loved ones. We are just confirming the actual site of the wall and details will be published very soon.
For Shareholders, can I ask you to note that the Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday 13th July at 7pm at Heritage Park.
Thanks, once again, to everyone who participates in the 500 Club which is organised by our Supporters Club. The income to the Club is most appreciated.