April 29, 2024

STATEMENT | End of Season Review

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The 1-0 defeat in the Vanarama National League North play off semi final to Brackley Town on Sunday officially ends our 2023-24 campaign. With that said, we would like to make an official statement from the board of Magpies Trust outlining the highlights, and a few lowlights, of the season and then summarising the events we have seen over the last 9 months – Both on and off the field.

Mark Ellis scores our first goal of the campaign v Brackley
© DIA Images

It’s quite coincidental that our season started with a closely contested fixture with the team that ultimately ended our promotion hopes for another year but it seems a lifetime ago since the 1-1 draw with Brackley at Victory Park.

Three draws and a defeat in our opening four games wasn’t the most promising start but then three consecutive victories followed with our winning run ended by eventual champions Tamworth. Jack Hazlehurst scoring for the fourth game in a row wasn’t enough to avoid a defeat on the artificial surface.

We weren’t graced with an FA Cup run this season as we exited the competition away at Curzon Ashton in the qualifying rounds. The third year in a row that we have left the FA Cup at that stage.

Fast forward a couple of weeks to the away game against Rushall where we suffered our heaviest defeat of the season conceding five goals with no reply. Just over three weeks later and our biggest winning margin of the season was witnessed at Victory Park with eight goals scored and a clean sheet.

The following fixture was the start of our Wembley dream as the FA Trophy campaign began with a victory over Scarborough Athletic at Victory Park. The reward for victory was another home tie against North East opposition as Blyth Spartans where the visitors. Progressing to round 4 presented us with the longest away journey of the season as we ended up closer to Paris than we did to Victory Park. Hythe Town which sits on the edge of Romney Marsh was our destination for the first overnighter of the season. The team spirit and camaraderie of this group of players really showed on the journey down, the evening spent with Jamie, Terry, Andy and other members of the backroom staff, and morning spent with the first team. All of which gave vital time to talk about the club, the future and listen to experiences all of had throughout their footballing careers.

Chorley fans made the 578 mile round journey to Kent.
© DIA Images

The win in Kent left us 3 victories away from Wembley with the next obstacle being Solihull Moors at Victory Park – This is where we take a brief step away from football and discuss the off-field matters that took place before the FA Trophy 5th Round tie.

The day after the Gloucester City victory came an announcement that went national as it was published on the official club website that Chorley Football Club was receiving some form of ‘investment’ from Boyzone band members.

The news quickly made its way around the country and even crossed the Irish Sea to the bands homeland as several news outlets wanted to interview supporters to check their thoughts on the 90s music stars getting involved with Chorley FC. Shane Lynch, Keith Duffy and Westlife’s Brian McFadden big unveiling came at the Solihull FA Trophy fixture at the end of that breaking news week.

Despite the media attention, hype around the ground and the town, Solihull showed their class by winning the game 3-1 in front of a crowd of just over 2,000 – Nothing to be ashamed of considering they now find themselves with two consecutive fixtures at the national stadium as they battle it out in the National League promotional final with the FA Trophy final the following week.

Players past & present, fans, friends and management at the #HelpingHannah charity event
© DIA Images

A month prior to the positive news previously mentioned, the Magpie Family was informed of some sad news amongst the playing staff and support poured in from the football family to create #HelpingHannah. The week following the FA Trophy game we hosted Southport at Victory Park and the day was dedicated to “#HelpingHannah” fundraiser. We were honoured and privileged to host the ‘A night at the races’ charity event after the final whistle which turned into a huge success raising a lot of smiles and money for a very worthy cause. The "Helping Hannah" initiative showed our community spirit as a club, raising substantial funds and bringing us together for a cause greater than football.

Over the course of the season we discussed important matters that concerned supporters such as away information, running coaches, ticketing prices for the rearranged Spennymoor fixture and scrapping the match day price increase.

As a trust board we would like to place on record our thank you for the hard work and dedication shown by everyone involved in what we believe has been a successful campaign for the club. Despite the lack of promotion, the ground has seen its first major improvement for many years with the introduction of the MDC Auto’s Fan Zone. The closest to Wembley we have got since the 1995-96 season before defeat to a team on the verge of the football league. Investment from local businesses to increase the financial security of the club. Involvement from high-profiled individuals such as Boyzone. All of the above would not have been possible without the investment of the ownership team.

The effort that goes into running the football side of the club is evident and we are lucky to witness this firsthand on away journeys. Traveling with the first team all season has given a much-welcomed insight into how non-stop it is for Vermo, Preecy and Ando as they assemble a squad capable of challenging for promotion, always looking for that next step of improvement and development. Speaking with Terry and learning about the vast wealth of knowledge and experience he has under his belt at all levels throughout the professional game and how this can be adapted into making Chorley Football Club a success.

Sitting in the boardroom at Victory Park and away from home provides the trust with information that we wouldn’t be able to get otherwise – Some of which I am sure you can understand is confidential, but it helps us develop and adjust our strategies accordingly to make sure we are serving our membership in the best possible way.

Chorley supporters at Brackley Town in the play off semi final.
© DIA Images

To conclude. Whilst the season may not have ended with victory, it ended perhaps where it should have done. A further year of development both on and off the field will see the Magpies fly high and be able to maintain that flight.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to every player, staff member, and especially you, the fans, whose support has been felt every step of the way.

You can #BePartOfIt by joining Magpies Trust TODAY. Register on our online shop and make use of the out of season benefits such as discounted season tickets or payment plans.

We also invite you to join us as a member and attend our upcoming AGM in June - your voice matters in our onward journey.

Thank you

Magpies Trust

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