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Friday 25 July 2008
What's happening at Kingsmeadow - feature number 11

It is now two weeks until our first Blue Square South league game.

The main football news of the week was bad news; Lewis Taylor went for a scan on his injured knee last weekend and he is out for the majority of the season with anterior cruciate ligament damage. Lewis is due to see a specialist on Monday and he will be referred for an operation as soon as possible. Meanwhile physiotherapist Mike Rayner has given him some exercises to strengthen his muscles, which ought to speed the recovery period a little.

On the pitch the team won one and drew another game that looked won after 10 minutes. With Salisbury at Kingsmeadow tomorrow they face a stiff task to equal last year’s impressive 0-0 draw at the Raymond McEnhill stadium in the reverse fixture.

Off the pitch, the main focus of activity has been preparing season tickets for collection, starting at tonight’s kit launch. A team of six or seven people worked pretty well non-stop to prepare the books and then insert them, plus other material, in the envelopes. For the first time, we are ready to distribute season tickets at a home game, which should save the club postage costs as well as making delivery more certain. They can also be collected tonight between 6.00 pm and 7.30 pm. Please note that ST holders will be asked to produce proof of identity.

For those of you who are counting, the total sold as at close of business today is 1,434. The day before the season started last year, we had 1,440, so we expect to be well ahead by the time we travel to Newport County on 9 August.

Elsewhere, on the extension to the main stand, for the first time there is something to see above ground with the erection of the girders that will support the concrete tiers to which the seats will be bolted.

The girders being manouevred.

Nearly there.

In place.

Can you see what it is yet?

Late next week the concrete tiers will arrive. They have pre-drilled holes which are designed to drop smoothly onto the upward-pointing prongs on the angled girders. Anyone who has ever assembled flat pack furniture will be holding their breath to see if they actually do fit.

The scaffolding has now been removed all the way along the main stand, except for blocks J and K, which will be out of bounds tomorrow. All the available seats were jet-washed earlier this week by volunteers.

Meanwhile, the back bar has been a hive of activity as the merchandise team have been setting out a display of the new kit, plus some towels and beanies that have just arrived. The room looks great and we are hoping for a good turn out from 6.00 pm tonight to buy the new shirts, which will be worn in tomorrow’s game, as well as attending ‘meet the manager’, which starts at 8.00 pm. The souvenir programme will be on sale tonight as well.

Our thanks to all the volunteers who worked so hard on the season tickets, the jet-washing and the kit launch.

We apologise to those fans who had to queue for last week’s game - we will make it easier to get into the ground tomorrow. While the Kingston Road turnstiles will still be closed, the kiosk in the main entrance will be open again and main stand ticket holders can now enter the ground through the usual door. If necessary we will open another ticket selling desk rather earlier than last week. Incidentally, when the league season starts, we will be able to use the Kingston Road turnstiles, as agreed with the council’s safety officer.

One other thing we got wrong in last week’s double-match programme was the names of the football management team at Salisbury. We inadvertently left in the details from the Hornchurch game at the end of last season. We rang Salisbury to explain and apologise - they were very amused.

The start of the season seems a lot nearer now. Today we signed off our page in the Conference handbook and took our first call from Newport County about arrangements for the game there, in two weeks’ time. As usual, we have also liaised with the Metropolitan police and they are sending two officers to the game, to provide support to the local police. We are also providing Newport with photographs of the small number of our banned fans and they will be excluded if they turn up at the game - as they were at the Staines play off final.

We are close to filling a second coach for the Newport game. Once it is full, we will take names of people who want to travel so that we can order a third coach if demand warrants it. The cost is £10 per person.

Some other bits and pieces of news:

. On Monday night, after the friendly game ‘away’ at Kingstonian, the floodlights will have their biennial test, so don’t be surprised when they stay on after the game.

. We had planned to take the team photo before tomorrow’s game but the players are required to wear the sponsor’s kit and it isn’t here yet, so the photo will now take place before the Bognor game.

Finally, if you want to bring a season ticket application tomorrow, we will be accepting them both before and after the game. We are confident that any applications we receive tomorrow will be fulfilled in good time for our first home game, which is now eighteen days away.

Not long now.