Owners End of Season Message

The season ends as we had all hoped it would when it started - with a fourth consecutive year in League One to look forward to...

That is a great collective achievement and one of which everyone associated with the Club should be very proud of. It has been hard earned and no one could have predicted in August the journey we would have to take to get there. But as with anything, you find out more about your culture, character and togetherness when you are tested.

So to start with some thank-yous. First, to the players. Working with three different head coaches - four if you include Barry - has been a real test of professionalism. There have been some difficult moments but the desire, unity and commitment to the cause has never been in doubt. Obviously, not everyone will be with us next year and we wish those who will be leaving well in the next chapters of their careers. One player which deserves a special mention is of course, Harrison Dunk, who we announced last week will be leaving us after a remarkable 13 years at the Club. We thank him for all he has done and he has our very best wishes for the future.

The football staff have been first class throughout and, critically, have provided real stability during periods of change, whilst Alex and the team at the Cledara Abbey Stadium have done a fantastic job behind the scenes running, growing and developing the Club in every area. Thank you as ever to the Board - in particular for their wise advice and calm leadership. And finally, thank you to all our brilliant volunteers who give so much of their time so selflessly, and of course to you the fans. You have supported the Club in greater numbers home and away than ever, and have always got behind the team in good times and bad. Support makes us all stronger, as you have shown.

It’s been a challenging season but there have been a lot of positives across every area of the Club. On the playing side, it has been great to see Academy talent coming through to the First Team squad and we end the season with a Head Coach in Garry, who everyone has great respect for and who is very culturally aligned with us as a Club. His first job was to keep us up with the group of players he inherited. We now want to push on, continuing to improve in every area, and we believe Garry can really help us with that by evolving and developing the team and our playing style over the months ahead.

The Women’s Team have gone from strength-to-strength with the First Team reaching the FA WNL Plate Final, whilst the Under 18s in their first season have finished second in their league and will appear in the County Cup Final next week. This progress is underpinned by over 600 female junior players participating each week in our pathway, with an exciting future ahead for this area of the Club.

The Training Ground building was completed in November and the area around it should be finished over the summer. At the same time, we want the pitches to match the quality of the facilities, so two of the four have been dug up in recent weeks and we will be resurfacing them both with new irrigation and drainage across over the summer. This is another significant investment but one we see as vitally important to our progression.

We are working with architects on the Stadium plans and have had positive conversations with key partners in recent months. There is a lot of enthusiasm for what we are contemplating and we hope to publish designs with a planning application submitted before the end of the summer. It is great that we are doing this at a time when we have such fantastic stadium sponsors in Cledara, who we were really pleased to welcome to the Club in January.

Given the growing attendances at the Cledara Abbey - which are at their highest for over 30 years - we want to ensure as many home fans as possible can watch the team next season. So, for the 2024/25 season, the South Stand will be a family stand for home fans only, with away supporters to be situated in the South Habbin. We will also continue to improve the matchday experience at the ground however and wherever we can. It’s brilliant to see so many young fans coming to games, so we will be expanding the Under 12 Season Ticket category to Under 14, hopefully encouraging even more young supporters to join us on our journey. Season Tickets will go on sale later today and there will be a modest increase in prices, which we hope fans will understand helps us invest back into the Club.

We have formed some great partnerships this year with some fantastic sponsors - old and new - and are very pleased that the Club is now much more firmly integrated into the wider City. We have strong links with the Council, new partnerships with BrewBoard, Cambridge University and Anglia Ruskin and have a voice in wider conversations about the future of the City, with a real recognition and appreciation of the value and impact of the brilliant work of the Foundation. As we continue to modernise and develop, we will be coming back to you all over the summer with proposals on the Club Crest, which we do want to change for the 2025/26 season and see as an essential part of our progression and growth in a sustainable and sensible manner.

Thank you again for all your support. Enjoy the summer and see you back at the Cledara Abbey Stadium in August - United In Endeavour, as always.

Paul, Mark and Adam.