On the evening of Thursday 23rd March, I went along to the Green Elephant stadium on what was a freezing cold evening. Along with about 35 to 40 hardy souls, mainly parents of the young players – I watched a very entertaining youth team game against Worthing, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
Working the turnstile that evening was Roger Puttick, the club’s groundsman/maintenance man/matchday announcer and probably the man who spend more time at the ground than anyone else. Talking to Roger as I passed through the turnstile was Stuart Tucks dad, who was there to watch his 17 year old grandson Josh, Stuart’s boy playing at centre-half for our U18’s. I needed to watch a game of footy that night. This was just 48 hours after I saw our first team lose 1-0 at home to Harlow, in the cruelest way possible. It was in the 89th minute (roughly), when we hit the bar, then Harlow go up the other end and score! Even after this our centre-half Cheick Toure could have equalised! How do you get over such a defeat? Well, our players, management, volunteers and supporters have become used to picking themselves up, dusting themselves down and preparing for the next game.
So anyway, around half time on that freezing cold evening with the U18’s, I watched as assistant manager Stuart Tuck arrived at the Green Elephants stadium wearing his usual club tracksuit.
He was followed shortly after by Chappers with his BHTFC bobble hat pulled down over his ears! Next, in trooped John Rattle carrying a bag of footballs and finally club scout Pete Miles arrived.
Each of them had come to watch the youth team, having just finished Thursday night training with the first team.
I later learnt from Tucky’s dad that this is usual practice – all of the first team management attend youth games, even if it does mean arriving at halftime having just taken training with the first team!
To a man, the management team seemed as upbeat and enthusiastic as ever. Their belief and confidence in what they are trying to achieve with the club seemingly remains intact.
I managed to grab a quick word with Chappers about ‘that’ Harlow match which had taken place just 2 days earlier, he told me, “It’s gone, it’s in the past, we’ve let it go and we get on with preparing for the next one”.
Witnessing all of these people sticking together for the common cause and remaining steadfast in their belief that we can compete in the Ryman Premier League, reminded me of why I chose to start watching them regularly, over my beloved West Ham.
Burgess Hill Town football club, truly are what ‘The Irons’ used to be – a family club. We watch our team play football and win, lose or draw, we stick together, ‘cos that’s what families do. Sure we’ll fall out sometimes and have the odd ‘barney, ‘cos that’s what families do too!
Let’s not forget how far this club has come recently thanks in no small amount to these same people.
Right now the team needs our collective and undivided support for that final push towards survival in this division. So let’s park any differences, bring your girlfriend, or boyfriend, your kids, your next door neighbour….whoever you like – but get down to the ground and cheer, scream, sing or do whatever you like to help the boys secure a final victory in the vital last game against Merstham.
COME ON YOU HILLIANS!