As we say goodbye to 2018, and even after our 1-0 defeat against Maidstone United on Saturday, our football club can once again demonstrate a huge year of improvement across the whole spectrum of the club.
As we enter 2019, Chairman Danny Hunter’s New Year’s message to our club, is about realism, unity, togetherness and the understanding that as an underdog club, we cannot ever get too far in front of ourselves.
The Chairman said: “On behalf of myself, my family, my staff, my manager and our dressing room, can I thank every one of our sponsors and supporters for their loyalty, support and good humour. And, to our travelling Wood Army, can I say a big, fat, extra thank you for your incredible away day efforts, not to mention the additional expense that you incur.
“As your proud Club Chairman, who’s now in his 20th season, it’s been in truth a frustrating season to date, but also an incredibly rewarding last 12 months. A year which began, not long after we had beaten a pro club in Blackpool in the FA Cup for the first time in our 70 year history.
“It was a year in which we produced another seven England Colleges internationals and where we once again became the National Champions of England and Wales at National League youth level.
“We also went on and won the Herts Senior Cup and finished in 4th place in the National League. As such, we became the smallest club ever in my opinion in the National League, to make the National League Play-offs.
“We then against the odds went and beat a very good Fylde team at home 2-1, and then just three days later, on that very hot Sunday, with barely 11 fit players, we achieved the near impossible with the most amazing and dramatic 3-2 away day Play-off semi-final win ever – well that’s how it plays out in my mind haha…
“Oh what joy, oh what it was to be your long serving Chairman that day. A town in dreamland, and amongst the most amazing of scenes, I was in tears of joy with my family and friends, sharing a historic victory in my late father’s memory, with my staff, with our dressing room, with my town and with you supporters.
“On that day, 20 years of my own Chairman’s memories flashed through my mind. As I knew we’d given our town, ourselves, and a soon to be 4,000 Wood Army a reason to travel up Wembley Way for a Play-off final, and a real chance of being a Football League club…
“For those of you who were there, you will know we gave it our all, but on the day were not quite good enough – we all shared the pain of a Play-off final defeat against Tranmere Rovers, and we knew we were a whisker away from bringing Football League football to Meadow Park for the first time – it will always be a case of what might have been…
“So for those of you (and there are many) who have shared my failures and successes in the twenty years I’ve been Chairman. Those 2018 memories and never to be forgotten walk up Wembley Way are surely our highlight? You know more than anyone, that we’ve enjoyed an amazing 12 months of cup success, league success, an amazing day at Wembley, and we’ve shown the whole of non-league football, that if a small club in Hertfordshire can do all that, then every small club in England can as well.
“In truth, I’m so sorry that we didn’t quite pull off the dream, and I’m sorry we couldn’t get the job done for me, for my family, for my town, for my community and for you supporters, but we gave it all we had and I hope that one day, we’ll all get another chance to do it all again?
“For those of you who popped down the club to speak with me after we’d lost at Wembley, and those of you who have subsequently sent me messages of support in the weeks and months after that defeat, trust me your words meant something. Your shared memories, your loyalty, your honesty, your kindness, your love of your club, and your continued belief in me… Must now be my reason to carry on, my reason to focus and my inspiration as we enter 2019 to go again.
“At this time of year though… It’s only natural that we should all remember our loved ones and especially those friends and family of ours who are no longer with us. Christmas as we know is both a joyous and sad occasion for obvious reasons.
“So at midnight on New Year’s Eve, wherever I am, I’ll most certainly be raising a glass to you, to my family and friends, to my dressing room, to my loyal staff and to my absent loved ones and friends, who’ve left this world too early…
“But life is also about tomorrow, so together let’s try to make 2019 a year to continue to build our club sensibly both on and off the park. We can with a bit of Lady Luck make 2019 another year to remember in the FA Trophy, while bragging rights are amazingly up for grabs against Barnet, so hopefully I’ll see you all at the Hive (not Underhill) on New Year’s Day.
“Having already beaten Barnet 1-0 on Boxing Day, a league win that was in truth 70 years in the making. And for us to be even playing and winning league games against clubs of the size of Barnet and Orient, with their resources, in derby games, is an incredible achievement in itself…
“So let’s celebrate what we are, and what we have. Let’s celebrate our unity, let’s embrace our friendships, let’s enjoy each other and let’s understand the true meaning of what is now a well-earned underdog tag… As it’s our unity, our hard work, our focus and our love of being that underdog, that is our biggest strength.
“Let’s of course enjoy winning but let’s also respect our opponents, let’s enjoy our detractors and let’s enjoy proving our doubters and snipers wrong, as it makes out performing them, beating them and finishing above them just that much sweeter.
“Finally, it just leaves me to wish you all a very happy and more importantly a very healthy New Year…”
Thank you all once again for your support.