Chesham United History Chesham United go into the new season looking to build on the progress made last season in the th Southern League Midlands Division. In 2007/08 United finished 6 and missed out on the playth offs by goal difference, and then last season, having finished 5 , they stumbled at the semi-final stage of the play-offs losing out to two late goals at Nuneaton Town having led 1-0 for much of the game. With good away FA Cup and Trophy wins against teams from higher divisions, including Corby, Weston-super-Mare and Maidenhead United, the 2008/09 season holds good memories for Chesham United. The story of Chesham United has many highs and many lows. It was formed in 1917 following the merger of Chesham Town FC, founder members of the Southern League in 1894 when still known as just Chesham FC, and Chesham Generals. Relative success in the following years paled into insignificance following the FA Amateur Cup run of 1967/68 when, against all the odds, little Chesham United went all the way from the Preliminary Round to the final of the FA Amateur Cup, finally losing 1-0 to Leytonstone in front of a 54,000 Wembley crowd. The club went into turmoil on May 3rd 1983 when the main stand burned down. A new stand was officially opened with the visit of a Graham Taylor Watford side containing former United manager Luther Blissett in 1984. Season 1987/8 marked the centenary year of non-league football in the town of Chesham, an achievement commemorated with a match against a full strength Arsenal side on 18th August 1987. In January 1991, promotion and the Division One title were secured. In its inaugural season, the Loctite Final was reached but the match was lost to Bishops Stortford on penalties. In October 1992, the Club went to the very top of the Isthmian league after a famous win at Enfield, where they remained until the end of the season, being crowned Champions on the last day of the season following a 4-0 win over Dulwich Hamlet. Witnessed by an average home gate of just short of 1,000, the season also saw the arrival of ex-Liverpool star Mark Lawrenson. Promotion to the National Conference depended on ground improvements that could not be afforded. So, the season ended in disappointment after so much hard work. Since those days the club has been through many managers, including ex-England Internationals Graham Roberts and Luther Blissett, and literally hundreds of players, including a stint with Bruce Grobelaar between the sticks. In the early 2000s the club again had an eye on promotion to the Conference as Bob Dowie led a strong Chesham side to 6th in the Ryman Premier, possibly an under achievement when considering the resources at his disposable. The team that year included Wayne Andrews and Fitz Hall, both players having progressed to enjoy professional careers in the higher echelons of football . Two years later and the club were once again relegated back to Division One. With re-structuring on the horizon, the following season was all about finishing in the top six to gain promotion, avoid relegation, depending on which way you look at it. After a fairly disastrous start, the ever improving side climbed up the table to eventually take 4th spot in the Ryman Division One (North) and earn a place in the Southern League Premier Division. United’s first year in the Southern League was certainly adventurous. At times they looked title contenders, then they flirted with relegation and in the end were happy to finish in mid-table. The following summer the true price of years of over-achieving came to light. Nearly two decades of wealthy Chairmen helping to fund the club was over and it was time for The Generals to stand on their own feet, a task that proved too much. By February 2006 the club was truly on its knees. The front pages of local papers were highlighting the sorry plight of the club that had seen so much. A public meeting was called at the Town Hall to “Save Chesham United” – it was a last desperate throw of the dice … Fortunately the sorry tale has a happy ending. A local businessman read the stories, visited The Meadow, showed an interest and helped get the club back on its feet. Financially, the club is still far from out of the woods but the ship has been steadied, there is a new crew on board and all involved are keen to move forwards, based on prudent financial controls. Season 2009/10 is about building on the previous seasons developments, with Manager Andy Leese starting his third season in charge the club are looking to benefit from the unique experience of having a relatively settled squad. 2009 / 2010 Chesham United profiles Andy Leese (Manager): A UEFA B Licenced coach, working towards his A Licence. He joined the club from Potters Bar Town FC in the summer of 2007. During his time at Potters Bar Town he helped them reach the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, having saved the team from relegation the year before. They also collected the SSML Floodlit Trophy and the Hertfordshire Charity Cup in his short spell at the helm. Started his Management career at Somersett Ambury FC in the SSML. in 2000, then left to join Cheshunt in 2002 and managed them to the Ryman Division 2 Championship in 2003.That was followed by promotion to the Ryman Premier League the next season. Led them to 4 Cup Finals in 2 seasons. Also had brief spells at Boreham Wood and Wealdstone FC. Unfortunately in Season 2007/8 Chesham failed to make the Play-Offs on goal difference, after a slow start, despite a fine late run. Guided them to the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup defeating Wycombe Wanderers 3-0 in the Final. Last season he took Chesham to a th 5 place league finish before narrowly losing out to Nuneaton Town in the play offs. Jon Meakes (Assistant Manager): Has worked with Andy since 2002 when they joined Cheshunt FC. Jon had previously managed Potters Bar Town, and assisted at Hertford Town. A Centre half in his playing career, he played for Northwood, Hertford Town, Dunstable and Potters Bar Town. Steve Hurd (GK Coach): Moved across with Andy and Jon from Potters Bar and is an important part of the Management team. Schoolboy Goalkeeper with Tottenham Hotspur and thereafter at Senior level with Hemel Hempsted and Barton Rovers. Richard Hayward: 29 year old goalkeeper, returned to the club in 2009, after spells at Ware and Waltham Abbey, who he helped get promotion to the Ryman Premier League. Michael Underwood: Goalkeeper. 19 year old Goalkeeper who impressed Season 2007/8 playing for Berkhamsted and featured regularly in the first time last season after joining in preseason. Considered to be a great prospect and Management consider that he can develop into a top keeper. Bobby Smith: Goalkeeper. Highly rated 20 year old Goalkeeper signed for 2008/9 Season from Cheshunt. Voted their Supporters " Player of Season " 2007/8 despite missing much of the year through injury and who also spent much of last season undergoing treatment. Previously with Stevenage Borough and a fine prospect. John Kyriacou: Midfield. Aged 21 former Tottenham trainee who had spells at Brentford and in Cyprus before signing for Chesham during 2008/09. Excellent work rate and all round skills in a variety of positions. Nick Leach: Defence. Age 27 and 6ft 1. Solid experienced Central Defender joined mid-Season 2008/9 from Aylesbury United where he was Club Captain and played 98 games. Previous experience with Beaconsfield, Yeading, Dulwich and Hemel Hempstead. His brother, Marc Leach, is currently playing for Hendon in the Ryman Premier League. Sam Ledger: 28 year old fireman. Strong Defender previously with Potters Bar. Former Clubs include Cheshunt and Boreham Wood. Has also been pressed into service and proved a very adequate as an emergency Goalkeeper. Likes to move forward at set pieces and a threat in the opposition penalty area. Andy Keepence: 32 year old former Cheshunt and Bishops Stortford defender who started his career at Stevenage Borough. He is a solid defender, a leader, and has experience of winning leagues at this level. Other previous clubs include Ware, Hertford Town and Arlesey Town. Ollie Adedeji: Vastly experienced, reliable 39 year old, who has played for Aldershot, Canvey Island, Billericay and Braintree, winning many promotions. Mark Lambert: 23 year old who returned to the club in 2009, having left to play for Oxford City in December 2008. Can play comfortably at the back or in midfield, a real favourite of supporters at The Meadow. Danny Talbot: Midfield. 24 years old, signed from Potters Bar Town in the summer of 2007 having previously played in the Football League for Rushden & Diamonds, winning a League 2 Championship medal in his time there. Excellent from set-pieces and a cultured left foot. Dave Fotheringham: Midfield. Aged 24. Returned to the club in the summer of 2007 having spent time at the club in the Youth set-up, prior to making his First XI debut in August 2002. Played for Hemel Hempstead and Maidenhead after he left Chesham. Inexhaustible work rate and most appearances (200) in the present squad. Michael Bardle: Joined in summer 2009, a 21 year old left sided player, formerly with Watford. Played for Ware and Harlow, and looks to be an exciting prospect. Josh Cooper: Midfield. 21 year old Midfield dynamo signed pre-season 2008/9 from Cheshunt following a short spell with Wealdstone. As a teenager spent 3 years with Tottenham Hotspur under the Youth Training Scheme. Dave Hicks: 23, midfield player signed from Wealdstone in 2009 having played for Cheshunt and Hitchin. Former professional at Tottenham and Northampton. Steve Wales: 26, exciting attacking midfield player who can play wide, signed from Hemel Hempstead in 2009 having previously played for Cheshunt, Borehamwood, AFC Wimbledon and Yeading. Represented England and the FA at Semi professional level. Steve Obeng: Aged 31 and signed Pre-Season 2008/9 from Cheshunt where he was Club Captain and played over 300 games since 1998. Previously had played for Edgeware and Kingsbury. A Midfield player of power and strength with 40+ career goals in support of the front men. Kevin Cotton: Midfield. Joined the club in 2006 from Beaconsfield SYCOB, where he gave 11 years service. Kevin was often found playing as full-back during the 2006/07 season, and has enjoyed a Midfield position more recently. A very direct and wholehearted player appreciated by his team mates and fans alike. Lewis Laws: signed from Haringey Borough in 2009. Can play at the back or in midfield. Another strong, mobile exciting player who will develop at this level. Danny Gudgeon: 22, Signed from Harlow in 2009, having played for Ware, and also under Andy at Cheshunt. Solid perfomer either at the back or in midfield. Joe Gallagher: 18, promising midfield player, who recently completed a course at Queens school in Watford.Was recommended to Andy Leese by a former player of his, Dave Reddington. Darrell Cox: Forward. Well respected Striker, age 32, signed from Cheshunt pre-season 2008/9, having scored a total of 141 goals for them in two spells. Previously on the score-sheet for Yeading, Wealdstone and Boreham Wood. Has been a member of the Grenadian International Squad in World Cup Qualifiers. Danny Burnell: Forward. Played for us in the latter part of 2005-2006 season before leaving for short spells with Maidenhead and Beaconsfield SYCOB, returned to the club at the beginning of the 2006-07 season. Joint winner of the Midland Division "Golden Boot" Award Season 2007/08 with 27 goals. Always a lively handful for any defence and once again the club’s leading scorer in 2008/09 with 36 league and cup goals. Leon Archer: Forward, 29, Played under Andy at Cheshunt and Borehamwood, before moving onto St Albans and Braintree in then Conference. Quick and a consistent goalscorer at all levels. Dom Marsala: Midfield. 22 year old who joined in the summer from SSML team, Stony Stratford Town. Came on trial after being recommended to Andy Leese, and looks to have a great future at this level. Exciting player who made his Chesham debut in August 2007. Often played wide to advantage on either flank. Adam Parker: Midfield. Now 34started his career at Hatfield Town and then joined Stevenage Borough. Moved to Hitchin where he scored 99 goals from midfield as club captain. Transferred for £10000 to Aldershot Town in September 2001 only to rejoin Hitchin in March 2003. Moved on to Braintree Town in December 2003 and after a brief spell at St.Albans became a Thurrock player in December 2004. Joined AFC Hornchurch in June 2006 before linking with Chesham United at the beginning of the 2007/8 Season. A very influential midfield player with a high work rate and good touch when required. Also taking a role within the coaching set up at the club this season. Liam Farrell: 18, quick forward signed in 2008 having played under Andy before at Potters Bar Town. Started to make an impact in the 1st team with a wonder goal against Barton Rovers. Chris Bangura: 32, Experienced forward or midfield player who has played for Aylesbury, Leyton, Kingstonian and Cheshunt. Had an injury blighted season last year at Hendon, and hoping to have a better time this year.