Club Chairman Pam Duxbury attended the National League Annual General Meeting this weekend in Cardiff.
I spent the last weekend in Cardiff attending the National League AGM and I came away feeling even more positive about the season ahead.
Everybody was so welcoming and was so keen to make an effort to come and welcome Hartlepool United to the National League and to let us know how much they’re looking forward to us being part of it.
And I think that is down to the good reputation that the Club and obviously the fans have within football. I could sense a real genuine affection from everyone for the Club and it was a great opportunity to make some new contacts within the league.
One of the main points stressed to me over the weekend is how important it is for us as a Club not to underestimate the other teams in the league.
I was told on a few occasions that we should not be deceived by the size of some clubs as there are a lot of good footballing teams in this league, which just emphasised a point we were already fully aware of.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on the National League trophy on the night and hopefully not for the last time! Seeing the trophy just emphasised what our target is for the season ahead and our eyes have to be on that prize.
And there has been a lot of really hard work going on behind the scenes since the end of last season to make sure we’re in the best possible position going into the new season.
In Craig Harrison, I feel we have the right man to lead us into what is a big season for the Club. His enthusiasm really is infectious and his organisation is meticulous. He has worked non-stop since joining the Club a little over a fortnight ago.
While I know it can seem as though things have gone quiet at the Club, you can be assured the hard work is continuing – as you saw on Friday with the arrival of four new signings. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Jake, Luke, Jack and Scott to the Club and wish them all the best for the season.
The work is continuing to get everything in place for August 5th so that when that first game kicks off, as much as possible has been done to ensure the season ahead is a successful one.
Announcements Made at AGM:
Play- Offs & Promotion Finals:
Clubs voted to change the existing format of ‘Play Offs’ from four clubs to six, meaning that those clubs finishing 2nd – 7th in each of the three Leagues will contest the end of season play-offs.
The matches will now be decided on a one leg basis as opposed to two legs, with advantage of being at home to those who finish higher in the table.
In basic terms this means the format will be as follows:
Match 1: 4th v 7th
Match 2: 5th v 6th
Match 3: 2nd v Winner of Match 1
Match 4: 3rd v Winner of Match 2
The two winners will then play in their respective Final on the terms for their designated League as current regulations for those Promotion Finals.
Fixtures Release and Season Start:
It was confirmed fixtures for all three leagues will be officially released at 1pm on Wednesday 5th July and the season will start in all three Leagues on Saturday 5thAugust.
Official Learning Provider:
It was revealed that from 1st July a new partnership will come into being, with The National League teaming up with UCFB as the League’s ‘Official Learning Provider’. More information will be separately released jointly on this new venture which will operate for an initial three-year period.
The Board of The National League for 2017/18 was determined at the AGM and the club representatives thereon will be:
Jim Parmenter (Dover Athletic)
Oliver Ash (Maidstone United)
Steve Thompson MBE (Dagenham & Redbridge)
Shahid Azeem (Aldershot Town)
Sid Blain (Barrow AFC)
Mark Blower (Macclesfield Town)
Natalie Atkinson (Curzon Ashton)
Graham Wood (Hampton & Richmond Borough)