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Yeovil Town programme notes: blue day was a success

We’re thrilled with how the blue day went, wrote Murry Toms in our programme notes for our Boxing Day match against Yeovil Town.

We have raised around £2,500 with the online auction of the squad’s match-worn kits to follow so we could reach £4,000 for the British Lung Foundation at a push, which is a staggering effort.

It was a tremendous show of support for Ian and Vicky and everyone played their part in making it happen, and that’s what makes Cheltenham Town such a special place.

Once again the supporters were front and centre, working with the club and – in this case – the charity to produce an idea that caught the eye in the town and beyond.

We’ve seen similar successes with bigger initiatives such as the Crowdfunder, the 12th Man and season ticket campaign, away shirt launch and the open day.

But it’s becoming more evident in smaller ways every day and that’s contributing to burgeoning culture of ‘fan engagement’ at Whaddon Road.

In the lead up to Christmas I travelled with Paul Godfrey to join The Fan Experience Company for a really interesting session at the Etihad Campus in Manchester, part of City’s incredible facility.

Mark Bradley, the chap behind the organisation, put on a fantastic event with speakers from across the industry and challenged us to think long and hard about what we stand for as a club.

There were some inspirational stories of supporter-led projects from across the footballing world on the night and it really got us thinking on the way home.

One thing it wasn’t was a gathering of greedy ‘suits’, hoping to stumble across the silver bullet for bigger attendances or a new way to rinse supporters of their hard-earned cash.

This was a group of proper footballing people who are dedicated to the cause, sharing ideas and know-how to grow the relationship between their club and their supporters.

It rightly dismissed the ’emperor’s new clothes’ tendency to celebrate high numbers of social media followers and demanded more relevant and meaningful conversations online.

And it had nothing to do with driving success on the pitch – winning of course helps but that’s out of our hands so we’ll leave that to the experts and focus on what we can do.

It was all about building a strategy and culture to grow a sustainable future, and Mark’s team focuses on four key areas to achieve success:

  • Building a meaningful identity
  • Creating an authentic supporter dialogue
  • Consistently excellent fan experiences
  • Valued and motivated workforce

I think we’re on the right path but there’s also so much more we can do too. We aim to work into all of these themes in the new year and we want everyone to get involved to have their say.

The board are fully behind what we’re doing but it’s up to us to continue to shape the type of club we want here. We’ve started to prove that by working together we can do that, so I’m looking forward to see where we can take it in 2018.

Actor, writer and broadcaster Tom Watt to host blue shirt auction

This weekend we’re helping to turn Cheltenham Town blue to raise awareness for the work done by the British Lung Foundation.

But we also want to raise a few quid in the process and there are a number of ways that everyone can help the cause.


Firstly there will be a bucket collection in all four corners of the ground at Saturday’s game.

Members of the Trust, together with youth players and representatives of the charity will be shaking blue buckets from 1.30pm onwards, so please anything you can spare.

There is also a special text-to-donate number. Supporters can text CTFC17 £3 to 70070 to make donations from their mobiles. We will be putting the number up on the scoreboard during the game, as well as sharing information from the charity.

Fans Fest, special guests and giveaways

Before the game, DJ Shippers will be joined by guest DJs Jordon Forster and Jordan Cranston for a unique event before kick-off. Entry is free but there will be an opportunity to donate any loose change you may be able to spare at the door.

We will be giving away a selection of our legends T-shirts featuring Neil Grayson, Bob Bloomer, Julian Alsop and Aaron Downes to a handful of lucky punters so join us to help get the day off to a great start in the main bar.

Auctions – stuff you won’t get anywhere else!

After the match we will be auctioning a shirt worn by one of the players in the League Two match against Crewe Alexandra. We need your help to decide which one through a Twitter poll on the day so follow us and keep your eyes peeled during the game.

Actor, writer and broadcaster Tom Watt has very kindly offered his services as our guest auctioneer, getting underway at 5.30pm in the main bar.

He will open the bidding for the fan-chosen blue shirt, a pair of Carabao Cup final (general admission) tickets, an official Mitre Delta EFL match ball signed by the squad plus a signed Neil Grayson legends T-shirt with every penny going to the charity. Everyone is welcome to come and get involved.

Up in the hospitality areas they will be vying for the Man of the Match’s jersey in an auction of their own. The award is traditionally chosen by the sponsors but in the event that the winner matches that of the poll we will auction the player with the second highest share of the vote.

Online auctions – coming soon

The remainder of the squad’s shirts will soon be auctioned online with our friends at AMS Auctions. The Leckhampton-based have a wealth of experience both in the UK and overseas markets, but more importantly they are regulars at Whaddon Road and often sponsor matches themselves! They have kindly offered their expertise at no cost to help us raise as much money.

We’re truly thankful for everyone who has offered to play their part in the event. It has been a monumental team effort. Keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook pages over the next few days for all the latest updates.

Come on you blues!

‘Blue Christmas’ Fans Fest: DJ Shippers plus special guests to kickstart charity day

The Robins Trust will be holding a special ‘Blue Christmas’ Fans Fest before this weekend’s game against Crewe Alexandra at the LCI Rail Stadium.

It’s all part of the effort by ourselves and the club to turn blue for the first time ever and raise awareness of the work done by the British Lung Foundation.

And because it’s the final match before Christmas we are inviting the legendary DJ Shippers (above) to play a set to kickstart the day in perfect style.

The resident Lakefest DJ and Whaddon Road regular will be building up the atmosphere and getting everyone into the spirit of things before kick-off.

He will be joined by our special guest DJs Jordon ‘Fozzy’ Forster and Jordan ‘Cranners’ Cranston, playing their part in the occasion with a few selections of their own!

As usual the bar will open at midday and DJ Shippers will get underway around 12.30pm, while the players will join the party by 2pm.

Entry is free, but there will be a bucket for the British Lung Foundation and we encourage supporters to make a small donation if they’re able to do so.

Please note the capacity is limited so we would also urge fans to arrive as early as possible to guarantee entry.

The side bar will be open for supporters who want to enjoy a pint in more peaceful surroundings, and there will also be another opportunity to join the Trust for £5.

  • The Robins Trust’s Dave Jennings and Jordon Forster will be the studio guests for Footy Thursday on BBC Radio Gloucestershire this week, discussing Saturday’s charity event so tune in between 6pm and 7pm for the weekly football show.

Cambridge United programme notes: Football has the power to do so much good

Bill Shankly once said that football was more important than life or death, wrote Murry Toms in our programme notes for the Cambridge United match.

Of course the great man was wrong, although there are times when it feels like that.

The idea for turning the club blue was a Trust one and the club’s board should be applauded for once again, backing an idea that came from the supporters. It’s a simple but effective way of rallying around two of our own at a challenging time in their lives.

It’s what communities are all about and it’s what Cheltenham Town Football Club does best. The joint event between us, the club and the British Lung Foundation should raise a huge amount of awareness around lung disease and a fair few quid along the way.

November also is Lung Cancer Awareness Month so Monday’s announcement is timely. We will be sharing stories and other articles leading up to the Crewe Alexandra match so please read them, and share away. If we help one person through this initiative, then it’ll be worth it.

On the day the Trust are planning to host an ‘fans fest’ with DJ Shippers, building the atmosphere with good music ahead of the game. Afterwards we’ll be auctioning one of the one-off match shirts for the charity and our aim is to bring everyone together for the cause.

Football has the power to do so much good. This forthcoming weekend the charity Stonewall will be promoting its Rainbow Laces campaign to bring LGBT issues in football back to the fore. It’s another simple idea that catches the eye and delivers a powerful message.

The corner flags at Forest Green Rovers will be rainbow coloured, as will the captain armbands. Many players will be sporting the laces in a show of solidarity to support lesbian, gay, bi and trans-gender fans, players and staff across the game.

It’s important to continue to challenge archaic attitudes both inside football and within the wider society, and this campaign is a terrific example of how you can harness the game to do that. Maybe one day a player will feel safe enough to come out because let’s face it, there must be dozens that are too afraid at the moment to do so in the professional environment.

Saturday promises to be a memorable day as a thousand Cheltenham fans make the trip to Nailsworth for the county’s first league derby. Make sure you leave yourselves enough time to get up the hill and enter the ground. Let’s put on a real show down there and show them what it means to support a proper football club.

Gloucestershire is red (and blue on December 9).

Blue Alexandra: Trust turn the Robins blue for one day only

For the first time in their history, Cheltenham Town are turning blue – but don’t worry, it’s all for a great cause.

The Robins will wear a one-off blue strip for the next month’s match against Crewe Alexandra to raise awareness of the British Lung Foundation, the only UK charity looking after the nation’s lungs.

The idea is the brainchild of the Robins Trust, who have worked closely both with the club and the charity in creating a event to put on a show of togetherness for the club’s fitness coach Ian Hutton and his fiancee Vicky Veness.

Vicky was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer earlier this year.

The 30-year-old personal trainer, runner, non smoker and healthy eater received the shock diagnosis despite looking perfectly fit and healthy and has set out to challenge preconceptions about the illness.

We wanted to play our part, and we hope that turning blue for one match only we’ll be able to create more awareness of this important cause and raise vital funding in the process.

We want the community to come together and get behind this idea in blue from the stands, the colour of the charity’s branding.

Murry Toms, Fan Elected Director said: “The important thing about football is that it is not just about football, and this is a great way to show some support with Ian and Vicky at a difficult time.

“This is a simple idea to use the community around the club as a force for good and drive a greater understanding of this disease.

“It affects 85,000 people a year, as well as those closest to them, and at the moment that unfortunately includes two of our own and we want to help in what little way we can.”

Chairman Paul Baker said: “We are delighted as a club to come together as one to show our support for the British Lung Foundation and, of course, our coach Ian Hutton and his fiancée Vicky.

“We hope the move from our traditional colours to a striking new one-off blue kit, the colour of the charity, will give a very visual show of support and raise both awareness and vital funds for this important cause.”

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November also marks Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

There are 85,000 people living in the UK that have received a lung cancer diagnosis including people living with the condition, those in remission and those who have been cured.

The British Lung Foundation has been researching lung conditions for 30 years and their main aim is always to improve care – and to prevent, treat and cure lung diseases.

Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Cheltenham Town for organising this fantastic event to join the fight against lung disease.

“Every week, around 10,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with a lung condition. This means every week, a family member, loved one or friend, will also hear that someone they care for has a serious lung condition.

“It’s thanks to the amazing fundraising efforts of people like The Robins that we are able to continue our vital work, researching new treatments and supporting people living with lung disease across the UK.”

How supporters can get involved

Our aim is to drive awareness of the work done by the British Lung Foundation, and raise vital funds.

In the coming weeks we will be helping the charity to raise awareness of the illnessby working closely with the club to use all of the channels available to us.

We will ask supporters to go against their instincts and wear blue at the game, bringing red balloons to show solidarity.

There will also be a bucket collection, plus a Robins Trust party in the bar before the game.

The ‘Blue Christmas’ fans fest will feature local legend DJ Shippers in the bar to build the atmosphere before the game and we’ll release more details soon.

Afterwards the Trust will auction one of the match-worn shirts in the bar, and everyone is invited to come along and take part.

The remainder of the squad’s shirts will be auctioned online to raise more money for the charity and we will be releasing more details in the weeks to come.

• Supporters can donate £3 to the British Lung Foundation by simply texting CTFC17 £3 to 70070, and every penny will go directly to the charity. It’s open now and will remain so until after the game on December 9. We can make a difference today.