Here are Debbie Cook’s notes from ‘The Mariner’ against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday 5th August 2023.
Here we go! I’m sure many of you share my excitement for the season ahead.
Welcome back to Blundell Park, picking up where we left off to play AFC Wimbledon at home. May I reiterate what I said in the pre-season programme (in case you missed it); a huge thank you to everyone who has supported the Club again so far for the coming season. A massive thank you to over 5,500 season ticket holders, 1878 Club members, people who have bought the kit and supported the Club in so many ways in recent weeks, ready for the season ahead.
In my pre-season programme notes I outlined all the work that had been done at Blundell Park during the closed season. I’m sure lots of you have noticed the new Main Stand steps, the refurbished Main Stand toilets, the painted vomitories, and more. Many of you will have also now seen that, due to a last-minute and unexpected request from the Safety Advisory Group, we have replaced the Pontoon Stand roof. This was a job that we were expecting to do during the next closed season but was brought forward a week or so ago. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone involved at the Club, (especially our Facilities & Safety Manager, David White) and the contractors, Total Cladding for pulling out all the stops to get this work done quickly; as I write this, the roof is partially completed and we’re really hopeful that it will be finished by Saturday!
The team at Blundell Park has worked tirelessly during the closed season to prepare for this 23/24 season and I’m incredibly grateful to them all for their hard work, support and dedication. People can often assume that the closed season is a quiet time for those behind the scenes when often it can be the busiest time of the year.
On Monday we held our Community Day and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a great turnout of children and adults meeting their idols, taking selfies, getting autographs and watching the team training. I really enjoyed chatting to supporters as always and hearing their views and thoughts. The impact this day has for our community and supporter-base cannot be underestimated in my opinion. A huge thank you to all of the organisations that also took part in the day to showcase their work.
The Club recently put a call out for grassroots teams, schools and community groups to come forward to assist the Mariners on a matchday, to become ball retrievers. We’ve now filled all the slots for the season, thanks to an overwhelming response and we can’t wait to welcome these children and their coaches, group leaders and team managers to Blundell Park.
I’m so proud to be able to lead at a Club with the community at its heart.
In the last few days, we’ve lost one of our own. Christine Butler passed away on Sunday 30th July. Christine was a lovely lady who worked at the Club for a number of years and also volunteered to keep our Memory Garden looking nice. Many of you will also know Christine as (the lovely) Francine’s mum and my thoughts are with Fran and her family. We will miss Christine greatly. Although I only knew her for two years, I feel so grateful to have laughed with her, hugged her and witnessed the joy she found in our Club.
I’ll be thinking of you today Christine and I know a bit of your heart will always be here at Blundell Park.
Our players will be entering the pitch today in new ‘Walkout Jackets’. They’re great and will be available in the shop and on Mariners Direct soon!
Enjoy the season. UTM!
Best wishes, Debbie