Our 2020/21 season was like no other in living memory. Not since the onset of World War Two in 1939 had a football season faced disruption to the point of, in our case, the National League North being declared ‘null and void’ with 31 league games still left for us to play.
Despite the shortened season we put together two excellent cup runs, reaching the second round proper of the FA Cup and the quarter finals of the FA Trophy. Turning over higher league opponents no less than three times on the way and featuring live on the BBC in our FA Cup tie at Bristol Rovers.
We will never know how our league campaign would have panned out with so few games played but with Alun Armstrong at the helm for his third season in charge we carry the same optimism and expectation into next season as we begun this season with.
Looking back to May 2020, just two months into the country’s first lockdown and at a time when uncertainly loomed large, we asked the fans if they would be able to back Alun in his quest to push the club forwards. Given the climate of Covid-19 and economic instability at that time, we cautiously set a 'Boost The Budget' target of £100,000, not knowing what to expect.
Across 31 incredible days, 708 investors raised a staggering £131,385, allowing Alun to attract the likes of Erico Sousa, Nicky Hunt, Tony McMahon, Luke Charman and Dan Maguire to Blackwell Meadows, whilst retaining the likes of Will Hatfield, Joe Wheatley and Adam Campbell. All at a time of huge uncertainty.
With the start of the 2021/22 season scheduled for August 14th and the promise of a 'normal season' ahead, hopefully with a full Blackwell Meadows too, Alun has already begun work on what his squad will look like for a planned successful season with the aim to be competing at the top end of the table. Another cup run or two wouldn’t be bad either.
This is where, yet again, DFC fans play an integral part in helping us achieve these aims.
The fans, ultimately the Club’s owners, dictating the level of ambition and ability of the squad by setting a significant chunk of the manager’s playing budget. If we can deliver a competitive budget to the manager each season, then our chances of success both on and off the pitch are significantly increased.
We launched 'Boost The Budget 2021/22' on 1st May 2021, with our most ambitious target yet (£120,000), asking the fans to back Alun in his quest to get the Club to the National League.
As ever, our amazing fans more than delivered. A staggering £138,465 was raised that, at time of writing, allowed Alun to attract the likes of Kallum Griffiths, Junior Mondal, Tommy Taylor, Joey Hope, Lexus Beeden, George Smith, Lucas Martin and Alex Purver well in advance of the new season (and with more to come!).
Existing players such as Will Hatfield, Joe Wheatley, Luke Charman, Alex Storey and Jarrett Rivers have also been retained.
Since its initial inception just over five years ago, Boost The Budget investors have contributed just shy of £500,000 to the club's playing budget in that time.
A staggering contribution and the very definition of 'fan ownership'.