Having the backing of someone like Alex Horne is game changing for a side like Chesham United.

That’s why the Generals’ chairman Peter Brown was desperate to secure Horne’s services as a director at the club, which they managed to achieve in October 2022.

In a role more tailored towards ‘generating interest’ in Chesham as opposed to making signings and dealing with the running of the club, Horne has thrived, and interest in the Buckinghamshire side has soared.

But years before he stepped into the board room, for Horne, it was a desire to engage with his local club alongside his children’s involvement with Chesham that saw him become a supporter.

“I was a Liverpool fan growing up on the South Coast and I was quite embarrassed about it,” the comedian said.

“I moved to Chesham about 20 years ago and I went to couple of games with the kids when they were very small, and when they started playing football, they played for Chesham, who have a great youth system.”

Over time, that developed into Horne filming content for the show he’s commonly associated with, Taskmaster, at Chesham.

As the relationship between the comedian and the club grew, so did Horne’s interest and dedication towards the Generals, and eventually, he found himself in a vital role for the club.

“Peter [Brown] definitely bullied me into being a director, you can’t really say no to him, but I’m really glad I said yes,” Horne says.

“It’s been a slow relationship, but a really fun one.”

Charity games and comedy events in front of packed crowds at The Meadow soon followed, and Horne became the famous face tied to a club going from strength to strength on and off the pitch.

Despite been promoted to Step 2 as champions in his first full season on the board after years of the near misses for Chesham, Horne insists he’s no Ryan Reynolds.

“I’m pretty sure I’m the difference in the club’s fortunes,” he jokes.

“I don’t think anyone’s coming to see me, or because Taskmaster is on the shirt, I just think it means everyone’s talking about it.”

With players seeing more support across the local area from fans, Horne admits that may have helped inspire the players.

“Having Taskmaster sponsor the kit meant we suddenly sold a load of them and people started wearing them around the town, which is brilliant,” he says.

“It’s all about numbers I’ve discovered since going to these board meetings, if you’re getting 400 fans a week that’s not enough, but 1,000 is more than enough, but it’s easy to keep those numbers up when you’re winning.”

Attending meetings with the club’s hierarchy where he can alongside filming commitments, Horne claims that whilst he can be busy balancing it all, his very public job means he’s often considered to be doing more than he is.

The only part of his involvement at the club that he admits can be taxing, is organising the charity games that take place at the club, with the second instalment of the annual event taking place earlier in the month.

Regardless of how stressful it is, Horne’s adamant that every second of planning is worth it when it comes to match day.

“It was really fun, it was really easy to persuade comedians to play, they’re all really competitive people, everyone loves playing football, and suddenly you’re doing it a fairly decent stadium, with a lovely pitch and in front of 3,000 people, so it’s a real privilege to do,” he says.

Whilst Horne had plans to name an even more famous line up than the final teams that were selected, the club came up with a creative and clever solution to navigate the struggle to find players for the charity game.

“I wanted to get ex-players like Peter Crouch, but that was impossible, they’ve all got stuff on and lots of these players need paying,” Horne says.

Instead, Horne used the match as an example to show off four of the stars in the Chesham United Ladies team, who play in the 4th tier of women’s football in England, alongside four players in the men’s team.

“That was a much better way of doing it,” Horne says.

“That’s what the club’s all about, it’s brilliant to show off the women’s team because obviously they’re so much better than any of us playing.”

Horne stresses the ‘unity’ between teams within the club, and the collective goal to make Chesham the best club it can possibly be has likely contributed to the feelgood factor around the club.

With an entire club and community pulling in the same direction to make the club the best it can be, Chesham are reaching exciting new heights, and despite his own humble outlook, Horne seems to be the catalyst behind the progress.

Alex Horne wears the Chesham kit for the 2024/25 season.

Alex Horne

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