Taskmaster star Alex Horne reveals his non-league football obsession

The comedian has become a director at his local club Chesham United, who are about to play at the highest level in their 117-year history

Paul Martin
Thursday 18 April 2024 15:59 BST
Taskmaster star Alex Horne is a huge Chesham United fan
Taskmaster star Alex Horne is a huge Chesham United fan (Sportsbeat)

Alex Horne is used to seeing points dished out on his hit game show Taskmaster but it’s those racked up by Chesham United which have given him the most pleasure in the last nine months.

The Generals have stormed to the Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South title and will play at the highest level in their 117-year history next season.

Horne’s Bafta-award-winning Channel 4 comedy show, which is currently in its 17th series, has adorned the front of United’s shirts throughout their historic campaign and the comedian, 45, is relishing the sight of his twin passions thriving simultaneously.

“It has been remarkable, it feels too good to be true,” he said. “It has got no less surreal. I find going to the games and seeing the players with ‘Taskmaster’ across their shirts so weird.

“I am genuinely really proud. We’ve had advertising hoardings up for years, which I’ve loved, but to have it on the shirts is great – especially when we’re winning. If we’d had it on the shirts and they had gone down, it would have been awful.

“There is a bit of positive reinforcement of ‘they’ve got that on there and now they are winning’. It’s brilliant.”

Alex Horne is a regular at Chesham United and has become a director of the club (Sportsbeat)

Horne grew up a Liverpool fan but has graduated towards Chesham over the last 15 years and became a director of the Buckinghamshire club in 2022.

He saw remarkable highs following the Reds but admits nothing compares to the joy of witnessing his adopted side hit previously unachieved levels.

“I was in Istanbul for the Champions League final in 2005, which was brilliant, but I am so much more proud of Chesham as I have a genuine link,” he said. “I support Liverpool because they were brilliant when I was eight, and I’ve always been slightly ashamed of being a glory fan.

“There are millions of us like that and you can’t change your club. But with Chesham, to have had a tiny influence on it is brilliant. My kids play for the youth teams and go to all the matches, I can walk to the game with my dog, it affects me much more than watching Liverpool win or lose on Sky Sports.”

The Taskmaster-inspired shirts have proved popular among the Generals fanbase, with attendances doubling over the course of the campaign.

The Taskmaster-sponsored shirts have become popular at Chesham (Sportsbeat)

Saturday’s final home game of the season against Bracknell Town will bring another bumper crowd with the trophy set to be presented.

“I don’t think there’s a huge crossover between people who watch Taskmaster and people who play non-league football but I am genuinely in awe of the players,” he said. “To my shame, I was on holiday when they won the league. I was actually having diarrhoea and being sick as the goals went in as I had a dodgy prawn in Thailand.

“I was so excited we’d won the league but it’s hard to be excited when it’s coming out both ends, so I’m really looking forward to Saturday.”

As with all non-league outfits, Chesham’s success has been built upon the hard work of the club’s hardy band of volunteers.

Opportunities to get involved across the country are available to view on Pitching In’s Volunteer Hub and Horne picked out a particularly influential quartet at The Meadow for praise.

“There’s Tanya (Fisher), who runs the bar and is incredible,” he said. “She rules the roost.

“Ray (Trafford) is in his late seventies, cleans the sewers, provides refreshments, wears a suit and tie and is a proper humble servant for the club who doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Ryan (Woolnough) is our youngster, he does our social media and he is brilliant, and Peter (Brown), the chairman, is a remarkable human.

“You’ll see him up a ladder changing the fixture boards and all sorts. You never question who does all these things but they are all volunteers.”

Find volunteering opportunities near you at pitchinginvolunteers.co.uk

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