Hi all,

Welcome to my first Chairman Chat, something that I hope will give everyone an insight into our fantastic club and help bridge gaps that naturally happen due to the wide age ranges that play for us. This monthly update is something I am willing to commit to and part of a new approach of communicating with our members, expand my engagement with parents and to engage with different age groups that I don't always have the privilege of seeing to often due to my own coaching commitments. 

The last few weeks have been eventful, a massive transition for me as I step into a role very different to my previous one with the club and some very big shoes to fill left by Van Papantoniou. At the same time this is very exciting as I look to take us onto the next stage of our journey and the best way to identify how I believe this should be done.

These processes have already started in pursuit of even greater transparency with a restructuring of our committee, introduction of club officers and two very productive meetings with parents and coaches. The parents were particularly encouraging as we identified somethings that could make the club even more accessible to our members and more importantly our players.

These have and always will be our main focus but we have to understand these are children and not just footballers. There are massive problems in this beautiful game nationally and I have attended further meetings this week, where the leagues that our teams are playing in are having to deal with incidents on the sidelines that parents and coaches are creating. This is just not acceptable and they, alongside County FAs, The FA and the police are coming down hard on clubs and parents who do not adhere to the FA Respect Rules.

Because of this, another thing we have introduced in my short time as Chairman are these signs, to act as a visual reminder to parents at where we are and who we are watching.

At the time of writing this, I know there has been an issue with club products, mainly kits being delivered to us. Two fundamental reasons for these delays have been because of Covid-19 recently shutting down our kit suppliers, but also because we have had a massive expansion of new players coming to the club, creating a backlog of orders. Although no longer hands on, Van Papantoniou has took time out with Alan Dimambro this week and they have worked tirelessly with JPS to almost get us back on track with orders, so please bare with us just a little longer if you are still waiting for your product.

With the good news of players joining our club, I would also like to welcome the following people to our coaching set up.

  • Kevin Mills (U8 Greens)
  • Paul Carpenter (U9 White)
  • Jamie Padbury, Steph Bustin (U10 Purple)
  • Matt Sweet (U12)  

Without coaches and DBS helpers none of this is possible and it is really encouraging when you see new children joining the club on top of the players we retain each year. Early estimates this week, show we will have around 350 players involved in some capacity throughout the age groups and this is before a possible additional U6 team starting before Christmas and a SoccerTots starting in the early Spring.

As a club we recognise the disruption the pandemic has caused for all of us, but now, hopefully we are finally back.

As restrictions have eased, we've been able to use the facilities at the PBA Sports and Social Club more and we are hopeful that they will again start to provide warm drinks etc on matchdays as they look to be fully up to speed. They have been grateful for the revenue generated over the bars since our return and hopefully this can continue throughout the winter as we move to St Bedes for midweek training.

Winter training will commence throughout the club from Monday 11th October.

I think all that is left to say is good luck to all the teams over the weekend and throughout October. Thanks again to everyone for their support and continue to help build memories for these amazing children of ours.