SECRETARY ANNUAL REPORT 2016
I normally write this report as being a summary of the League activity from the League’s perceptive. This year it is my own personal views and should not be taken as the views or opinions of the League. Until this season I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of being involved in the League as a player, Club Official, League Officer, Referee and just watching games being played.
This season was my fifteenth involved with the League and I very nearly didn’t make it to the end of the season. In fact I was on the verge of walking away at one point during the season until I received an email out of the blue from a Club Secretary thanking the Committee for all their hard work and how much they appreciated it. This reminded me of how many great people there are involved with teams across the County and the reasons I get enjoyment from being involved.
What drove me to consider my future with the League was the massive amount of extra work that was created by Clubs who either this season or in previous seasons decided it was fine to show total disrespect to their opponents by repeatedly fielding players who for one reason or another weren’t eligible to play. In the most blatant case the Club did not complete the season due to things getting so bad. I also felt sorry for the people at Clubs who had to sort out the problems caused by their predecessors.
Most Clubs are very well run and comply with the rules. All Clubs need to make sure they operate to these standards, we are already having to create extra work for team administrators as a result of the actions of some Clubs and we really don’t want to increase this further.
One Officer isn’t bigger than the League but I would be surprised if I carried on if there were repeats of what we had this season.
On the field.
Once again the League expanded with a shift to Over 45’s starting to become apparent. Following consultation with all the Clubs we experimented with three smaller Divisions of Over 45’s. This had worked for some teams but not others, as the size of the competition grows we will try different solutions to the differing needs of Clubs.
Congratulations to all the Competition winners this season. Special mentions to Hutton Old Boys who became only the third Club to complete the treble of League, League Cup and County Cup winners, also Manford Way won the London FA Veterans County Cup. There will be three new names in the Premier Division next season as Debden Sports and Little Waltham won their respective Division One’s and Paringdon became the first time to win a Play Off Final. This followed a cracking game against Sporting Club Woodham. This fixture was a repeat of the Division One League Cup Final which was a similarly excellent game.
For the new Clubs joining the League Victoria United won their Division with Catholic United reaching their Divisional Cup Final.
The most heart-warming story of the year was the lifesaving acts of Mick Margaritis of Bishops Stortford and Tony Brown of Dunmow Rhodes who swift response when Chris Ball of Bishops Stortford heart stopped during a match in January contributed to saving Chris’s life. Amazingly Chris was back playing in April.
Discipline and Fair Play
On field discipline was genuinely very good. You will always get players cautioned and sent off but the very low number in comparison to the number of games and the fact all the games have Referees is a credit to the players.
Once again the Divisionally Sportsmanship winners will not have to pay their Annual Subscription to the League next season.
Once again the pre-season administration from Clubs was good which really helps with setting things up for the new season. Fifteen Clubs did not incur a fine or cause extra work for League Officers during the League’s financial year. They have received a £50 reduction in their Annual Subscription if they run one team and £80 if they run two or more sides.
One thing which did get raised on a number of occasions was post-match hospitality, with times when teams didn’t go back or none was provided. Hospitality is really important to the League, it is a major factor behind the League’s growth and continued health in terms of numbers. When confirming games next season for home teams please ensure you confirm with your opponents and Referee where you will be providing the hospitality. For away teams if you cannot accept this for any reason please let the home team know in advance so they can reduce their food costs.
Please ensure when signing players for the 2016/17 season you have proof of date of birth for every player. At some point during the season we will be asking for this. Once we have seen it we will destroy it. If you find any players who have given incorrect dates of birth in the past it is in your interest to advise us rather than waiting for us to find it.
I would like to thank Greene King for their continued sponsorship. This money has enabled us to return money to clubs via the sportsmanship and admin awards which totalled over £1800 and by paying for Assistant Referees for Cup Semi Finals.
This year for the first time we were able to appoint Assistant Referees to all our Cup Finals as well as helping out the Veterans Football Alliance with their Semi Finals and Finals. What was also very pleasing was seeing the number of young Referees who started with us but have now been promoted to higher levels within the football pyramid.
At this part of my report I always thank the League Officers for their efforts during the season. This year I cannot thank them enough, the unnecessary extra work and time that they have put in to sort out issues mentioned in the opening of this report were very much appreciated. All this was done without complaint.
Also having had dealing with numerous other Leagues this season we are so lucky having the Committee we do who are always prepared to look at new and different ideas and then make decisions on what they think is best for the whole League rather than their personal preferences. These decisions are based on what they think are best for the players and administrators within the League even when this means making tough choices which won’t be popular with everyone.
So thank you all so much for your hard work this season.