SECRETARY ANNUAL REPORT 2019
Once again the League continues to grow, which in my opinion is only because the League tries to offer what the players want. Interestingly now 45% of the players in the League are over forty-five years old. This had me thinking about are we starting to see the impact of the decline in 11v11 football hitting the League. Looking back though we had nine divisions of over thirty-five football when the over forty-five division first started, so currently there doesn’t appear to be a decline in the younger divisions.
The League always welcomes feedback so we can try to keep improving things, hence the feelers put out at running an Over 55 Cup next season. This won’t be happening as currently there are not enough Clubs able to field teams but we will re-visit that in the future.
The other thing that struck me as I travelled round the County this season is I wonder in how many other Leagues could a League Officer have a really good, friendly conversation with a player who was suspended after being caught playing when he shouldn’t have? Not many I would guess, but it said a lot to me about the whole feel of the League.
On the field.
The weather this season was even better than the last two year’s which meant an early finish for some teams. There is always a challenge for “Park” Leagues in trying to balance the number of fixtures and guessing at how many Saturday’s pitches are playable.
Again we tried to get games re-played when teams could field sides. The adjustments we made worked to a degree but the Committee still have a suspicion that some teams take advantage of this. We will make some further adjustments next season which hopefully will strike the balance.
The League played two Over 45 Representative fixtures this year, a 5-4 defeat to the RAF at St George’s Park as part of the Centenary celebrations of the RAF and a 5-0 win over the Southend Borough Combination Veterans League. Thanks to Steve Edkins and Eddie O’Neill for making these games happen. Next season we are looking forward to playing some Over 35 Representative fixtures as well.
Congratulations to all the Competition winners this season. Special mentions to Little Thurrock Dynamos who became only the third team to win the top Division League title three years in a row and to Old Barkabbeyans and Wickford Town who are completed the “double” in their Divisions. Also to Paringdon who won the County Cup and Premier Division Cup “double”. Finally congratulations to Old Chelmsfordians who completed their twenty-fifth season in the League
Discipline and Fair Play
Again overall discipline was very good in the League when you take into account the number of games played and that nearly every game has a registered Referee. Next season Sin Bins are mandatory for the League. The Essex FA have arranged multiple training sessions across the whole County at different days and times. Please try to ensure every team has someone who is attended this training so players are aware how Sin Bins for dissent work. Next season there are circumstances where a player can be shown two yellow cards in a game and NOT be sent off.
Once again the Divisionally Sportsmanship winners will not have to pay their Annual Subscription to the League next season. Next season we have two Clubs who we are paying to play in the League as they won their Divisional Sportsmanship table and qualified for the League admin award.
The introduction of photographs as part of the Registration process went much smoother than we expected and I would like to thank the Clubs for their hard work in making this happen. For the 2019/20 season you only need to amend the current photographs if there is a big change in their appearance.
Having the photograph’s on the Whole Game System has enabled us to resolve a number of registration queries very quickly and in a couple of cases identify ineligible players.
What turned into the major issue last year was not receiving any notice from the FA of the requirement for Clubs to set up Team Administrators as Team Manager’s, Assistant Team Manager’s or Team Secretary’s on the Whole Game System.
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 £1500 and by paying for Assistant Referees for Cup Semi Finals and allowing free admission to all at our Cup Finals.
During the 2017/18 season we didn’t have full Referee coverage which we felt was the impact of the centralised Referee Appointment system operated by the Essex FA. This would appear to have been correct as the centralised system was not operating this year and we comfortably returned to 100% coverage. During the season the League made presentations to Dave Michnowiec and Dave Brignall in recognition of officiating in over two hundred matches in the League. This is some achievement and we thank them both for their service to the League.
Thank you once again to all the League Officers who have given up so much of their spare time to run the League. Dicky Brooks and Adam Gordon are standing down from their positions at the AGM. I would like to thank them both for their hard work and contribution to the League.
It is good to see some new volunteers standing as Club Representatives at the AGM, this new blood gives new ideas and a wider representation across the Competition, which can only be good.
Finally I have advised the Committee that season 2019/20 will be my last as Referee Appointment Secretary. The reasons for my decision is two-fold, firstly the ever growing size of the League means the workload of two jobs is becoming too time consuming. By my rough calculations I am getting close to spending five hundred hours a year solely on League business. Also I expect my wife’s work to change in 2020 which will mean we will be away on more weekends so would struggle to complete the appointments each Sunday.
I hope you all have a great summer break