SECRETARY ANNUAL REPORT
Writing this year’s Annual Report was far more pleasurable than last seasons. There was extra work for both League Officers and Clubs which are covered later in my report however this puts the League in a strong position going into our 25th Season.
The feature of this season was the extremely good weather with only sixty matches being postponed because pitches weren’t playable. In some seasons recently we have lost double that number of fixtures in a month. This did cause some issues with teams playing every week which meant injuries didn’t have time to heal.
On the field.
The overall number of Clubs in the League stayed the same but there was a slight shift again to the Over 45’s. For the Over 45’s the League Cup started with a Group Stage to provide extra fixtures and due to the good weather the League Management Trophy was added for those Over 45 teams who had completed or were completing their fixtures early.
Congratulations to all the Competition winners this season. Special mentions to Paringdon Reserves, Old Barkabbeyans and Witham Town who are completed the “double” in their Divisions. Also to Manford Way who retained the London FA Veterans County Cup and Sporting Club Woodham who return to the Premier Division after a gap of eleven years.
In our six of our eight Cup Finals the side scoring first did not end up lifting the Cup. This must be some sort of record and that fact that five of the games ended 3-1 was quite amazing.
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 every game has a registered Referee. The League has not volunteered to take part in the “Sin Bin” trial that the FA have proposed.
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. Ten Clubs did not incur a fine or cause extra work for League Officers during the League’s financial year, this is a reduction on last season. They have received a £50 reduction in their Annual Subscription if they run one team and £80 if they run two or more sides.
All players with an active registration the League at the end of the season have had their dates of birth checked. We will only need to see proof of date of birth for players who didn’t met that criteria going forward.
We really appreciate the extra work Clubs have had to put into preparing for the online Registrations and we thank Clubs for their efforts in completing this task. It will save Clubs and the League massive amounts of time in the future and will reduce issues round suspensions which can only be good for everyone.
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 £1700 and by paying for Assistant Referees for Cup Semi Finals and allowing free admission to all at our Cup Finals.
Once again the League had 100% Referee coverage. This is made possible by the flexibility of a large number of our Referee Panel who will happily change games at short notice without complaint.
Once again the League has been served very well by its Officers and I thank you all for your hard work. I don’t usually single out individuals however I am going to make an exception this year. Andy Piercy and Geoff Harwood did a fantastic job with checking the dates of birth of every player in the League. It was a shame this extra work was required but they both threw themselves into completing this in the best interests of the players who meet the age requirements of the League.
I would also like to give special mentions to Steve Newlyn and Brian Sayers. Steve created extra work for himself in encouraging teams to replay fixtures when their opponents could not field sides and running the League Management Trophy. Knowing the outside pressures Steve has it would have been totally understandable had he not done this. Brian is a personal thanks for covering Referee alterations on Saturday mornings on a number of occasions when I wasn’t available. This removed a lot of personal pressure from me which I really appreciated.
Geoff Harwood is stepping down as Registration Secretary after eleven seasons. Happily though Geoff will be taking up the role of Assistant Referee Secretary so he will continue to be involved.
25th Anniversary Dinner
The coming season will be the 25th Anniversary of the League. To celebrate this we will be holding a dinner at Stock Brook Manor in Billericay on Friday 8th June 2018. Further details to be announced