SECRETARY ANNUAL REPORT 2021/22
After the last two years of curtailed seasons, it has been excellent to complete this season and to have League Champions in each Division. This will also help us in trying to balance the Divisions for next season. Our aim as always is to provide competitive football whatever the standard. What we do need is Clubs to try to get players to commit to playing on a regular basis. We have tried to ensure as many games as possible are played by allowing re-arrangements at short notice, sadly this appears to have led to a few teams taking advantage of this which has led to opponents going weeks without football which isn’t right. The Committee will be reviewing our policy for next season on postponements to try to get the correct balance.
On the field.
As mentioned above we appeared to have Clubs taking advantage of our generous fixture policy. This led to Steve Newlyn having to reschedule over four hundred and fifty fixtures, which is a ridiculous workload for a volunteer on top of the standard fixture planning. Despite that Steve did an amazing job to ensure all the League fixtures were completed and most of the Cups. Without having someone with Steve dedication and commitment to the League we couldn’t run. We also started an Over 55 Cup with eight teams entering.
Discipline and Fair Play
In my Annual Report last year, I mentioned the increase in bad behaviour following lockdown. Across the Country this trend continued. I am pleased so say generally discipline across the League was improved, so thank you for that.
What was disappointing was catching under age players playing in the League. We thought we had removed this with bringing in compulsory proof of date of birth with initial registrations. At the AGM we will be asking Clubs again to instruct the League Management Committee to fine players and Clubs £250 for any under age player who plays in the League, whatever the circumstances. It may sound a lot but there is no reason or circumstances when it is acceptable for any player to play whilst under age. There are plenty of League’s for open age players.
In my Annual Report last year, I made the request that Results Sheet were completed by the Tuesday following the game due to the extra work in having to chase up Results Sheets. Sadly, that request fell on deaf ears with over one hundred fines being issued for late Result Sheets. That is over £1000 in fines which I am sure could be put to far better use by Clubs than giving it to the League. It wasn’t just Results Sheet completion that caused issues, in total Eddie O’Neill has had to issue over three hundred and fifty charge notices for varying rule breaches resulting in over £5000 of fines. Clubs giving away that kind of money would seem to dispel any questions about Clubs finances being tight. We do NOT want to fine any Clubs, what we would like is for Clubs to complete their admin promptly please.
If you don’t occur a League fine during the season we give you an Admin Award in the terms of money, either a reduction in your Annual Subscription or money back if you won your Divisional Sportsmanship award. Sadly, we paid out the least number of Admin Awards this year since we started the scheme. That is really disappointing.
As I predicted in my Annual Report last year, this has been an incredibly tough season for Chris Crawford and Ryan Anderson as the League Referee Appointment Secretaries. They have done an incredible job in covering as many games as they have. It was disappointing earlier in the season when we were really struggling for coverage that some teams decided to make the problem worse by their behaviour towards Referees. As I had to say on more than one occasion, we are really sorry Michael Oliver wasn’t available to the League this season. It would appear that some teams wouldn’t have been happy with a Referee of his talent.
With the increase in the number of teams in the Competition again I would remind all Clubs that should a Referee not be appointed then they have to agree between them who will referee the game. No Referee is not a reason to call a game off.
Earlier in my report I have mentioned Steve, Chris, Ryan and Eddie. This year Fred Thickbroom joined us as Registration Secretary, with Sarah Franklin’s help at the start of the year, Fred ensured there was a smooth transition following Andy Piercy stepping down. Fred was really thrown in at the deep end but from the outside nobody would have known due to the hard work he put in. Thank you, Fred.
I would also like to thank all the other Committee Members who gave up their time throughout the year. Dave Brignall for tracking the suspensions, the Club Representatives for attending meetings and providing valuable contributions to discussions and decision making, Geoff Harwood for sorting out all the medals and cups and assisting with presentations and John Watts for his speedy work in sorting out all financial matters.
Finally, I would like to thank Brian Sayers for his advice, support and the leadership he gives as Chairman.
I hope you all have a great summer and good luck for next season