Are you ready? 4th July 2011
Much as I have enjoyed the exploits of England’s U21s, U17s and Women’s teams over the summer, I have to say that even at my ripe old age I am getting itchy feet for the start of the new season. Apparently Saturday 16 July is the first date for us to grace that piece of land which is forever Clapham Common and the real stuff starts on Tuesday 19th at Tolworth (and just imagine how nice those pitches will be with all that rain we have had...). Brian sternly informs us that he expects everyone to be “running 60 minutes at a good rate” ahead of the first session so I would get running now if you haven’t started....
But before I start thinking about my 24th consecutive Nottsborough pre-season (and Brian’s twentieth season in charge – mental note to all Captains to make sure we win everything this year of all years....) I really should apologise for my general silence for a while (I fell asleep in the Chair) and to reflect briefly on last season even though of course it is now ancient history. Highlight of the season was clearly the 1s achieving a third title on the trot which means they are getting close to immortality , followed by the Vets’ Double and the 3s Cup. It wasn’t actually one of our most successful seasons but it kept the steady flow of trophies that we have enjoyed without fail every season since the Club started and allowed something of a transition period for all of the teams to take effect which makes me very positive about the coming season....
I think (amazingly) Brian is now on his fourth (possibly fifth?) first team squad and, just like Fergie, he keeps on re-inventing them and indeed his own enthusiasm for the role – he really should and will go down as one of AFA and SAL football’s real characters and indeed real winners – we should all be very proud of him and give him our all for season 20.
What else caught my attention in season 2010/11 with an eye on the coming season? Well slightly left-field but I was beginning to get quite irked by the general policy form above regarding web sites and things like Twitter. It seems a sad state of affairs when scrutiny of what is written in a match report (and thankfully some clubs at least manage to get them out on a regular basis) seems to generate more attention than what happens on the pitch itself (eg bad language to a ref etc etc) and I can’t see how such an attitude is sustainable in the modern world. If it’s truthful let em publish it sayeth I and if it’s controversial then why not – it keep things interesting.
Good to see the season starting earlier than in previous seasons (Sept 10) and the SAL Champions v SAL Rep side moving to the midweek before (hopefully at Corinthian Casuals just down the road from Tolworth) which will hopefully mean more League games tied up before Christmas – which seems very sensible all round – well done the SAL. Our AGM will be either the last week of July or first week August and once again I trust we will have some committed Captains and Vice Captains to get all 5 teams set up for the start of the season. My customary e-mail for new players will also arrive in the next 2 weeks so please make sure you forward it to your world please – this year it will also come via the world of the tweet (@JontyHill14) just to prove I’m still down with the/my kids...
Anyhow England U17s are losing to Germany in a World Cup Quarter Final as I write just to prove that nothing much changes so get those trainers on, get running every other night and then get down to sunny Tolworth – the best things in life are often those that change little and deliver continuity so enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
A Happy New Year to one and All 13th January 2011
Well 2011 actually started off for us like the proverbial bad ‘un but to be honest I wasn’t that surprised as we have had a dreadful record over the years in Cup matches immediately after the Christmas break and especially when games have been cancelled in the run up to Christmas as well. I guess this is just the inevitable consequence of having a club motto that basically glorifies the tumbling of girls’ knickers and a culture in effect enshrined in our club statutes that says Nottsborough players need to know how to party as well as play. Again I guess this is why we are amateurs and not wannabe Conference players.
Nonetheless it is always painful to get knocked out of AFA Cups (for us) so early in the competition and certainly for the 1s to be knocked out by their current pretenders to the crown Winchmore Hill who have now won their last 3 games against us but hopefully that will only serve to concentrate first team hearts and minds in getting back to their pre Christmas winning groove and really push on to secure a League title in a fashion where no-one can complain about the way in which it has been won... Very disappointed too for the 2s and 4s who also now have to re-group and look at pushing on to win the League and secure a place in it respectively. I’ve always said that any Club is only as strong as its bottom team and if we can get the 4s back to playing with a real team and Club spirit then I can only see good things ahead. The 3s have also had something of a stop-start season after their nearly all-conquering side of last year so I would be hopeful they are seeing this second half of the season to get back to winning ways too as it would appear everything is possible for them if they set their minds to the task.. Finally the Vets are going along very nicely under the stewardship of Graham Appleby and have quietly won all of their matches to date – let’s hope that continues as well.
Finally, and as always, a plea from me for all players to support Brian and his Tuesday night training sessions and also each of your respective captains and vice-captains as we all know how hard their jobs are. Brian is now back refreshed from his trip to Oz so we will all be hopeful he can again work his magic on Arren and the boys and indeed the rest of the club. Enjoy the next two months of football which will probably dictate how our respective seasons pan out and make sure you train hard, pay your subs and above all enjoy winning in a solid Nottsborough manner. Oh and yes don’t forget the joys of Nikkerus Nakkerus Dropperus Floorius.
Huge Weekend Ahead!!! 11th March 2010
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve used that particular headline but it does go to show the level of success that the Club has achieved over the last few years and particularly this season as all four teams battle for honours – and it is really great to see it as an “old timer” watching from the sidelines nowadays...
I will be fulfilling that particular job this Saturday at the magnificent HSBC ground in Beckenham where our 3s will be taking on EBOG in the club’s first ever AFA Junior Cup Final. Having endured the disappointment of losing in the mud of Old Aloysians 10 years ago in our only other ever AFA Junior Cup semi final (Smithy and Parky colliding together with disastrous effect with one minute to go), I am really thrilled to see Simon Owen’s boys reach this national Final. Of course the 3s are having an awesome season but of course it had to be EBOG who ended their run of 17 consecutive victories so no-one will be taking anything for granted on Saturday. But best of luck to the boys and special commiserations to striker Leon Best who has received a very harsh 5 match ban for being sent off by an over-zealous (“don’t come back on to the pitch unless I allow you”) type ref in a recent game at Owens. Leon wouldn’t say boo to the proverbial but now has to miss both this and the SAL Junior Cup Final. Now I never criticise refs who are at the heart of our amateur game but has this particular one really thought through the consequences of what he did? Having disappeared immediately after the game one assumes not..... but hey ho, I’m sure Leon will be there cheering them on.
The 1s get back to less Roy of the Rovers stuff on Saturday with a nonetheless critical game at Polytechnic in the league. If the 1s are going to have any chance of adding another title to their already impressive list of achievements, they will need to start picking up points just to get themselves out of the relegation slots!! I think it is a very hard ask but if they take every game at a time.... who knows. Again a special mention for Ted Datta who will not play a part in that end of season run-in having broken his leg on Saturday in the AFA Senior semi game against Broomfield. I’m glad to say he has now been operated on and no plate or pin was needed which should make the long hard slog of rehabilitation a little easier. The thoughts of the club are with him and special thanks from me to those at the AFA, West Wickham, Winchmore Hill and Broomfield who have asked after Ted this week – much appreciated.
The 2s and 4s both have huge matches this weekend against our old foes at both levels – Old Actonians. Games against the Accies are never other than tough and these are both potentially make or break games with regard to potential Title aspirations. Pressure on injuries is always high at this time of the season but hopefully both teams will rally round and get the results I know both Pete and Dustin will crave.
Finally a thanks as always to Brian who, not only oversees the 1s, but also continues to put on great training sessions at Tolworth on Tuesday nights and we regularly have 20+ even in March which is great. I will be looking for people to come forward in due course to start helping Brian in both team and training issues so let me know if this is one of your ambitions – as you know the Club is always looking for players to take on more responsibility across a whole range of areas so this could be the one for you!!
Once again best of luck to all but especially the 3s!!!
It’s A Knockout 27th January 2010
Well it’s been a while since my last Chairman’s Chair for which I can only apologise but I have been busy enjoying myself with 3 months gardening leave post my departure from The FA... What I have been able to enjoy over the period has been a fantastic start to the Nottsborough season and this after a reasonable amount of change at Captain and Vice Captain level at the summer AGM.
By my reckoning the Club has amassed an amazing 9 Quarter Finals across AFA and SAL football this season across our 5 teams and to date has already bagged 4 Semi Finals, two in each “code” and indeed the only team to have failed thus far was the Vets in the Open Cup. Well done to all and particular well done to Brian for keeping everyone engaged and interested at training, especially after a slow start to the season for the 1s.
Of course none of these stats means anything unless we win any of these competitions and we are clearly coming to the sharp end of all of them and the 1s in particular have two difficult Quarters coming up, both away from Tolworth. The other edge to the sword is the fact that Cup runs, coupled with bad weather, always lead to pressure on fixtures at the back end of the season so there is a lot of work to be done on all fronts yet. However with all of the 2s, 3s and 4s going like trains at the moment we remain hopeful and more to the point it would appear that all teams remain committed and determined to build on this solid start – a refreshing attitude under the circumstances.
Leaving my job at the FA after 7 happy years reminds me that nothing is forever and I continue to ask all Club players to think about their role in the Club moving forward and how they might represent the next phase of the Club’s progression in whatever capacity – we certainly continue to need committed individuals in all areas of the Club. Talking of which my mid-term thanks to all of the Captains this year who are doing a great job and I can’t wait to see who wins the 3s v 4s 100% battle – but you can be as sure as hell that there will be lots of teams out there who will want to inflict that first defeat.
Let’s make sure we keep Stuart Hall laughing and Eddie Waring happy by continuing to be going up and never under...and best of luck to all five teams this weekend, all involved in Cup football again!
Till the next time