End of year reports presented at the club AGM on Monday 24/06/19
Eric Chapman (Chairman):
Despite 21 years of practice, until recently I thought this would be the most difficult ever report I have had to produce. Would it be an upbeat look forward to a new season or would it be, as seemed more likely, a sad look back on the club’s final year? Fortunately, albeit subject to votes later in the AGM, it seems that the former is the way to go – so here we go.
The trigger for the uncertainty was the understandable decision, on health grounds, by Peter Jemmett to stand down as club secretary. Although not one of the sexy shop-front tasks at the club, it is an absolutely vital role. Despite a year or more’s notice, it is a role we have struggled to fill until the last couple of weeks or so. As I have commented many times, without Peter the club quite simply would never have come into existence and quite simply would not have existed for any of the following 23 years.
On his watch, he has processed over 1500 player registrations for over 650 players. He has attended around 250 club meetings as well as an unknown number of league or association meetings/hearings. He has also dealt with countless queries and questions from an array of sources including a film director. Never a dull moment!
The club will forever be indebted to Peter and I personally, and on behalf of the club, thank him for all he has done. Although stepping down as secretary, he has indicated he will stay involved with the club in both ‘media’ and ‘events’ guises. This is very welcome development as they are both key areas to help the club grow.
The club is very fortunate in that Simon Kearey has put himself forward to be our new secretary. He brings with him a wealth of experience and success with Widmer End. I also expect him to bring fresh-thinking and new drive that will benefit the club in many areas.
Continuing with events off the pitch our finances are remarkably healthy even though non-payment of subscriptions continues to be a significant issue. There are some bills to be paid that the headline figure disguises, but the financial results are still very good. At this point I must thank Ian Mitchell and his magic calculator that helps makes this possible.
Over the season we ran 4 teams and next season we expect to do the same. On the pitch, results have been a bit of a mixed bag, but over all we can be proud. All our managers do a great job in their (sexier shop-front) roles. Khalid Machmoum (U11) has had a good first year. The main problem he has faced has been too many youngsters a problem that we will part address by changing age groups next season. Frank Milligan (U12) has had the opposite problem with player numbers and this has given him a tough year, but he has battled on. The moves with Khalid’s age group will help Frank Miligan and hopefully next season will be easier for him. Tak Aziz (U13) has continued the success of previous seasons and achieved third place in their league. Liam O’Rourke (U14) also did a good job with his team, but sadly has recently left the club to go elsewhere. Fortunately, Nathan Jopp has stepped up to take over the team for next season and has made an enthusiastic start.
I understand and respect the job all our managers do for the club week-in and week-out. In the same way Peter has made the club happen, the managers are the reason the teams happen. The managers will in turn be quick to point out the help they get from helpers and parents. Whilst more help is always welcome, I also thank all those who do make the effort.
There are others who deserve special mention. Firstly, Olly Witney who this season stepped back from a front-line team management role. However, he has been busy in the background both helping support other managers and helping with some of Peter’s workload. My thanks for this. Equally Shafique and Louise deserve thanks for their work with the Hazlemere fete BBQ. This event remains a vital fund-raiser for the club and is the underlying reason for the club’s financial health at present.
Looking ahead there are three main areas where I would like to see the club really advance:
- Charter Standard accreditation where we are very close to this if we can get on top of manager/official qualifications
- Covering more age groups and female teams where finding managers/coaches is probably a greater issue than finding players
- More fund-raising that would enable more ‘extras’ and/or reduce the burden of subscriptions
As per my earlier comments, I believe Simon’s experience, enthusiasm and ideas could well make a difference and give a kick start kick-start to these advances. As ever, our catchment area should enable the club to be so much more than it currently is. These three ambitions have existed for some time now, but let us make the next year the one when it actually happens.
Finally, I come to my own position. Last year I signalled my keenness to retire. This remains a goal, but I will carry on for at least the next year in part to simplify current changes and bring continuity following Peter’s stepping back. (Dealing with his position rather than mine is the immediate priority.) The fact remains however that I am now the wrong side of retirement age and more new blood into the running of the club is really where we should be heading in the longer term.
Peter Jemmett (Hon. Secretary):
As Eric has already covered, this is my 23rd and very last end of year report as the secretary of this club and it is with some sadness that I am standing down at this meeting.
Last season player membership was up to 75 from 58 in the previous year, in all 29 new players joined the club (38.6% of the membership). The total registrations since formation (23 seasons) now stand at 1,523 from 671 individual players. The longest serving player during my time has been Sebastian Zywczynski who registered for 13 seasons from U8’s through to U18’s before returning for one season in the men’s team. The longest current serving player is Theo Lovett who has registered for the last 6 years.
Team managers are reminded that the club has to hold a complete record of all games played by each player; this should be kept in the match subs book together with any payments received or made. For youth players, it is also compulsory that the club obtain signed consent from the player’s parent for the player to receive medical treatment and this is part of the club registration. We frequently receive incomplete registrations where either the consent form and/or fee is late or not received (there are 18 outstanding from last season totaling £1,179.00 in unpaid fees), these are recorded in the club minutes and players should not be permitted to play games until their registration has been finalised. Please continue to make every effort to ensure parents/players are aware that the registration must be complete on submission or the player should not play in matches.
For the 6th year player/personal fines totaled £0.00; this is in main is due to our current young age groups but credit must go across the club for an excellent disciplinary record. There were again no disciplinary cases or complaints to report which again reflects well on both the teams and management. Even so, team managers are reminded that under the FA Respect Programme there is a 3 step approach to dealing with incidences’ and should misconduct or abuse allegations reach step 3 the county association could impose sanctions against the whole club and not just the offending spectator, player or team.
Club fines were £25.00 (last year £0.00); this made up from £15.00 for U14 failure to fulfill fixture & £10.00 for U13 failure to show the squad list, both minor misdemeanours and commendation must go to Oliver Witney and the team managers working within the league/competition rules, however even though fines over the last 6 years have totaled just £55.00, they still need to be kept in check so not to return to our average rate of £178.00 per season between 2002 and 2008 when club fines reached a peak.
Liam O'Rourke took on the role of Events Secretary and although showing a keen enthusiasm and putting forward several ideas nothing really followed through, the club did however hold another successful Xmas futsal tournament for our member players. With the main focus over the last few seasons being on the Awards ceremony and Hazlemere Fete, small fund raisers have become less important but could still be used to supplement extras outside the budget. Following the success of previous years, we were again invited to run the BBQ at the Hazlemere Fete in addition to our normal ‘beat the keeper’. Over the last 3 years the BBQ proved to be the single highest fund raiser in the clubs 23 year history with just short of a £1000.00 profit returned each year on this alone, last year’s profit of £858.72 was lower than previous years so a pricing review maybe necessary. We are provisionally booked to run the BBQ this year and again will seek help from parents within the club to help man this event. We are indebted to Shafique Eisa and his wife Louise for the organisation and management of this event. Oliver has single-handily ran the ‘beat-the-keeper’ but is unable to commit this year so if this is to continue we will need a volunteer to come forward, as well as being a fund raiser this is a useful means for promoting the club and attracting new players & volunteers.
The end of year accounts show a club record profit of £1,323.12, this however is slightly skewed by the fact that the county affiliation fees, the club awards and insurance premiums have been delayed due to the uncertain nature of the future of the club. The club remained financially secure throughout the season giving us the confidence spend more freely but better check on spending and the collecting of player debts will be needed if we are to maintain a healthy bank balance. Player debt has proved a problem for the club over a number of years and is out stripping the write-off allowed in the budget, better management in this area is needed in fairness to those who do pay.
I am still keen to utilise the training budget to encourage and develop young coaches to support and eventually run teams by offering a 50% subsidy off the FA level 1 coaching course in return for a commitment to the club; unfortunately in the last season this fund was not used for this purpose with the only training being the compulsory safeguarding renewal.
Money gained through fund raising, sponsorships, grants and donations in value totaled £2032.60 (last year £1904.19). This is made up from a U14 kit sponsorship £551.52 from Delaney Biometrics; donation of £530.00 from Cllr. Ray Farmer; £941.08 fund raising profit from Hazlemere Fete and £10.00 through Wycombe Lotto. As always we are very grateful to our benefactors and supporters for their kind generosity.
It has again been a difficult year for me and I feel to give a year’s notice last year was the right decision. My main focus is now on health and fitness and I am still undergoing tests with the cardiologist at Harefield. I am continually finding it hard to keep my concentration levels on club business and remain focused on tasks in hand and I would like to thank the committee for their help and support over the past couple of years. Since first sitting on my sofa 23 years ago and asking Tony Martin if he wanted to start a football club with me, the club has been in my blood and I would hate to see all those years come to an end just because of my ill health and for the sake of the current and future player membership it has pleased me no end that Simon Kearey has offered to take over my role and keep the club together. Simon brings with him vast experience having served a number of years as Chairman and CWO as well as a youth team manager at Widmer End and was also actively involved in some very successful fund raising. He offers bags of enthusiasm as well as know-how which I am sure will help the club to fulfil its potential within the community, something I've been sadly lacking since my heart attack.
Like for so many years now, it is pleasing to present such a positive end of season report but as always it is down to the volunteers who freely give their time week in week out to achieve such an outstanding performance level. My grateful thanks go to Eric Chapman and Ian Mitchell who continue to dedicate many hours to the club and give me invaluable support, all the committee, team managers, coaches and their helpers without who the club could not operate or provide such an excellent community service. My thanks also go to several people outside the club who I have regular dealings over the last year – The staff at the Berks & Bucks F.A., Trevor Saunders, Steve Heath & Carter Baker (Wycombe & South Bucks Minor League), The Totteridge Community Centre, Cllr. Ray Farmer and Ray Cox & Robert Digby (Hazlemere Fete).
As a footnote I would like to thank incoming new secretary Simon Kearey for proposing and the club committee supporting that proposal of bestowing upon me the honorary title of the club’s first President in recognition of my 23 years’ service to the club. I am truly flattered by this honour.