40 years is a long time to be associated with a club and I can honestly say that it’s been one hell of a roller coaster ride over the years. I look back and see the changes within the club both on the personnel side and the way the club has moved forward.
This is obviously down to a lot of factors the main one being volunteers, both past and present. Over the years we’ve seen many managers, coaches and helpers some good, some very good, and some not so good but it’s these people in their own way that have sustained the growth in the club over the last 40 years.
John Rushton and Geoff Whitehead were instrumental in seeing the need for a new club in the Urmston area and I have to say that we owe them a lot for forming a team and embarking on this fantastic journey. Sadly neither of them are with us today as serious illness took its toll, I’m sure though that they would have been delighted with the progress from the first team in 1977 to what we are today.
We have been very successful over the years in winning many major honours and the last 10 years have been very exciting times especially with the emergence of the girls and ladies teams. I have to say though that we must keep up the building programme year on year, introducing new players, new teams, both male and female but above all ensure that we have the right people coaching and managing these players applying the right methods and techniques allowing the players to express themselves and above all give them a safe and friendly environment. We are an open door club and will continue to be so that’s why it’s important to have the right leaders.
We will continue to apply for the necessary grant funding to enable our coaches to expand their knowledge, my aim is to see more level 2 and level 3 qualifications attained and in addition we must broaden the overall knowledge of our other key people within the club with courses may be in sports management, player psychology, sports injuries and fitness methods. The number of level 2 coaches within the club to date is significant in the development of the players and this trend must continue.
As I’ve already mentioned the last 10 years have been very productive with 4 MCFA Charter Standard FA Community Club of the Year awards, 2 Trafford MBC Sports Club of the Year awards, David Wright a Life Vice President was awarded the Manchester FA Volunteer of the Year followed by the NW England FA Volunteer of the Year, this was for Dave’s work in the fundraising and subsequent development of the facilities at Lees Field. A Greater Manchester Sports Club of the Year award, Dave Stead our Clubs Development Manager Trafford Volunteer in Sport for the second time, Megan Killen won the Manchester FA Young Coach of the Year, followed by the Club being awarded the Manchester FA Grassroots Football Club of the Year, NW of England FA Club of the Year twice, Greater Manchester Sports Club of the Year, Manchester FA Safeguarding Inaugural Winner, more recently Matt Wall receiving the Manchester FA Coach of the Year award, I believe we are going in the right direction as the achievements speak for themselves.
We continue to deliver in partnership with Manchester FA the FA 3 Lions initiative and this is managed by David Stead who has been the main contact with the schools for more than 10 years, I reported in a recent seasonal review that within our very successful Ladies team who are 17 years of age no less than 7 of the players started their football careers with the 3 Lions, if that’s not a success story I don’t what is. In addition Dave Sutton head of ladies and girls development and a team of coaches are overseeing the Wildcats initiative which introduces new young players both girls and boys to our great game. The Club is already benefitting from this initiative.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Colin Bridgford and his team at Manchester County FA for the support they gave us with the Football Foundation in the building of the clubhouse, we were the first Club in Manchester County to win the FA National Charter Standard Community Club of the Year award and I know the great late Frank Hannah was very proud of our achievement. So I’m hoping that we will be working together for many years to come. The FA Community day held at Lees Field and hosted by the FA was a huge success and again I thank Colin for selecting us on our Anniversary Year and his team who turned up on the day and made it so memorable. I’m hoping that we can in the near future form even greater links with our parent county and take the Club further.
We have a very active Executive and Management Committee with a completely new Welfare Team plus many new faces added to take the Club forward both on and off the field, working extremely hard in the background to keep our great club at the forefront of the grassroots game. Sometimes the Management Committee have to make difficult decisions but all are taken in the interests of the Club and I fully support them.
It’s true you know that reaching the top is an aim for everyone no matter what profession you happen to be in, I believe we’ve probably made it as a club but the hard part is staying there, that’s down to everyone associated with this fantastic club.
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