Dear Club Member,
My message for the 2016/17 season is not very different to what I have said in previous years. We will once again have three Old St Mary’s teams playing at various levels in the Amateur Football Combination and the success of all teams will be largely determined by how the captains go about their business and how much support you give them in return.
After a successful season last year, we now have teams in Intermediate South, 3 South and 8 South – three divisions which will provide football for players of all abilities. Having said that, the club does not hold the view that ability is necessarily fixed. Players improve and every club member should have ambitions to play at the highest level possible. More importantly, captains should be in constant communication with one another always looking to strengthen their teams by promoting players through the ranks. Last year our skippers worked hard to stick to these principles and I am sure that this year’s captains, Kieran Herring, Joe Piper and Anthony Burton will carry on the good work.
We have actively discouraged the development of close-knit squads. Indeed it is an AFC rule for clubs to put out first teams made up of their best eleven players, second teams of the next best eleven and so on. If you have joined Old St Mary’s just to play with a particular group of friends, you have joined the wrong club! Players must accept that the willingness to move up and down through teams is an important pre-requisite of membership.
As I write, we have already made encouraging starts to the new season at all levels. Please give our captains your full support throughout the year. Also make sure you support the ethos of a strong and well run AFC which quite rightly puts great emphasis on playing hard but fair, and the need for everyone to respect opponents and referees at all times – even when they make mistakes