Chairmans Message

Dear Club Member,

We start the 2018/19 season with three Old St Mary’s teams playing at various levels in the Amateur Football Combination. This is quite some achievement in itself given the recent decline in adult male 11-a-side football.

When we started playing at Hall Place in 1986 it was hard to secure pitches. Now we are the only club with a regular Saturday booking. The decline in adult male football concerned the Kent FA enough to commission a piece of research undertaken by the University of Kent. The 2016 report, Keeping Up Participation Levels in Adult Football, highlighted several reasons for the decline and one of them was the indifferent quality management and provision.

We have no problems on that score. Old St Mary’s FC is a well-run club with access to excellent, affordable facilities. The surfaces of the pitches at Hall Place may not win any awards but the changing rooms are second to none. We also have a top-class training facility at Dartford FC.

Our three teams offer competitive football for players of all abilities and as players improve we are always keen to promote them to higher sides. 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.

I will finish by wishing you all an enjoyable and successful season. 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 – even when they make mistakes, which we all do from time to time.

Tony Linnett
Old St Mary’s Football Club