Chairmans Message

Dear Club Member,

We start the 2019/20 season with three Old St Mary’s teams playing at various levels in the Amateur Football Combination (AFC). 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 Canterbury University. 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.

Although I like to think that Old St Mary’s FC is a well-run club with access to excellent and affordable facilities, there is no doubt that recent seasons have been quite challenging. Last season we had to tackle the issue of players who seemed only to make themselves available for home games or for particular teams. This is clearly contrary to the ethos of both our football club and the Amateur Football Combination.

I make no apologies for repeating the central theme in last year’s Chairman’s address. 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, making yourself readily available for whichever team wishes to select you.

Tony Linnett
Old St Mary’s Football Club