THE SUNDAY LEAGUE TEAM WHO ARE 'FAMOUS'
FOR HAVING ALL THEIR MATCHES CAPTURED ON VIDEO

Site Designed & Maintained by Laurence Hughes (Club Secretary, Chairman & Cameraman !) e-mail: laurence_hughes@yahoo.co.uk  © 2017  Laurence Hughes ARCHIVE OF PREVIOUS SEASONS SEASON 2010-2011

ORC SPORTS WALTHAM (SUNDAY) FOOTBALL LEAGUE

FINAL DIVISION ONE TABLE

NAME

APPEARANCES

GOALS

NAME

APPEARANCES

GOALS

Jim ARROWSMITH

4


Yianni KYRIACOU

10


Dean ASSIAMAH

17

1

Martin LOVEDAY

16

1

Alan BARNARD

21

1

James MANDELL

2


Colin BESTER

7


Jamie MARTIN

3

1

Danny BROWN

2


Conor McGOVERN

12

12

Rob BROWN

20

2

Terry MOORE

25

1

Terry BROWN

24

4

Vernon NXUMALO

16


Steve COKELL

14


Ozel OZERMAN

1


Daniel DALEY

3

1

Rob PATTWELL

1


Robert DODDS

1


Rory RICHARDS

2


Stuart DORWARD

16

6

John SCOULLER

9

3

Paul DUFFY

1


Danny SMITH

16

4

Danny HAGAN

26

3

Olie TEDDER

9


Lexton HARRISON

20

7

Andrew WARMERDAM

5


Simon JACKSON

23


Tom WATTS

1

1

Darryl JOHNSON

8


Martin WORTHINGTON

4


Lee KING

25

1

Tony WEBB

1


Tony KING

15

1




CLICK ON THE OPPONENTS' NAME TO VIEW A MATCH REPORT & THE YOU TUBE LINK TO VIEW HIGHLIGHTS

Date of Match

Opponents

 

Competition

Result

You Tube

Sunday 8th August

LARSENS

‘Home’

Pre-Season Friendly

Won 3-2

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 15th August

CETINKAYA CINAR

‘Home’

Pre-Season Friendly

Won 1-0

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 22nd August

CONTINENTAL

‘Home’

Pre-Season Friendly

Lost 1-3

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 29th August

SPORTING ENFIELD

Away

Pre-Season Friendly

Lost 1-6

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 5th September

EAST HERTS

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 1-2

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 12th September

AFC CHESHUNT

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 1-3

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 19th September

TURNFORD GEESE

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 1-6

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 3rd October

WORMLEY ROVERS

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Won 1-0

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 10th October

BROXBOURNE RANGERS OLD BOYS

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Drew 2-2

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 17th October

THAMES ALBION

Away

Waltham Sunday League Challenge Cup, First Round

Won 2-1

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 24th October

KENSINGTON ATHLETIC

Home

London F.A. Sunday Intermediate Cup, Second Round

Won 7-0

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 31st October

HOP POLES

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 2-4

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 7th November

FLAMSTEAD END

Home

Waltham Sunday League Senior Cup, First Round

Lost 1-2

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 14th November

BROXBOURNE RANGERS OLD BOYS

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Won 3-0

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 21st November

CHARLTON UNITED

Away

London F.A. Sunday Intermediate Cup, Third Round

Lost 2-3 AET

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 28th November

FLAMSTEAD END

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

POSTPONED (Frozen Pitch)

Sunday 5th December

FLAMSTEAD END

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

POSTPONED (Frozen Pitch)

Sunday 12th December

AFC CHESHUNT

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 3-4

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 9th January

EAST HERTS

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 1-6

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 16th January

FLAMSTEAD END

Away

Waltham Sunday League Challenge Cup, Second Round

Lost 0-2

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 23rd January

WORMLEY ROVERS

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Non-Fulfilment by Wormley

Sunday 30th January

HOP POLES

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 2-5

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 6th February

McKENZIE RANGERS

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 0-1

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 13th February

CHURCHBURY

Home

Friendly Match

Lost 2-3

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 20th February

THE BEEHIVE

Home

Friendly Match

Non-Fulfilment by Beehive

Sunday 27th February

McKENZIE RANGERS

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Won 1-0

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 6th March

ST. MARY’S (EDMONTON)

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Won 4-1

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 13th March

FLAMSTEAD END

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Drew 2-2

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 20th March

FLAMSTEAD END

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 1-2

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 27th March

ST. MARY’S (EDMONTON)

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Won 4-0

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 10th April

ASCO

Home

Waltham Sunday League Div. One (Double-Header, First Match)

Lost 0-3

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 10th April

ASCO

Away

Waltham Sunday League Div. One (Double-Header, Second Match)

Lost 2-3

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 24th April

TURNFORD GEESE

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 0-2

 HIGHLIGHTS

APPEARANCES

CHAIRMANSBLOG

MATCH REPORTS

APPEARANCES & GOALSCORERS SEASON 2010-2011 (INCLUDES PRE-SEASON FRIENDLIES) MATCH REPORTS SEASON 2010-2011 CHAIRMAN’S BLOGS SEASON 2010-2011

      CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Sunday 19th June 2011

It is eleven years now since we first entered a team in the Southgate Hockey Centre’s summer 7-a-side Football League, either on Monday or Thursday nights (and sometimes both, as is the case this summer). It was one of our players at the time, Paul Rebairo, who advised us to enter the League way back in 2000 after he had played in it the year before for local (mainly Turkish) team Enfield Bullets. He told us it was a good standard and that it would keep us fit during the summer and he was right.

In those early days though, we fielded our best players every week, namely Shaun O’Neill in goal, then the likes of Steve & John Beasley, Stuart & Derek Dorward, Chris ‘Nugget’ Beeden, Conor McGovern, Robin Pryke, Paul Woolston, Paul Ellerker and (for a brief period) Marco Ellerker amongst others. With most of those being candidates for a place in the starting line-up of the best eleven players to have played for the club in our 36-year history, not surprisingly we won most of our 7-a-side matches and competed at the top of the table in the Qualifying Stages and in the ‘Champions League’ as opposed to the ‘Nearly Champions League’. (The ‘Champions League’ is now known as the ‘Cup League’ for the top teams from Qualifying and the ‘Nearly Champions League’ is now known as the ‘Plate League’ for the bottom teams from Qualifying…and in which we now regularly find ourselves year after year !)

Although we have won or finished Runners-Up in the ‘Nearly Champions/Plate League’ on four occasions over the last eleven years, the last of those ‘successes’ was 6 years ago, and for the past few summers we have lost far more matches than we have won, despite the standard of the opposition being pretty much the same as it has always been. In fact at the time of writing we have now lost nine games in a row (Mondays & Thursdays combined), and although we have only been beaten really heavily in one of those matches (see here), it is still an alarming statistic for a club as well-run as ours.

So…here’s my thoughts on what is going wrong, and there are several different reasons I think.

The most obvious one is that we are not fielding the same side for every match, unlike virtually every other team in the League. In most of our matches we have players playing who have never met each other before, and this has been the case over the past six years as we have concentrated on using the 7-a-side League to try out new players and also rotate the squad a bit to give all existing players a chance to play if they want to. However, can we field a squad of our 8 ‘best’ players week-in, week-out’ if we wanted to ? Unfortunately not, as Simon Jackson sometimes works abroad during the week, Terry Moore and Alan Barnard can both only play on different nights most weeks, our promising younger players such as Lee King, Yan Kyriacou and hopeful new signing Ben Keating can only play on Thursday nights as they play Powerleague (or whatever ?) on Mondays, and Lexton Harrison and Kizza often ‘work late’ and cannot make certain kick-off times. We then have Rob Brown, Martin Loveday & Martin Worthington all out with long-term injuries, Dean Assiamah unable to afford to pay his subs and Terry Brown often left stranded without a lift, as is potentially the case with one or two others (e.g. Daniel Daley). The only ‘first-choice’ players who can play every week (and on both nights) and have their own transport to get there are Danny Hagan & Danny Smith.

We are trying to get new (or returning) players along to play, but it is not easy when we are losing every week. Prospective new players just look at the results. They don’t look at the reasons and excuses.

So are we doing anything wrong tactically in our 7-a-side matches then ? Most definitely ! Of course it’s easy to blame The Manager just because he ‘doesn’t shout’. Does any other team in the 7-a-side League have a Manager on the touchline shouting instructions non-stop though ? Sorry, but I have yet to see one. Every team we play, even those at the bottom of the table, play pretty much the same way as each other and they all know what they are doing as they are ‘proper’ 7-a-side teams as opposed to an 11-a-side team trying to play 7-a-side (i.e. us). They turn up with a squad of the same 8 players every week who all run their socks off in getting up and down the pitch. When a player needs a breather from doing that, they signal to the sub to come on and replace them. They don’t have a Manager doing pre-planned substitutions at certain intervals that unintentionally disrupts the flow of the game. If the sub doesn’t come on until the last 10 minutes, then tough. He can start the following week. Winning the game is more important. All teams play a 2-3-1 formation (as do we), but the difference is that whenever opposing teams lose possession in our half of the pitch, their lone forward chases back straight away to just past the half-way line and the three midfielders also chase back straight away and get in a line with the two defenders on the edge of their own ‘D’ to make a wall of five players. Those five players will then get within a yard of any attempted shot by us and invariably block it.

What do we do when we lose possession in the opponents’ half of the pitch ? Our forward just stands there and lets defenders go up on a run un-tracked and only one of our three midfielders at a time bothers to chase back if we have got two defenders back (or two midfielders chase back if we have got only one defender back…although not always !). In other words, they think they can ‘switch off, have a breather and pass players on’ for others to mark. The midfielder who has chased back then goes and stands two yards off the ball instead of one, invariably because he is not fit and sharp enough after chasing back to be able to close down to one yard, therefore leaving his opponent with almost a free shot at goal which he buries because Jacko is unsighted or left flat-footed by a deflection. If, when we go on the attack, we do manage to get a shot in, opposing goalkeepers seem to be far fitter and more agile than any of ours and are quite brilliant in those smaller 7-a-side goals. We have been denied so many times so far this summer by some quite unbelievable saves. Jacko has made some good saves himself, but there is no question that he prefers playing in goal at 11-a-side and is much more suited to that. We know that from training where he always complains when we stop the shooting practice to have a 7-a-side. Perfectly understandable though, and we can’t solely blame him (and Dave Bagnall) for our nine defeats in a row.

As for passing and keeping possession, we have actually been doing well in that respect. The problem is that we do not break from defence at speed like other teams do and we do not have runners from midfield or defence sprinting full pelt past our lone forward onto through balls to get first-time shots in. Our build-up is too slow every time and it easily allows opposing teams to get five men back behind the ball. The reason for this is undoubtedly because we have got too many new/different players who do not know each others’ game/names, so instead of quick first-time passing, our players are having to put their foot on the ball when they gain possession and then look up to see what’s on every time because they are not getting a call or a ‘typical’ run from a team-mate where a first-time pass can be played almost without thinking. Also, we quite often have too many players on the pitch at the same time who are not fit enough...and it is not just the two ‘obvious’ ones I am talking about here ! There are more than that who need to go on a diet first and foremost, then go down a gym (regularly), then go for 5-mile runs twice a week, then start playing football regularly at the level we are at on Sundays. These players are not going to get fit just playing 7-a-side once a week when (at the moment) they are only physically capable of running for the ball when we are on the attack ! Because of their lack of fitness, they are also ‘too tired’ mentally to run after the ball when they lose it. I know what they are thinking as I do it myself when I am playing…but then I am 52 ! And by the way…at least two of our goalkeepers need to go on a diet as well !

Another problem is that in general, players are not staying for a drink afterwards because we have lost. Quite a few storm straight off the pitch into the changing rooms (without thinking to pay their subs) when we lose and others will get straight into their cars and drive off, again without paying because they don’t think of that when they are annoyed that we have lost again.  I have been guilty myself of going straight home after recent 7-a-side matches instead of staying for a drink and chasing players up in the changing rooms/bar for their subs when Trevor has not been there. I hate losing any Rovers match and losing 9 games in a row is really bugging me, I must admit.

The Monday Night League is a straightforward League for the whole Summer and all we can do in that now is just try and avoid finishing bottom. The Thursday Night League splits into the ‘Cup League’ and ‘Plate League’ in a few weeks time and we already have no chance of qualifying for the ‘Cup League’. By the time that starts, the Waltham Sunday League Multi-Registration Form will have been returned and there will be no need to give players a game just so that they can sign that form. Personally, I think we should then look to field our strongest team whatever on Thursday nights in an attempt to win the ‘Plate League’ and boost our confidence going into the new 11-a-side season. Players who are not fit enough or want to blame myself and Trevor for ‘not shouting’ instead of using their own brains tactically on the pitch (like other teams do) can then play on Monday nights instead as far as I am concerned. It’s tough on Loveday (if he is not still working in Leeds and can resume as Monday Night Team Manager), but we must stop the rot.

Also, if players who don’t drive are not prepared to cycle or get public transport to venues or meeting points, then they need to take a long hard look at themselves and make a bit more of an effort. It will be ridiculous if we cannot field a team just because a couple of players who normally give these players a lift are unavailable at the same time (or not good enough/fit enough to be picked for a squad themselves). We can’t have that happening on Sundays, otherwise it will just be another relegation battle next season.

  

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG / A.G.M. REPORT - Monday 13th June 2011

On Friday (10th June) we actually managed to hold a club Annual General Meeting and Trophy Presentation Night ! This was somewhat of an achievement as last season we didn’t have an A.G.M. at all (from which we could have found ourselves in trouble with the F.A.), while virtually all of our A.G.M.’s over the past 7 or 8 years have seen pitiful turnouts where players had Wedding Receptions and Christenings to go to instead, or simply couldn’t be bothered. In fact the 2007-2008 Season A.G.M. (at The Beehive Pub in Edmonton) saw just the Management Committee turn up and nobody else !
This time though, we decided to hold the A.G.M. on a Friday night. We had never attempted that previously (as far as I can recall) because we had too many City workers playing for us and of course Friday nights are saved for their traditional end-of-the-week piss-ups with their work colleagues. However, the decision paid off as we had an amazing turnout of 23 club members (including ‘Greats Of The Past’ Gary Southam, Paul Rebairo and (briefly at the end) Derek Dorward), while only two players (Vernon ‘Kizza’ Nxumalo and Tony King) failed to turn up without giving any apologies for absence. Even  out of those who
did let us know that they would be unable to attend, only Olie Tedder and Martin Worthington could be considered as current squad members, but Kizza was the only player not there who was eligible to be voted for for Player’s Player Of The Year, so unlike previous A.G.M. over the past few years where we ended up having to give out trophies on the touchline at our first match the following season, there was no danger of that sort of anti-climax this time with virtually every ‘regular’ player in attendance.
On the advice of Club Captain Stuart Dorward, we decided to hire The Beehive Pub again as it was easier to get to than other venues where we have held the A.G.M. in recent seasons. However, when we got there at 7.00.p.m., the ‘guvnor’ had forgotten that we were coming (because he had been tied up with a family bereavement), while the place was absolutely rammed with punters, when apparently the previous Friday night there was ‘hardly anybody in there’. This was because 200 local women were doing some Charity ‘Moon-Walk’ round the streets of Enfield before returning to the Pub afterwards to meet their husbands there...so the blokes were in the Pub all the time their wives were out ! (Stuart knew about the women returning there later in the evening, but he didn’t realise the Pub would be packed in the meantime !) The ‘guvnor’ managed to clear a very confined space for us in-between the pool tables and the Gents toilets though...which meant pool cue butts being inadvertently rammed up our players arses from behind while they had their backs turned in staring at a white wall...on which our DVD’s were being projected , while plenty of people sped in and out of those toilets all night...walking right through the lot of us as they did so. Nobody seemed too bothered though, as most were already extremely pissed by the time we started the Agenda at about 9.00.p.m. It was certainly a good job that I bought my Behringer Europort along, as even with that turned up full blast, it was still difficult for everybody to hear, such was the noise from the locals in the pub (and the music from a jukebox !). We battled on though, and although myself and Trevor had to abbreviate our speeches quite a bit from what we originally wanted to say...including giving Conor McGovern, Stuart Dorward & Darryl Johnson a bit more of a tribute on their retirements, we got the main messages across, and the Minutes of the meeting will be circulated to all club members by e-mail in due course.
All the trophy winners can now be found here on the Player Awards page.

After the trophies had been presented, we showed our Top 10 goals of the season, then our Top 20 goals of the last decade and a few other old DVD’s of players from the 90’s. I know a lot of our current players were very impressed with some of the goals we scored back then and the way we passed and moved. Hopefully they will have taken note !?
The Beehive’s in-house projector took a lot of time to fix up, as the guvnor didn’t realise that we needed sound ! I therefore had to pop out quickly round to Alan Barnard’s parents’ house (fortunately only a couple of minutes away) with him to grab a couple of speakers and the appropriate audio leads, and it was more by luck than judgement that I managed to get everything working in time.  We then started showing the Goal Of The Season and just as Conor was doing an overhead kick, a woman in fancy dress came into the Pub, stuck a bucket in his face and  demanded money !  Yes, the Moon Walkers had arrived. The Pub then got even noisier, but it didn’t matter too much by then. We finished watching the DVD’s and by chucking-out-time (12.00 midnight), everybody had drunk enough and seemed well happy with how the night went.
So...definitely the best A.G.M. we have had for years and surely a big boost to team spirit, even though it was hard work for myself and Trevor in setting things up on the night and making ourselves heard in such a confined space. Also, many thanks to Stuart Dorward for arranging things with the Beehive and of course to him, Conor & Darryl...a happy retirement !
P.S. The Greats Of The Past & Player Profiles sections will be updated  sometime before the new season starts.

  

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG ! - Monday 23rd May 2011

Last Thursday (19th May), the Waltham Sunday League held their Annual General Meeting at the ‘Tesco’ Country Club in Cheshunt. As most of our players know, I recently decided to resign as a League Officer & Club Representative on the League Management Committee in protest at the decision of League General Secretary Denis Coventry to scrap my League Website at the end of the 2010-2011 Season and then (to put the boot in even further) propose a rule whereby I can no longer film the League’s Cup Finals unless I pay £30.00 per match out of my own pocket in ‘filming rights’. As I half-expected, there were no complaints from any of the clubs in attendance at the AGM and the rule change was voted in. The main reason for that is because they do not understand the TV, Film & Broadcasting industry and how it operates, so they think I am the same as a TV company bidding for the rights in the same way that Sky do for the Premier League, and that our League therefore have every right to earn some money out of what I am doing. They don’t realise that unlike Sky, I am not being funded by advertising and subscribers and that my only income is from that of the clubs themselves who wish to hire my services. As I will now have to charge the clubs an extra £30 per match if they want a Waltham Sunday League Cup final filmed, most will probably not bother and it will be left up to non-professionals with mobile phones and palmcorders to do the job. (They are NOT being charged £30 by the way !)

I have accepted that my designing and updating of the League Website and filming of the League Cup Finals over the years has enhanced my profile enormously, and that because I am self-employed and the other League Officers are not, it does put me in an awkward position where it appears to most people that I only volunteered to do the website to ‘make money out of the League’. Unfortunately I have no way of proving that is not the case. However, what are the League’s Referees doing when they get paid £35.00 a match by the clubs ? Is that not ‘making money out of the League’ ?

Another bone of contention is that League Treasurer Malcolm Miller is claiming that the scrapping of my League Website (which costs the League £80.00 per year to host) and the £30.00 filming rights charge per Cup Final is because the League desperately need the money in case they start making a loss, but in the financial statements issued at the AGM, the League currently have £30,000 in the bank and made a £2,000 profit in the year ending 31st December 2010 ! In addition to that, another rule passed at the AGM (which some clubs DID complain about but were ultimately out-voted) was that all clubs will be charged £2.00 for EACH player registered for the coming season instead of having the first 30 registered free. Again, the League simply do not need this money with £30,000 already in the bank and it is just kicking clubs in the teeth. It was only voted in because most club secretaries are not remotely interested in the financial aspects of how the League is run as they have probably been forced into the job anyway and all they want to do is just get out on a pitch and play. At League meetings they just want to get home as soon as possible to watch Eastenders and having a debate is the last thing they want. Invariably if the League Management Committee propose something, it always gets voted in.

Getting back to the £30.00 filming rights rule (to be known as ‘Cup Rule 23’), the full wording of the rule reads as follows: ‘Any professional company or person wishing to film the League Cup Finals must get written permission from the League and give their CRB number for checking with the F.A. Also the League will charge £30.00 per Cup Final for filming rights.’

The CRB-check issue is one of the main reasons why I resigned, as a fellow Management Committee member brought about it’s inclusion in this new rule by saying that if Edmonton Rovers played his team he would refuse to let me film the game because he has a 17-year-old in his line-up. Although I am CRB-checked anyway, there is absolutely no need to have this rule in mens’ football. From my experience filming matches in recent seasons, the F.A. now treat all 16 and 17-year-olds playing in mens’ football as adults anyway. They have to, because otherwise 20,000 spectators at a Premier League match would have to be arrested for taking pictures of an under-18 player on the pitch with their mobile phones when they are not CRB-checked !

As for obtaining written permission from the League (i.e. General Secretary Denis Coventry), I would imagine that will not be a problem as long as I pay the £30.00, which I will if the clubs are prepared to pay it, but just imagine if Edmonton Rovers got through to our first (First Team) Cup Final for 27 years and for some reason permission to film was denied. How cruel would THAT be ? In addition to the possibility of us getting drawn in an earlier round against the team whose Secretary brought about the CRB-check inclusion (they are in the bottom Division and are not likely to get through to a Final), we have also been told by Denis Coventry that two teams who were in Division One last season do not want me filming the games and putting the highlights on You Tube…he refuses to tell me who those teams are…and that for all other matches I must get permission from the opposing team Secretary first. Just imagine then if an opposing club tells us we cannot film a game. Our players will be incensed, and there will be so much needle in the match it could well end up in a brawl or being abandoned.

As for the League Website, that will go offline on the 4th August, and details of that (and my resignation) are currently on the Home Page. The League Tables, Results & Fixtures (from the League Website for all divisions) will be put on this website instead from the 4th August, probably as a new separate section. The League will not be able to stop me doing that, as the F.A. actually recommend that clubs do that for their own websites by using the HTML copy & paste code on the embedded feeds tab on the Full-Time site. All I want to do is just continue to make things as easy and enjoyable for our players first and foremost in terms of having a website where they can find things and in being able to see themselves in action on You Tube. If anybody tries to stop me, they will have to be prepared for a legal challenge if necessary.

  

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG ! - Tuesday 3rd May 2011

Well...our 11-a-side season has now come to an end with us finishing in our customary lower-half-of-the-table place in Division One, but comfortably avoiding relegation once again and not getting anywhere near a Semi-Final place in any of the three Cup Competitions we enter. If you  scroll down to the bottom of this page to the Archive League Tables from the last 10 seasons and look at the last five before this one, you will see what I mean ! There is no doubt that the main reason for us being a ‘slightly less-than-average’ side year after year is the lack of availability week-in, week-out of a lot of our better players, many of whom now have more important commitments on Sundays and are gradually drifting into retirement as a result. Indeed this season, Steve Cokell and Andrew Warmerdam  both had to stop playing after Christmas due to family commitments, while club stalwarts Stuart Dorward, Conor McGovern and Darryl Johnson have all now announced their retirement after a season disrupted by work or social commitments and not being able to attend training. It goes without saying that we will be making every effort to get an AGM organised this year so that we can give these players the send-off that they all deserve. There is no doubt whatsoever that Stuart and Conor would both be in the starting line-up for an All-Time Rovers XI  from  our 35-year history, while Darryl is definitely one of the better goalkeepers we have had play for us over the years. Looking through our results this season though, there were a lot of matches in which neither Stuart or Conor played in which we put up very good performances against some quality sides, and indeed there were only two matches in which we played really badly and got ‘thrashed’...the 6-1 defeat to Turnford Geese the day after their Manager had passed away (we were probably always going to be on the end of a hiding in that one), and the 6-1 defeat to East Herts in our first game back after Christmas when we fielded a bare eleven including a lot of very unfit players...which included Steve Cokell, Tony King, Danny Smith, Stuart Dorward and Conor McGovern. All good players, but they cannot come training...and there is the key to any future success for us in my opinion. Next season we will most definitely be having midweek training sessions again on Wednesday nights at the Southgate Hockey Centre as there is no doubt whatsoever that the younger players we have at the club now have all improved as a result of that. We will be looking to sign up more new, younger players who are prepared to attend training and we will keep building our team up again based on that. There are so many good young sides in our Division now (e.g. East Herts, Flamstead End & Asco, while F.C. Alpha are another one who will be in our Division next year) that we must keep up with them and try and compete on level terms fitness-wise and in fostering a team spirit where everybody wants to turn up and play every week.
Another new development next season is that the Football Association are bringing in match-based suspensions for sending-offs in Sunday League football instead of the ‘x-amount of days’ suspensions that we have always had in the past. Normally we would not be too bothered about this because up until this season it was extremely rare for us to have a player sent off. However, this season we have had  four players red carded, and we also had an incident in a recent match where Jacko thought he could get away with hurling abuse at opposing players and the Referee from the touchline as a ‘spectator’ (like he would if he was in the crowd at a Stoke City match !) just because he was injured and not named as one of our substitutes ! That could easily have been another sending-off, or more likely a massive fine for the club, as unknown to most of our players (I suspect ?), in Sunday League football, anybody standing on the touchline who is shouting in support of one club or another is deemed to be a club official/player. So in theory, somebody who we do not know could just come over Hazelwood to walk their dog, see the Referee make a bad decision and then shout abuse at him. We would then get the blame as the Home club, or maybe even our opponents might get the blame if he is standing near to them on the touchline at the time ! Laughable I know, but that has always been the F.A.’s stance and there have been previous instances of teams in our League being heavily fined by their affiliated County F.A. for ‘failing to control spectators’ !

The new match-based suspensions scheme is going to greatly benefit Sunday League football in my opinion though. It means that instead of getting a 35-day ban for ‘violent conduct’ or a 21-day ban for ‘serious foul play’, players will now be suspended for matches instead, the same number as professional players receive. (i.e. only 2 or 3 matches for those offences instead of 5 if games are not postponed due to bad weather). Also, a new rule is coming into effect where anybody sent off playing for a Sunday Club is only suspended from playing for that club. He can still play for his Saturday club while he is suspended for his Sunday club. It also works the other way round where a suspended Saturday player can play for a Sunday club during that suspension. What this could mean (hopefully as far as I am concerned) is Managers from Ryman and Spartan South Midlands League clubs now allowing (and even encouraging) their non-contracted players to play Sunday League football in a good standard like ours, when previously they had put the block on it because of the fear of them getting sent off and suspended for 35 days, thereby missing as many as 10 of their matches (because Saturday clubs play on Tuesday nights as well). Ryman League Team Managers can now use Sunday League teams to keep players match fit while they are suspended for their Saturday club or have been an unused substitute the day before, while they may even go as far as using Sunday League sides as a Reserve Team for their promising younger players , who will benefit more from playing against the experienced ex-semi-pros that we have in our League than the 16-18 year-olds who play in the Saturday Reserve Leagues . There will still be some Saturday Managers who (wrongly) think Sunday League footballers are a bunch of thugs and that there is too much risk of their players getting injured, but that’s nonsense really. A player is just as much likely to get injured in training or in an accident at home ! If what I am hoping here comes to fruition, then we must use any contacts we have with semi-professional football on Saturdays and snap some players up before other clubs in our Division get in first...and they will most certainly have some contacts there. Inviting non-contracted Ryman League players along to play 7-a-side for us will be a start.

  

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG ! - Monday 28th February 2011

Although I am very negative most of the time concerning Rovers prospects on the field of play, after Sunday’s 1-0 win against fellow relegation candidates McKenzie Rangers I am now in a very positive frame of mind about the future.

I had spoken to one or two players during the week who admitted they were getting a bit ‘pissed off’ with us never being in contention to win anything (Yes, my major gripe as well) because hardly any of our players are prepared to throw themselves into challenges and get booked, sent off or injured for the cause ‘like other teams do’. Yes, we have too many players who are apparently ‘too nice’ and only want to play for fun because they invariably have young families, responsible jobs or other commitments which are more important, not to mention being unable to attend training in most cases, while too many of our younger players are ‘too small and are not tough enough’. That was the accusation/criticism/concern before we faced McKenzie Rangers on Sunday and I admit that I agreed with most of that. Indeed a feeble performance in that game may well have seen at least one good player leave the club...and in fact others may already have done so judging from their failure to get in touch and let the Manager know if they were available or not !

However, what we got instead was a starting line-up including no less than eight players who had attended training during the week...the first time we had fielded as many as that for about 10 years !?, and all eleven players on the pitch going through the pain barrier to fight for each other and defend like trojans in securing all three points for us against all the odds when we were missing eight first-choice players including Terry Moore, who had to go off at Half-Time with a back injury. Although Terry’s replacement Martin Loveday had not trained for several weeks due to a groin strain and was still two weeks away from returning to action, he ignored the pain to help Alan Barnard and new signing Martin Worthington completely snuff out the threat of our ex-forwards Leon McKenzie-McKay and Daniel Daley, while Colin Bester, Lee King and John Scouller all lasted a full match when they wouldn’t normally. Jacko concentrated for the full 90 minutes in goal and didn’t put a hand or foot wrong, and Stuart Dorward, Rob Brown and Danny Smith all played their part with their experience being crucial, despite not being as sharp fitness-wise as some of our other players who regularly attend training. Man-Of-The-Match though was Yann Kyriacou, who produced a performance in the centre of midfield which was arguably better than any of our Greats Of The Past managed in their first 90 minutes for the club. All in all, it was an excellent battling performance by everybody, and with a great team spirit as well, and those who may have been sceptical before the match about that ever happening were made to eat their words.

Despite all that, there is one thing that we do need to get sorted out and that our newer players need to be made aware of (or reminded of)...communication between players and Manager Trevor Hughes before and after the squad is announced.

Unlike the Managers of virtually all other Sunday League teams, both at mens and Youth level that our newer players may have played for before joining us, Trevor will not phone players of his own accord and speak to them in an effort to check their availability, persuade them to play, and tell them if they are going to be in the starting line-up or not. He will only do that if they phone him. If any players did not play the previous week or attend training the Wednesday after where they could speak to him face-to-face and inform him of their availability for the coming Sunday’s match, he expects them to either put a message on the Forum or to e-mail, text or phone him...and if they don’t, then as far as he is concerned they are unavailable and he will put somebody else in the squad instead. For the McKenzie Rangers match, we had a situation where on Friday (when Trevor was busy at work), we only had 10 players because of people not confirming their availability. I then had to send a Facebook message to Dean to tell him  to make sure he turned up as he would definitely be playing...so that it would not end up with me having to play. Dean didn’t reply though. On Saturday (when I am busy working all day), Danny Smith then finally got in touch with Trevor to ask why he had not been put in the squad ! Trevor then told him he would be starting because he had contacted him (albeit belatedly) whereas Dean had not...and Dean also owed over £25.00 in subs, for which we always drop players when we have got eleven available who do not owe above that limit. So...Dean turned up on Sunday expecting to play and then refused to come on as a Sub because he was too upset at being left out when I had told him he would be starting. Thankfully Dean was fine when I spoke to him afterwards and he accepted that he is the only player owing subs over the limit and it was fair enough to drop him because of that, but it didn’t look good at the time and it all could have been avoided if players (and Dean & Smithy are by no means the only ones) were aware that they must phone Trevor (not me !) to discuss their availability, their position in the team and whether they will be starting or not.  Trevor’s number can be found here on the Management Committee page. Please enter it in your mobile phone address books and please phone him if you have not spoken to him at training the Wednesday before. A Saturday is the best time to catch him unless Arsenal are at Home. Please only phone me if you are unsure of where we are playing or want to know if a match is still on or not in dodgy weather. Hopefully the rest of the season will now run more smoothly in this respect ? LAURENCE HUGHES

  

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG ! - Monday 24th January 2011

On the Friday before our Home match against Wormley Rovers when our opponents phoned to say they would be conceding the match due to a lack of players, I immediately thought ‘O.K., let’s use the pitch for a training session so that our four new players can come along with their passport photos and get registered in time for next week, while meeting all our first-choice players at the same time’, most of whom cannot attend training on Wednesday night of course. It just didn’t occur to me that well over half of our players who were originally available for the match would therefore take the chance to do other things ranging from working, resting groin strains, studying, and  probably most of all, deliberate excessive clubbing the night before...and I suspect that wasn’t just Terry Brown, but a number of others who dropped out on Sunday morning without giving an excuse (or giving a false one).

I put long messages on the Forum, I e-mailed everybody and I texted everybody, specifically warning them that they would not be picked for the squad the following Sunday if they did not attend this session or the forthcoming Wednesday  night’s session, but some players didn’t read any of them or just ignored them ! Danny Smith then complained on the Forum that he will always work on a Sunday if we do not have a match and that he cannot come training on Wednesdays due to other commitments, so what I was asking for was complete ‘bollix’...and in hindsight he is right ! We simply have far too many players who are in the same predicament as him where they cannot train on Wednesday nights, while they are invariably in a situation on a Saturday night/Sunday morning where they have no choice but to drop out when other things suddenly crop up that are more important than playing Sunday morning football. Is clubbing/partying on a Saturday night and getting too pissed to play the following morning more important than playing for Rovers in a run-of-the mill League match with nothing at stake ? Of course it is, especially if it’s a family do or it’s a social function beneficial to a player’s job in terms of ‘networking’. Also, can we realistically expect players to think about Rovers and respond to e-mails, texts and Forum messages between Mondays-Fridays when they are massively busy with work & family commitments ? No we can’t...and in a lot of cases not on Saturdays either. We just have to accept that and put up with players dropping out on a Sunday morning when they originally indicated they would be playing. We simply cannot only pick players for the squad on a Sunday who turn up to training because too many of them are even more unreliable on Sundays than the players who cannot come training, while others are simply not good enough to play at Division One level as a first-choice player yet, although most of them probably will be if they continue to attend on Wednesday nights. We therefore have no option but to continue picking our best 14-16 players each Monday for the following Sunday’s game unless they  have already told us at that stage that they are definitely unavailable. I have complained in recent weeks about Trevor putting in players who say they are 50/50 because of injury and who will not be able to let us know if they are playing until the morning of the match, but I think it is now the right idea for him to continue doing that. If we end up with 5 players all dropping out on the morning of the match because of that or other reasons and we end up fielding a bare eleven or less because it is too short notice to call other players up (or because players do not want to come along to be a substitute and run the line), then so be it. It is just something we will have to live with. We know that a non-fulfilment or two is inevitable in some of our remaining fixtures this season because of this, but we will just have to put up with it and pay the fine...which is now £85.00 per match ! If there is not enough money in the club account, we will divide the fine up between all registered players, and if they don’t pay it, myself and Trevor will have to pay it out of our own pockets. Most clubs fold up when they get to that situation, but obviously I want to keep the club going as it is part of my video business.

As I said here on the Forum though, at least those who were there for training at Hazelwood enjoyed themselves, despite the poor turnout. The team spirit is still good. I just have to accept that we as a club are never going to get back to the ‘good old days’ of the 1979-1980 Season when we only used 14 players all season, everybody turned up to training, and we won two trophies and finished Runners-Up in another. I have been way too hopeful and living in the past for too long. It’s time to be more realistic and just accept that virtually all of our players will only play for us on a Sunday if they are not doing something else. We are not the priority and probably never will be.   LAURENCE HUGHES
P.S. I don’t know why I am writing all this as none of our players will have time to read it !

  

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG ! - Monday 17th January 2011

Well, I was right about us losing to Flamstead End in the League Challenge Cup on Sunday...meaning we are now out of all three Cups and have just pride to play for in Division One this season, but at least the players who made an effort to turn up gave a much more committed performance and we were certainly in with a real chance of getting something out of the game against very good opponents when we were only 1-0 down with 20 minutes to go. ‘Warmers’ sending-off  in the 71st minute was unfortunate and ‘one for the team’ and we definitely can’t blame him for our defeat. The worry at the time was the length of the ban and the amount of fine that Warmers would get, but a sending-off for a professional foul is only a 7-day suspension, unless the Referee deems it as ‘Serious Foul Play’ (a 3-week ban), but that would be extremely harsh if he does. With Warmers not being available to play every week anyway due to family commitments, the suspension is unlikely to be a problem. However, the fine is £15.00 plus another £10.00 admin fee, which I think is a bit steep myself and a bit unfair if Warmers has to pay all that himself. In the interests of the excellent and ever-improving team spirit we have at the moment, I think we should say Warmers pays half the fine (i.e. £12.50) and the remaining £12.50 is paid for by adding £1.00 on to the subs owed of the other 11 players who played in the match, plus myself & Trevor. We could even say that Tony King chips in a bit more to help pay Warmers’ fine as he gave the ball away in the first place with a terrible pass to leave him in the predicament where he ‘had to’ bring the player down to stop him scoring !? (Might need video evidence first though ?!). The sending-offs for Rob  and Lexton  before Christmas are another matter though. Players who get sent off for violent conduct or verbally abusing Referees deserve to get whatever they have thrown at them by the London F.A., and no way should the rest of us bail them out for those sort of offences. Please note though that we cannot afford to have any more players sent off this season for whatever reason, as we will get hauled up before the League and/or the London F.A. and it will be like going back to the dark ages of the 80’s for us in that respect when the likes of the Nurse brothers, Dave Ashton and the Dyers were in their prime ! (Just have a look at their sending-off records here !).
Now onto training, and I’m pleased to say that last Wednesday night saw us have an excellent turnout of 16 there at the Southgate Hockey Centre, despite several players who normally attend deciding to stay at home and watch Arsenal on TV (presumably ?). We had two prospective new players in attendance. John Scouller, a forward who contacted us initially during the Summer but then didn’t turn up for some reason was one of them. He apparently knows Dean and Lee from playing at Powerleague in Tottenham, so he has now come along on the back of that and was watching our game against Flamstead End on Sunday. He appears to be a big target-man-type player with a good touch, and we will take a further look at him in training over the next couple of weeks or so. Also in attendance was ‘Martin’ (I didn’t get his surname’), a tall defender who Jacko brought along. He also looked a good player and as far as I know he is interested in signing up as his previous side in the Barnet Sunday League have recently folded. I didn’t really speak to Martin last Wednesday night, but I believe he is a Scouser who is either the Caretaker or a Teacher at Jacko’s son’s Primary School...although I may be wrong ?  I also have another potential new player e-mailing me who wants to come along this Wednesday night and I will contact him shortly. We are not exactly desperate for new players at the moment, but I will continue to allow trialists to come along to training for the time being as I am very concerned with the attitude of a lot of our registered players who often turn up to training but are not in our first-choice 14-16 players at the moment. We have had numerous occasions this season...and last Sunday Away to Flamstead End was one of them...where players named in the squad have had to drop out on a Saturday or Sunday, but then virtually all other registered players who were not in the squad initially but put on standby to come in after attending training simply disappear and refuse to answer text or voicemail messages from 10.00.p.m. on a Saturday evening onwards, thereby leaving us with just a bare eleven. This is obviously because they ‘know’ they are only going to be a substitute, but that is not always the case. On Sunday against Flamstead End, Lee King made an effort to turn up (and before the kick-off !) and he ended up getting a full 90 minutes because of other players dropping out. We MUST find some players who are willing to come along and go sub at short notice (i.e. from a 9.30-10.00.a.m. Sunday morning phone call or text message), and if these new players who are attending training are prepared to do that, we will call them up first ahead of longer-standing club members who have been turning up to training all season but are always seemingly asleep when they are suddenly needed at the last minute on a Sunday morning. If certain players want to continue coming training every week but do NOT want to be called up on a Sunday morning (because it is too short notice), that’s fine by me, but they MUST let us know so that we do not waste time phoning & texting players who are never going to attend.   LAURENCE HUGHES

  

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG ! - Monday 10th January 2011

In my last ‘Chairman’s Blog’ just after New Year’s Day, I was talking up our chances very positively of competing with the teams at the top of Division One for the rest of this season and that we had a squad as good as any...based on the excellent performances in our pre-Christmas matches Away to AFC Cheshunt and before that, Charlton United. However, the subsequent 6-1 Home defeat to East Herts in our first game back after a long Christmas break has now confirmed what we probably knew all along, and boy do I have egg on my face...much to the amusement of some of East Herts’ players who presumably read my Blog on here !? Other teams in our Division are still fitter than us, they have a better team spirit and will to win than us, they are more committed to turning up to matches and training than us, and consequently we are left with a season of just ‘playing for fun’ yet again...even though we are still left in one Cup ! Yes, judging by our dreadful lack of practice and fitness against East Herts and the continued reluctance of players to turn up when they have an inkling that they ‘might be a Sub and will therefore have to run the line’, we do not really have a cat in hell’s chance of beating Flamstead End this coming Sunday unless they shoot themselves in the foot by turning up with a weak side and score a couple of Own Goals for us. Even if all our players turned up to training this coming Wednesday night, we are not going to gain a good enough level of fitness in such a short space of time. With the average age of our first-choice side being about 35, we are only going to be competitive against these quality sides if our first-choice players play more-or-less every week, as was the case just before Christmas. Now, we are probably going to have a situation where matches get postponed every other week because of frozen or waterlogged pitches, and that will only make matters worse, with players losing their fitness like they obviously have over the Christmas period. So...let’s put some of the youngsters in who come training then ? Well, yes. That would be alright if they actually turned up to matches whenever we put them in the squad, and especially when they were going to be put in the starting line-up ! Half the time they can’t get out of bed and don’t turn up until Half-Time (or at all), or they go down with a mystery illness at 4.00.a.m. on a Sunday morning.  This is now the 8th season in a row where come this time of year we suddenly realise we are just ‘Playing For Fun’. Up until now that has resulted in at least one ‘Non-Fulfilment of Fixture’ per season, two or three Double-Headers where we field just a bare eleven because players don’t want to come along and play in one one-hour match and then watch the other, and numerous 6,7 or 8-goal defeats where too many of our better players decide to work and give Rovers a miss in order to let others play...only everybody else has got the same idea. However, maybe we can just keep people interested this season and avoid these Non-Fulfilments and bare eleven ‘disasters’ ? Although our Caretaker/Player-Manager Stuart Dorward did have a major rant at Half-Time against East Herts and our players were arguing with each other a lot during the game, there did not appear to be any problems afterwards and it seemed that all our players were philosophical about the defeat and accepted that it was simply down to a lack of practice & fitness.  We can still ‘Play For Fun’ for the rest of this season but look to improve at the same time. Yes, it hurts badly that we haven’t won a trophy for 23 years, but there is no need to give up completely and put the club’s future in jeopardy again (as happened towards the end of last season).  LAURENCE HUGHES

  

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG ! - Monday 3rd January 2011

It seems a long time ago now after our long Christmas break, but just to refresh your memories...our last two matches saw us produce performances which proved to me that we are as good as any team in the League (Premier Division included) on our day, and indeed as good as most of the top Sunday teams in London ! Yes, we lost both games, but in the last one we were 3-0 down at Half-Time against the most in-form team in the whole League (AFC Cheshunt) and only ended up losing 4-3 to a disputed Injury-Time goal, despite them fielding a full-strength side. I spoke to the Referee afterwards who told me we were the best team he had seen so far this season and that we were very unlucky not to win. I know most of our players think that was his fault, but nevertheless, it was encouraging to hear him say that none of the teams he had refereed in the Premier Division so far this season had been as good as us, and indeed he is not the first Referee I have spoken to who thinks that ourselves and five other teams in the top half of the Division One table (namely AFC Cheshunt, Hop Poles, East Herts, Flamstead End & Turnford Geese) are all better sides (and well-run clubs) than any who are currently in the Premier Division. Last season, Division One sides won both the League Challenge Cup and the League Senior Cup, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens again this season. Already this season two teams have dropped out of the Premier Division due to a lack of players, while even Enfield Rangers (the Premier Division Champions for the past six years) have been turning up for some of their matches with just a bare eleven or less, as have virtually all the other teams in the Division. For some fixtures, a Premier Division side will field a full-strength side though with numerous top-quality Ryman League players included, as Larsens did here when they beat East Herts 3-0 in the League Challenge Cup back in September, but invariably, once teams gain promotion to the Premier Division, their Senior Saturday players stop playing on Sundays or sometimes it’s a case of players simply being ‘too old’ by the time they have progressed up the Divisions into the Premier and they then have to stop playing due to family commitments and/or long-term injuries. This seems to be the case with Enfield Royals and Spenny Rangers (who have both dropped out of the League) and Cheshunt Corinthians, who have not been fielding anything like as strong a side as they were doing last season in winning the Division One title and have already lost several matches as a result. (The current Premier Division Table can be found here on the League Website).

As for the strength of our side compared to other teams in London, our narrow 3-2 defeat to Charlton United (after extra time) in our second-from-last match (way back on the 21st November) was another really excellent performance. From speaking to people ‘in the know’, they are undoubtedly one of the top 4 or 5 sides in London, they were fielding pretty much a full-strength side, and they will more than likely go on to win the trophy.

Although almost half our first-choice side cannot attend, I do think having midweek training sessions this season is definitely starting to make a difference. Jacko is looking a far better goalkeeper because he regularly attends training, while Lee & Dean are looking more and more confident in matches because they regularly attend training. I am expecting quite a few others to regularly attend from this Wednesday onwards and maintain their fitness levels, which will hopefully give us an advantage over other clubs (for a change) if we have matches called off on Sundays due to bad weather.

We do have a very strong squad now, but personally I think three players may be the key to making it even better and giving us a real chance of winning a trophy this season. These are Danny Smith, Andrew Warmerdam & Tom Watts. We know Smithy cannot come training due to family commitments, but he showed against AFC Cheshunt that he is also capable of playing as a very useful forward as well as in a central midfield position. It is unlikely that we will have a full-strength side available every week. There is always somebody unavailable, and indeed Lexton is suspended for our next two matches. Smithy can therefore play up front alongside Conor for those two games, but I don’t think anybody would disagree that we have been at our best this season on the rare occasions that Conor & Lexton have played together in attack. If we have everybody else available in midfield for a particular match, Smithy (and one or two other quality players) may have to be named as a substitute...and that’s where in the past we have had a problem with players refusing to do that. We must change that mentality for the good of the team if we want to win the trophy (or two) we are capable of this season. Warmers meanwhile has said he will try and start attending training sessions. If he could make himself available for something like 2 out of every 3 matches for the rest of this season and be prepared to ‘go sub’ if all our other defenders were fit and available, then that would be another massive boost to our trophy-winning chances. Finally, Tom Watts. Those who have been attending training will know what a good player he looks. He is fit, very quick, skilful and direct and I can certainly see him causing some damage to opposing defences on Sundays in an attacking midfield role either on the left or the right, or maybe even as a forward alongside Conor or Lexton. His preferred form of football is Futsal where he is currently playing for F.C. Enfield on Sunday mornings (alongside various Enfield Town and other Ryman League players). However, looking at their poor results so far this season and the number of red & yellow cards their players keep getting, hopefully we can persuade him that playing 11-a-side for us might be a better option instead !? He should be available for some of our matches from the 16th January onwards anyway as F.C. Enfield do not have a match every week.

I am aware that one or two players were unhappy with being left out of the squad for the AFC Cheshunt game because Stuart (our Caretaker Manager for the day) decided to put better players in due to the quality of our opponents, even though these players brought in had not been attending training or playing in previous matches. However, we have had 20 seasons now of ‘playing for fun’ and putting players in the squad even when they are badly unfit or are not currently good enough for the level we are playing at...just because they are loyal club members and a ‘good laugh’. We won’t be ‘bending the rules’ so blatantly every week in order to give us a better chance of winning a particular match, but it’s obvious that we are going to have to be more ruthless to some extent and pick our ‘best’ available & registered players if we want to win a trophy. It’s what those other five quality teams in Division One do every week. None of them play for fun. They have fun after they have held that trophy aloft. I have also heard comments from some of our players that ‘we don’t want to get promotion to the Premier Division because we won’t be good enough if we get back up there’. Nonsense I say ! Yes, it’s possible that one or two of our current players might have to retire through ‘old age’, but I am convinced that we will be able to attract some quality Premier Division/ex-Semi-Pro standard players to the club if that happened, especially now they can see how good we are on You Tube and once this website has been fully updated. I am very confident about the rest of this season and I say ‘let’s go for it’ !   

  

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG ! - Monday 20th December 2010

You might think that I would be frustrated with matches having to be called off because of snow or frost in December, but as it happens, I think it is probably a good thing in our case as we have so many players nowadays who work and have family commitments on Sundays just before Christmas and up until the second Sunday in January. If it is going to snow and/or freeze up pitches for a month or so, I would much rather it happen in December and early January than from mid-January to the end of February, which was the case last season...thereby resulting in us having to play five Double-Headers in March & April ! Not being able to play due to the weather when players are available to play is what makes them leave and pack up playing football on Sunday mornings altogether, thereby resulting in clubs folding...which very nearly happened to us during the Summer, partly for those reasons. Following the ‘debacle’ on Sunday 5th December when both Enfield & Broxbourne Councils called off all their pitches the Thursday beforehand due to a centimetre of snow on them at the time (yet the pitches were all in perfect condition on the morning of the match), I e-mailed Enfield Council (on behalf of the club, not the League) to ask what exactly their policy is in making these decisions. As we hire Hazelwood Sports Ground from them directly as opposed to hiring it via the League, they were actually prepared to admit to me that they were too hasty in calling the pitches off on that Thursday and would now make the decisions on a Friday instead. Interestingly, they said that decisions on whether snow-bound  (and waterlogged) pitches are playable or not cannot be made by Referees on the day of the match because they are not covered by Public Liability Insurance. That means the Council get sued if somebody breaks their leg on a snow-covered pitch, not the Referee. As Saturday or Sunday pitch inspections by Council groundsmen are now very rare due to cost-cutting, that (and clubs having to be notified by Mon-Fri 9-5 employees at the Civic Centre) is why all games get called off by the Council before the weekend if there is the slightest covering of snow or in the case of heavy rain, the slightest sign of a puddle forming ! It’s all to do with the ‘Compensation Culture’ and nothing to do with being unable to mark the lines out because of the snow or being unable to cut the grass because it is too wet, which is normally the ‘official line’. For frozen pitches though, that is still down to the Referee, even though they don’t have Public Liability Insurance. Obviously, if the local Councils called off every pitch on a Thursday or a Friday whenever the weather forecast says there might be a frost on a Saturday night, then hardly any games would get played during the Winter at all. They rely on Referees to call games off or wait for up to an hour for the pitch to thaw out, and invariably they do. It’s all a far cry from Rovers early days back in the late-70’s and early-80’s. Back then we regularly played on pitches with massive puddles in the penalty areas, frozen pitches which sometimes didn’t thaw out at all, and most memorably, one game at Montagu Rec when we lost 10-1 to Crescent in a game played on a pitch covered in almost a foot of snow ! Also in those days, Enfield Council groundsmen only had Christmas Day off, not a whole two weeks like they do now ! That meant we always played on the Sunday before Christmas, the Sunday between Christmas and New Year, and on one occasion we actually played a morning kick-off on New Year’s Day ! (We lost 12-0 because our players had all been out on the lash, but our opponents Queensway Athletic were top of the table and none of them celebrated New Year’s Eve at all !). I don’t advocate we go back to those days, but obviously the ‘Compensation Culture’ problem  needs to be sorted out to some extent, otherwise mens’ Sunday morning football could just die completely in the next few years.  LAURENCE HUGHES

  

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG ! - Wednesday 17th November 2010

I have to admit that during the Summer we were in a mess. Although the Summer 7-a-side League turned out to be o.k. with plenty of interest from players and no massively heavy defeats like we normally have, we had failed to field a team for our last 11-a-side match of the season against Enfield Royals, we had no ‘proper’ AGM, no end-of-season awards for the players, no Goal Of The Season competition, no updated website, no highlights on You Tube from our last five matches, and most worryingly of all, we very nearly had to merge with our Division One rivals McKenzie Rangers and/or fold the club up completely after 34 years !  A lot of that was my fault due to work commitments in filming an increasing number of Cup Finals & Tournaments, and indeed it is still unlikely that I will get the backlog of matches edited and a Goal Of The Season DVD done for a few months yet. However, there is now some light at the end of the tunnel, as this new website is now starting to take shape and I have until mid-March to spend quite a lot of time on it and get most of the pages completed before my ‘busy season’ starts work-wise. We now have a new Club Management Committee where the members are all based locally and are willing and able to help me with some of the jobs I have done myself for many years, so things are looking up in that respect. Martin Loveday’s Prediction Competition is bringing much-needed fund-raising revenue in to the club funds and we have people on board who are taking a lot of pressure off me so that I can catch up on updating the website and clearing the backlog of match video editing. There are some decent sponsorship deals for a new kit and a new set of warm-up tops in the pipeline once this website is completed and our videos on You Tube can be publicised properly. Also, we have now started midweek training sessions for the first time for years, and although not everybody can attend, it is starting to make a difference to our performances on Sundays I feel. We have some good new younger players now who will hopefully serve us well in the future, while it is great to have Lexton Harrison back to replace the now-departed Daniel Daley. Although we have had one or two disappointing performances this season where I had to have a major rant, all in all, things are not looking too bad at the moment and it looks like we could be on course to have a much better season than we originally anticipated.  LAURENCE HUGHES