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 2011-2012

APPEARANCES

CHAIRMANSBLOG

MATCH REPORTS

APPEARANCES & GOALSCORERS SEASON 2011-2012 (INCLUDES PRE-SEASON FRIENDLIES) CHAIRMAN’S BLOGS SEASON 2011-2012

ORC SPORTS WALTHAM (SUNDAY) FOOTBALL LEAGUE

FINAL DIVISION ONE TABLE

NAME

APPEARANCES

GOALS

NAME

APPEARANCES

GOALS

Alan BARNARD

21


Ben KEATING

25

8

Tim BEEDEN (GK)

2


Lee KING

20

6

Colin BESTER

5


Tony KING

21

1

Terry BROWN

5


Ricky KYAGABA

10


Daniel CASCOE

21

3

Martin LOVEDAY

13


Steve COKELL

23

3

Conor McGOVERN

1


Martin CRUICKSHANK

23

1

Leon McKENZIE-McKAY

10

2

Daniel DALEY

22

13

Terry MOORE

25

1

Danny HAGAN

20

4

Vernon NXUMALO

4


Lexton HARRISON

22

7

John SCOULLER

16

2

Simon JACKSON (GK)

17


Danny SMITH

3


Darryl JOHNSON (GK)

4





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 7th August

INTER TRAC

‘Home’

Pre-Season Friendly

Lost 0-3

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 14th August

SPORTING ENFIELD

‘Home’

Pre-Season Friendly

Won 3-0

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 21st August

U.S. ACLI

‘Home’

Pre-Season Friendly

Won 5-2

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 28th August

ALLENBURYS

Away

Pre-Season Friendly

Won 2-0

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 4th September

BROXBOURNE RANGERS OLD BOYS

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Drew 1-1

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 11th September

ST. MARY’S (EDMONTON)

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 2-3

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 18th September

ASCO

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 0-3

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 25th September

FLAMSTEAD END

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 3-5

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 2nd October

ABBEY YOUTH OLD BOYS

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Won 2-1

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 9th October

BROXBOURNE ATHLETIC

Home

Waltham Sunday League Challenge Cup, First Round

Lost 1-2

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 16th October

F.C. ALPHA

Home

Waltham Sunday League Senior Cup, First Round

Lost 0-1 (AET)

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 23rd October

F.C. ALPHA

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 1-3

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 30th October

ENFIELD CRUSADERS

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Drew 2-2

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 6th November

ASCO

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Won 2-1

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 13th November

ALBION MANOR

Home

London F.A. Sunday Intermediate Cup, Second Round

Lost 0-1

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 20th November

ST. MARY’S (EDMONTON)

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Won 3-2

Match Not Filmed

Sunday 27th November

BROXBOURNE RANGERS OLD BOYS

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Won 4-1

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 4th December

NO MATCH ARRANGED

Sunday 11th December

TURNFORD GEESE

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Won 2-1

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 18th December

ENFIELD CRUSADERS

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 0-3

 HIGHLIGHTS

25th December/1st Jan.

TWO-WEEK CHRISTMAS BREAK

Sunday 8th January

CUFFLEY

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 2-5

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 15th January

F.C. ROSEMILL

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Drew 2-2

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 22nd January

NO MATCH ARRANGED

Sunday 29th January

NO MATCH ARRANGED

Sunday 5th February

F.C. ROSEMILL

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

POSTPONED (Snow)

Sunday 12th February

FLAMSTEAD END

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

POSTPONED (Snow)

Sunday 19th February

F.C. ROSEMILL

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Won 7-1

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 26th February

CUFFLEY

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 2-5

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 4th March

TURNFORD GEESE

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 3-5

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 11th March

NO MATCH ARRANGED (Released)

Sunday 18th March

FLAMSTEAD END

Away

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 1-4

 HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday 25th March

F.C. ALPHA

Home

Waltham Sunday League Division One

Lost 2-7

 HIGHLIGHTS

      CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Thursday 21st July 2011

This time of year is an extremely busy one for me as a Club Secretary, especially in ensuring that we have enough players signing up to be able to compete in the Waltham Sunday League for the coming season. In order to do that, I have to make sure they all know what is happening in terms of training sessions, Pre-Season Friendlies, 7-a-side League matches and various club rules & regulations. You would think with this website we have a big advantage over other clubs in being able to communicate with players, but think again ! Following the cancellation of our Pre-Season Training session tonight (Thursday 21st July) it appears that things are just as difficult as when we first started in the late-70’s in terms of being able to contact our players, even though back then all we had was a home land-line...and if nobody answered that, the only way we could possibly let people know what was happening would be to post out type-written ‘circulars’ using ‘snail mail’ or just go out for a walk or a drive and knock on players’ doors !
So...why is it still a big problem getting in touch with players in this technological day and age ? Let’s take a look at what we have available and why our players have difficulty using it:

THIS WEBSITE...Quite a lot of our newer players actually don’t know it exists, mainly because the players bringing them along to the club cannot remember ‘www.edmontonrovers.co.uk’ or even know themselves that the website exists !  We then have probably 50% of our players who rarely have a chance to view the website because they do not have an internet connection at home (or a smartphone to be able to view it on the move), while they are in a job where they do not have access to the internet for much of the day, and even if they do, the boss is looking over their shoulder most of the time to stop them viewing the site. Also, there is ‘too much’ information on the website anyway and most of our players simply don’t have time to read it, especially the Latest Club News page.

THE FORUM...Some of our players actually look at (and occasionally post on) the Forum but never look at the rest of the website...because they have saved the Forum index page in their ‘Favourites/Bookmarks’ and then don’t know how to get to the website from there. In an attempt to help them out with that, I have now embedded the Forum into the website like this as well as keeping it as an external site (direct from Bravenet) like this. However, embedding the Forum in a Serif WebPlus X4-created website (as this is) evidently automatically makes it a Javascript-enabled and ‘Flash installation required’ message board which means that players using BlackBerrys, I-phones and other such devices cannot post messages unless they enable or download Javascript and Flash onto their phones/devices...which most don’t know how to do or are not prepared to do. They therefore have to use the Forum externally by clicking on the link at the top of the embedded Forum page but it is just too much mucking about to post a message on there, so most no longer bother. In fact most players cannot post on the Forum from their work computer anyway (and in some cases even read the Forum from there) because of sophisticated security software blocking the page, so without a home internet connection or a smartphone they are completely stuck for looking at or posting messages on the Forum most of the time unless they can use a friend’s computer or smartphone now and again.

E-MAILS...Every single one of our players has actually got an e-mail address, so I therefore regularly use that medium to send out ‘Rovers News’, ‘Video Notes’ and other information to everybody on a weekly basis. A lot of that information is actually quite important such as the amount of subs they owe and a deadline for them to pay it...this being the sort of thing which is not normally for the public domain on the Forum or the website. However, at least 50% of our current players have never replied to an e-mail and a large number of them have now admitted that although they have an e-mail address, they ‘never bother checking their inboxes any more’. Can you believe that ?!!! They then turn up to matches and/or training and haven’t got a clue that they owe x amount of subs or that I spotted them doing something bad (or good !) in a match while I was editing the footage !

TEXTING...There is no doubt about it. Texting is by far the most convenient and successful way of contacting players...normally. We still get players who are ‘too busy’ to even reply with just a simple ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’ to a question of ‘Can you come training on Thursday night ?  7.30.p.m. at the Southgate Hockey Centre’. Consequently we had to call the latest session off because we had no option but to take no reply as a ‘No’, even though my mobile phone’s ‘Delivery Reports’ indicated that all 20-odd texts I had sent out had been received ! The problem with texting is that I cannot give players all the necessary information using that method. It takes too long to type out because I do not have a smartphone and it is difficult to put in links to the club website. It is also very expensive, when using the Forum or e-mail to communicate is pretty much free...and a hell of a lot easier for me.

FACEBOOK...I have been on Facebook for a couple of years now and I think it is an excellent medium for contacting people. (Here’s my profile). About 70% of our players are also on Facebook but a lot of them are not ‘Friends’ with each other yet because we are basically a team full of strangers socially...at the moment. Obviously we are trying to improve that and when the Player Profiles pages are done on this website in late-August ready for the coming season, hopefully our players on Facebook will use the links I have got on there to become ‘Friends’. However, like they do with their e-mail addresses, quite a few of our players rarely Log In to Facebook even though they are a member, simply because they are blocked from doing so at work, don’t have an internet connection at home and don’t have a smartphone. In addition to that, a lot of our older players have no intention of joining Facebook, probably in case ex-girlfriends and other people who they (or their missus) don’t want to know start getting in touch. In fact one of our players actually uses a pseudonym on Facebook because of that, which means that very few of our players will end up being ‘Friends’ with him on there !

PHONING...For me, this is very much a last resort...and the reason why ? Whenever I phone our players, it always seems to be at an inconvenient time. Most of them seem to work ridiculously long hours between 7.00.a.m. until 9.00.p.m. Monday-Thursday, albeit with a three-hour ‘brokers lunch’ between mid-day and 3.00.p.m, then they work 7.00.a.m. until 4.00.p.m. on a Friday and then either piss it up in a noisy bar from then until midnight or go away abroad for a long weekend (therefore missing our match on the Sunday anyway). I can’t phone them during the day on a Saturday as I am then working all day myself...right up until midnight. Whenever I have phoned players after 9.00.p.m. on a Monday-Thursday evening, they have either been watching something ‘important’ on TV, shagging the missus (by the sound of it), or seemingly out of their head on drugs. (I think we can probably guess who that was bearing in mind what country he was born in !)  

So there you go. Welcome to the wonderful world of modern technology...not.

  

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Tuesday 30th August 2011

When Conor McGovern & Stuart Dorward both announced their retirement in May at the end of what was another disappointing trophy-less season and we then went on to lose most of our 7-a-side League matches on both Monday and Thursday nights during the early part of the Summer, our prospects for the coming season were looking a bit bleak and there was a fear that without those two club stalwarts we would probably end up getting relegated, especially if we relied on our newer younger players too much. The lowest point of the Summer was definitely on  Monday 4th July when we lost 9-1 to K & M Old Boys in a match where several players gave up, argued with each other and showed an appalling lack of fitness and effort. A couple of players in that line-up have not been seen since, presumably because of a mixture of disillusionment and other commitments, but others to their credit have knuckled down in Pre-Season and made an effort to improve their fitness and availability. Subsequently we have now gone on a run at 7-a-side where we are winning far more games than we are losing  and more importantly fielding a fairly settled side on both nights, while our four 11-a-side Pre-Season Friendlies during August have seen us produce very encouraging performances against decent opponents. In my opinion, these results have been because we have played really well and made our opponents look average. Believe me, all four teams we have played are used to winning and are up-and-coming, well-organised sides. We were a bit unlucky to lose the first of those matches against Inter Trac as we probably deserved a draw on the balance of play, but there was no doubt we were the better side in our three matches since and fully deserved our victories. The 3-0 victory against Sporting Enfield was an excellent win considering they had beaten us 6-1 last Summer, while U.S. Acli Manager Marcello Devizio (our ex-goalkeeper from the 90’s) claimed we were a much better side than both Turnford Geese and East Herts, two of our Division One rivals over the last few years who they also lost to in Pre-Season. In fact U.S. Acli won 10-0 in their following Pre-Season Friendly, which shows how well we played to beat them 5-2 ! In our final Pre-Season Friendly against a very fit and competitive Allenburys side, we produced another good result to win 2-0, but the best thing about the Pre-Season Friendlies this year was that we fielded a decent side of eleven fit players with at least three substitutes for all of them. The previous Summer we had players galore dropping out on the day of the match, only one substitute for most of the matches, players turning up after the kick-off, players having to go home at half-time due to ‘other commitments’, and players in the starting line-up who were badly unfit or simply not good enough. There was none of that this time, while the team spirit has been excellent, most players are paying their subs, and we now seem to have a core of about 16-18 players who are really committed, very fit (or at least making an effort to improve their fitness) and want to play more-or-less every week, which is something we have not had since our Premier Division days about 8 or 9 years ago.

We also have players who are capable of playing in different positions and understanding Manager Trevor Hughes’s changes in tactics. It looks as if we can now be effective playing either 3-1-4-2 or 3-4-1-2 (as we did last season), a straightforward 4-4-2, and particularly the Chelsea-style 4-3-3 we have been playing in our last two Friendlies. The reason that last formation has worked so well is because the three forwards (i.e. a combination of Daniel Daley, Lee King, Vernon ‘Kizza’ Nxumalo, Ben Keating and/or Leon McKenzie-McKay) are all so fit, fast and committed that they ALL chase back into midfield or even right back into defence if necessary to regain possession whenever an opposing defender goes on a run and looks to build an attack. Last season with our older players in attack, that simply never happened. It makes a massive difference and we look far more like scoring as a team as a result of putting defenders under pressure and forcing them into mistakes. Daley and Leon’s return to the club from the now defunct McKenzie Rangers is a massive boost, while Ben is another excellent signing and we definitely see him as ‘the new Stuart Dorward’ playing in midfield and making ‘lung bursting runs’ from there to get into the box. We will be working on that in training...for which it looks like most of our players will be able to attend. That’s another plus-point. 20-year-old Lee King deservedly won the Most Improved Player Award at the end of last season and just gets better and better. He has already scored  21 goals in 14 matches in the Thursday night 7-a-side League, and once he gets down the gym and fills out a bit, he could well go on to play in Senior Saturday (Semi-Pro) football like Conor & Stuart did after they joined us as teenagers back in the early-90’s. Ricky Kyagaba, Daniel Cascoe and particularly Martin Cruickshank are other excellent new signings for us this season. Cascoe is another one to re-join us from McKenzie Rangers and is improving his fitness all the time. He will be a key player for us this season in the centre of midfield. Ricky is another very fit and quick player and he will improve with training. Martin is another 20-year-old and like Lee King (who brought him along), he has blistering pace and gives us another dimension to our attacking play which  we have not had for several years. He will be able to play either at right-back, right wing-back or right midfield in a 4-4-2 depending on what formation Manager Hughes wants to play. Danny Hagan (our new Captain this season), Terry Moore & Alan Barnard have all been ‘quality’ as usual during Pre-Season, while Lexton Harrison has been showing in our last couple of Friendlies that Enfield Town were right to play him as a central defender during his spell there, although we will need to work on his passing out of defence at training ! The ‘revelation’ of Pre-Season for me though has been the performances of 33-year-old Steve Cokell and 35-year-old Tony King, both of whom have been playing in unfamiliar positions. Steve has been playing in a left-sided central midfield position in our 4-3-3 experiments and seems to be a lot fitter this Summer than in previous years for some reason. He is a quality passer of the ball and that position looks ideal for him if he can keep his fitness level up and play regularly. Tony has always played as a forward or as a wide midfield player in his time with us, but has fitted in superbly at left-back. We have nobody else who really wants to play there, so again, like Steve, if he can keep his fitness and play regularly, he could make that left-back spot his own. Hopefully we will also have the likes of Martin Loveday, Colin Bester, John Scouller, Yianni Kyriacou and Martin Worthington pushing for places in the side over the next few weeks, while other (mainly older) registered players who have not been about recently are more than welcome to come training and knuckle down to try and gain a place in the side. It’s entirely up to them.

Despite all the positives ON the pitch though, one thing that amazes me is what goes on on the touchline during our matches. Our substitutes, Manager Trevor Hughes (especially), the occasional Dad (e.g. Yianni’s) and various injured or ex-players who come along to watch all stand there talking about Arsenal (mainly) and other Premier League goings-on and never seem to actually concentrate on our game ! The only one who does is Darryl Johnson, but even he got caught up in an Arsenal debate during one of our Friendlies and it took about 5 minutes of shouting from our players before he, Trevor or anybody else on the touchline realised that somebody was injured and needed the medical kit brought on ! All other clubs we play have people on the line who are engrossed in the game and shouting encouragement, but we never seem to have that. About three years ago, we had one player who was named as a substitute...he has since left the club...who went and stood behind the goal talking to a relative for the whole match instead of warming up on the touchline with the rest of our substitutes, then he complained to Trevor afterwards that he was not brought on. It was because Trevor couldn’t find him ! The Club Linesman job is also a problem, even more so this season as Trevor will not be able to do it at all because he has ‘done his knee in’ somehow and can no longer run...not that he ever kept up with play when he was running the line anyway. He is also going to be away in Cyprus at various stages of the season following the passing away of his father-in-law over there, and that includes the St. Mary’s match on the 11th September when ‘somebody else’ will have to be Manager. I am not sure who though, as Martin Loveday is also not going to be available too much this season due to work & family commitments. Darryl has vowed to attend matches as a semi-retired player to help out when needed, but I’m not sure if he will fancy running the line every week. That should be a job for one of our substitutes...and don’t forget you get a credit off your subs if you volunteer for the job ! (See here for further details about that). We also still have players texting me asking ‘Is there a match this Sunday ?’ and expecting me to text them all the details when I don’t have a smartphone. Surely they can find an internet connection somewhere (so they can look at this page) and therefore not have to do that ?

So...let’s see our players forget about Arsenal this season and concentrate on  supporting Rovers instead. I think I know which team are more likely to win a trophy !

  

CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Wednesday 5th October 2011

On Sunday 2nd October, we finally managed our first win of the season with a rather fortunate 2-1 victory Away to Abbey Youth Old Boys. After three excellent performances in our final three Pre-Season Friendlies in which we played some quality football, none of our players were expecting it to take five matches before we got our first League win under our belts, but it’s mainly to do with the quality of opposition we are facing in Division One. Our last three opponents (Asco, Flamstead End and Abbey Youth Old Boys) all reached Cup Finals last season and are simply far better sides than anybody we played in Pre-Season, even though our Pre-Season opponents were all well-run clubs who are likely to be in contention to win trophies in their respective Leagues and divisions. The top two divisions in the Waltham Sunday League are such a good standard that most of our matches are like playing at Ryman League Division One North (Enfield Town) level. The players we are facing are so much fitter, stronger, experienced and well-organised than teams in the bottom two or three divisions of our League (or in most divisions of other Sunday Leagues) that we are given no time on the ball, and anybody who is not prepared to play one or two-touch (and practise it at training) is invariably going to get caught in possession. That is where a lot of our players are letting their heads go down as they want to run with the ball and take players on, but that is very difficult to do at the moment when the pitches are bone dry and rock hard. Some of our players are going to have to learn how to scrap and battle in this division so that we can ‘win ugly’ in some matches like we did against Abbey on Sunday. Daniel Daley didn’t give up and let his head go down on Sunday. He kept his concentration and took the only two chances to come his way to win us the match. That is what the rest of our attacking players will need to do in a lot of our matches this season, while dropping back into midfield or even defence to help out, even though they hate playing that way. Unfortunately, that is the standard we are playing in and that’s why our last three opponents have all been successful in recent seasons.

The lack of a win up until now has caused a lot of tension amongst our players, but that is always the case for us at this time of year because we always seem to get off to a bad start. One of the reasons for that is key players (and the Manager) going away on holiday as soon as the season starts, while signing up as many players as we can also causes a problem because as this is Sunday football and not the Ryman League, they all think they should be in the starting line-up irrespective of their work-rate, level of fitness and availability for training and/or previous matches. If, come the start of October they have regularly found themselves being named as a substitute or not even being picked for the squad, then invariably they will leave and join another club or they will work on Sundays instead. Last season we had  four or five players leave in October when they realised they were not going to get a regular game, and this season we have already had Danny Smith leave us this week to re-join St. Mary’s, we have had players doing Carlos Tevez impersonations and refusing to come on as a substitute, our various club Linesmen being ‘bollocked’ by our players for not flagging for offsides and then subsequently refusing to run the line for the rest of the match as a result, and players refusing to play to Manager Trevor Hughes’s instructions (or not understanding them ?) and doing their own thing. It’s all because we have not been winning matches when we were fully expecting to after the Pre-Season we had, but these sort of ‘disruptions’ happen at all levels of the game when teams are losing regularly. Unlike the Ryman League though, our players are not under contract, so they can do what they like. I have no complaints about that whatsoever. It’s fully understandable when you have to pay to play. Nobody wants to do that when you are not enjoying it and not getting value for money. Paying Annual Subs for Rovers is like paying for a session down the gym and then finding you can’t get on any of the equipment because everybody else is using it.

With Smithy leaving and others having disappeared or not bothering to pay their Annual Subs, some of our players are panicking and are already warning me that we are going to be playing with 10 men or less once it gets to Christmas if we continue to lose matches and ‘piss players off’ by not putting them in the starting line-up. However, I am confident that will not happen this season. Alan Barnard and Danny Hagan should both be back in action soon, and their absences in most of our League matches so far have been a massive loss. Having Martin Loveday available as an outfield player will also strengthen our defence considerably, and every season we always sign up new (or returning) players at some stage to boost the squad when others lose interest. Remember the impact that Yianni Kyriacou, Martin Worthington and John Scouller all made when they joined after Christmas last season ?

Yes, it’s quite possible that this could be yet another season where we come nowhere near winning Division One or reaching a Cup Final, but I still think we will go on a good run at some stage to finish higher up in the League than we did last season. Following the retirement of Stuart Dorward and Conor McGovern, that will not be a bad effort, as a lot of people predicted we would get relegated without those two. As long as everybody who played against Abbey on Sunday  stays with the club, things can only get better as far as I am concerned.

One thing we really must have in my opinion though is a non-playing Assistant Manager to help Trevor in getting tactics across to our players on the pitch and to shout and encourage. As Chairman, I could actually ‘sack’ my younger brother as Manager for our lack of success, but although man-management is not his strongest point (like myself), I agree 100% with his tactics and coaching ideas and there is no question whatsoever of me ‘removing him’ from his post ! Somebody to assist Trevor with the vocal and motivational stuff would be ideal and would make all the difference. It’s something we have never had in the 20 years he has been in charge...yes, 20 !!! I have asked Rob Brown if he is interested in doing that job while he is out with a long-term knee injury. If he is free from family commitments to be an Assistant Manager on a fairly regular basis and maybe even attend the odd Wednesday night training session to help with the coaching (and give his brother Terry a lift there !?), that would be absolutely ideal. Rob has the experience from playing in the top two divisions of our League for many years, and I’m sure he would be able to motivate our younger players. Let’s hope he agrees and can get down to Hazelwood this Sunday as we start our League Cup campaigns this season.

  

                           CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Thursday 17th November 2011

So…not for the first time during the last 25 seasons in which we have failed to reach a Cup Final (First Team, that is), we are out of all three Cup Competitions at the first hurdle. How frustrating is that ? It means we are now left with a pretty boring season in which we know we are probably going to finish in mid-table (or just below it) in Division One for the 8th season in a row, as we are certainly not going to finish above the current top three of Flamstead End, F.C. Alpha and Enfield Crusaders, but…as has been proved over the last few weeks…we are well capable of picking up points against fellow mid-table teams and therefore comfortably avoiding relegation. The biggest problem with only playing three Cup matches this season though is that we are now left with only 12 games to play, but there are still 23 weeks of the season left ! We are the only team in Division One who are out of all three Cups, and although there will be another team in that predicament after this coming Sunday’s League Senior Cup match between Turnford Geese and Enfield Crusaders, every other team in our division are still involved in Cup competitions, and in Flamstead End and F.C. Alpha’s case, more than one. The way both of those two teams are playing at the moment, they are quite likely to reach one or more of the Finals, so they are going to be playing for most of those 23 weeks, as will other teams in our division. If we have a bad winter again like we did last season, a backlog of fixtures in our division will then arise which could see teams having to play double-headers and midweek matches against us during April. We could therefore end up having 5 or 6 Sundays in a row without a game at some stage and 2 or 3 other Sundays in a row without a game on a couple of other occasions. In the past, that is when players have started to lose interest and we have ended up fielding a bare eleven for Double-Headers in particular with myself or Darryl Johnson having to play as outfield players. We have also been guilty of the odd non-fulfilment, invariably on the day of the match…which infuriates the opposition, especially when they are already out on the pitch warming up (as happened Away to Northmet a few years ago !). However, that may not happen this season as we now have 12-14 players who are very committed despite our results, while most of them attend training every Wednesday night, so they will therefore still be practising and will not lose their touch in terms of ball control, something which was a massive problem in such situations during recent seasons when we did not have training sessions at all. A lack of fitness is another matter though, but more of that later.

So…how did we end up losing these three Cup matches when we had high hopes this season of actually reaching a Final ?! Well, the first one at Home to Broxbourne Athletic in the League Challenge Cup was by far the worst. Although they had signed up a lot of new players after finishing bottom of the bottom division the season before and were clearly very fired-up, their results since then have been poor and they are clearly not the best team in that bottom division as we first thought. We played badly in that game but we only lost 2-1 and very nearly equalised in the last minute to take the game into Extra-Time, in which we probably would have then gone on to win.

The second Cup exit was the following week when we lost 1-0 to F.C. Alpha (After Extra Time) in the League Senior Cup, but that was actually an excellent performance as they are clearly the best team we have played so far this season and they had been ‘thrashing’ other Division One sides before we played that match.

The third Cup exit was on Sunday just gone when we lost 1-0 to Albion Manor in the London F.A. Sunday Intermediate Cup, but they are one of the top Sunday teams in London, so again it was a good defensive performance. One of the most frustrating things for me about that defeat though was that in the next round, Albion Manor are now Away to Koture…a team who play at Pymmes Park in Edmonton. Although the pitches over there are in a dreadful state, it would have been great from a nostalgic point of view for me to film us playing over there as it used to be our Home ground in our Edmonton Sunday League days back in the late-70’s/early-80’s and we have not played there since. An excellent local derby with a big crowd.

There’s no doubt that we were very unlucky to be drawn against Albion Manor in that Cup, F.C. Alpha in the League Senior Cup, and to only lose by one goal in all three Cups. However, on the Non-League ‘trainspotters’ Forum that I frequent (and also in conversations with other people involved in Sunday League football) I am constantly getting asked why it is that a club as well-run as ours with the website, videos, quality Home pitch, longevity (35 years it is now) and general organisation never wins trophies and cannot attract quality ‘Semi-Pro’ standard players to play for us like other teams in our League do. It’s a very good question, and here’s my thoughts on the matter…

Firstly, let’s look at our current players. In my opinion they are all good enough ability-wise to win us a trophy. They are all intelligent enough to switch positions, play in different formations, and most impressively of all, respond to the Manager’s zonal marking instructions for defending corners. We have faced an average of about 9 corners a match so far this season (and against some very good sides), but we have not conceded a goal from a corner for 7 matches now, and in 11 competitive matches played so far this season we have only conceded two…and one of them (Away to Asco) was only because we didn’t have anybody over 6 foot tall playing ! Every other team in our League probably mark man-to-man and would have almost certainly let in goals galore from that amount of corners faced. As far as defending in general is concerned, we are looking very, very solid, especially when we have Terry Moore, Alan Barnard and Martin Loveday all playing at the same time and Danny Hagan, Daniel Cascoe and Steve Cokell all fit and ‘awake’ in midfield. (Unfortunately Hagan & Cascoe were not ‘awake’ against Albion Manor, while Terry Moore was away playing golf, but we still avoided losing heavily). For the last 7 seasons since our relegation from the Premier Division, we have been conceding an average of 4 goals a game, but so far this season it is only 2. In our last 8 matches we have played very good sides with no easy games whatsoever, and although we have only won twice and drawn once in those 8 matches, our 5 defeats have all been either by one or two goals, not the 6-1 defeats that we were suffering last season. The problem for us recently is that we are not scoring enough goals. Some will say that’s because Conor McGovern and Stuart Dorward have now retired, but I don’t necessarily agree. In my opinion it is because too many of our players are overweight and are not quick enough to get up and down the pitch and support Daniel Daley and whoever else is playing alongside him in attack (i.e. Ben Keating in recent matches). By the time our two forwards receive the ball, invariably they are crowded out because we are too slow to move it quickly through midfield and down the channels. We are not creating enough chances. Against Albion Manor we only had three shots all match compared to their 21. Against Enfield Crusaders we only had 5 shots to their 22 and we were well lucky to draw that match 2-2. Against F.C. Alpha in the Division One match that we lost 3-1, we only had 5 shots to their 22 (same as against Enfield Crusaders), and in the Cup game against F.C. Alpha we only had 5 shots to their 27 ! In every game at the moment all we can do is just sit back, defend deep, force teams into constant hopeful long-range shots and then hope to score from one of the few chances we manage to create. We don’t want to play that way, but we have no choice. It is all down to a lack of fitness that we are getting so over-run. I am constantly being asked/told ‘why don’t we get our players doing 5-mile runs, sprinting practice, training twice a week, going down the gym, etc.’, but in my opinion that wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference. Some of them already do that anyway ! At training last night I had a look at what Hadley Green (a struggling Division Three team from our League) were doing on the next pitch. Their players were twice as fit as us and chasing around after every ball, closing players down and ‘getting tight on their man’. I looked back at us and most of the 10 players in attendance were standing with their hands on their hips with some serious puffing and blowing going on, some of it from out of the arse. They were seriously unfit compared to Hadley Green’s players. The problem is most definitely that half our players eat and/or drink too much. In some cases it’s because they ‘have to’ because their jobs involve ‘entertaining clients’ for three-hour ‘brokers lunches’ or whatever. Our Manager doesn’t set a great example though, does he ? His job involves arranging the licensing for pubs, clubs & restaurants, during which he is invariably given a free slap-up five-course meal and ‘a few beers’. O.K., maybe I’m exaggerating there, but you get my drift looking at the size of his and some of our players stomachs ! Of course in Saturday Semi-Pro football, every club uses a dietician. The players follow the dietician’s advice and they eat the right food to stay fit even if they like the odd beer or two on a Saturday night. Can we see our players doing that if we asked for a dietician’s advice ? Not on your nelly.

So…can we attract super-fit Semi-Pro players to our club to replace anybody who is overweight and put us on Flamstead End and F.C. Alpha’s level of all-round pace & fitness, thereby giving us a chance of winning something after all these years ? Well, if we did, it would mean Simon Jackson, Martin Loveday, John Scouller, Daniel Cascoe and Steve Cokell all having to go on a diet to get rid of the obvious flab around their bellies for a start, while Tony King (who doesn’t have a spare tyre round his midriff like the others) would need a rocket up his arse to make him run faster ! Is that fair though ? Some of these players have actually been playing well recently and getting higher marks than some of our players who are younger and fitter. They are also loyal and play to the Manager’s instructions. The trouble is, in today’s Sunday League football, and especially at the level we are playing at, fitness is king, and teams who win Divisional Titles and Cup Finals in our League do not have players playing for them who can hardly run. It is a bit of a dilemma I must admit, but will quality Semi-Pro players join us anyway ? You would like to think so because of the website, videos, etc., but over the last 8 years or so (since the legendary Marco Ellerker left), only Danny Hagan and Vernon ‘Kizza’ Nxumalo have joined the club on the back of finding us on the internet and turned out to be the sort of players we are looking for. John Scouller is another one to join that way and he obviously has potential if he can get himself fit, but invariably players who have asked to join us as a result of the website and videos have been complete time-wasters. They phone up (often from a private number) thinking we are the local Non-League Semi-Pro club who are going to pay them for playing, others say they will attend training and then fail to turn up, and worst of all, some do turn up to training or to play in a Summer 7-a-side League match claiming to have played ‘Semi-Pro’ when it is immediately obvious they have never played football competitively before. Some of these wannabee players clearly just want to see themselves on video. I won’t name him, but one player turned up to play in a 7-a-side League match about 5 years ago who wanted to be ‘a dancer’ on X-Factor (or some similar programme) and thought that playing for us and being on video would increase his profile for that programme. His first involvement in the game was taking a throw-in and he had no idea what to do. He had clearly never played football before in any sort of capacity.

It’s possible that we do not get genuine ‘Semi-Pro’ players wanting to join us because we never win anything, but in my opinion it is almost certainly because we do not have a clubhouse/pub-type base and also (to a lesser extent) because we do not have enough contacts in Saturday football like other teams have. Take Flamstead End for example. They play (and socialise) at Cheshunt Cricket Club, which is a multi-sport venue similar to the Edmonton Sports & Social/Cricket Club. Good Semi-Pro players from the Cheshunt area go down there to socialise and play other sports and that’s where Flamstead End sign them up when they are ready to start playing Sunday football. Most other clubs in our League have a similar set-up, but we don’t have anything like that. We just meet online (apart from matches and training). We can’t move from Hazelwood to Edmonton Sports & Social Club because Norsemen Youth play on the pitches on Sunday mornings and the Sports & Social Club charge silly money for membership anyway which we might not be able to afford. Another problem is that the football pitches are only up over there between the last week in September and the last week in March (because of cricket). Even if we did socialise there and use it as a base, half our players wouldn’t be able to get there as they live miles away. Flamstead End’s players all live in Cheshunt and other teams are also like that…Abbey Youth Old Boys in Waltham Abbey being another example. Their players all live in the same area. The only way we can get new players of Semi-Pro quality along to join us is invariably through existing players bringing them along, and we do get some from time to time…Terry Moore being the best example, having been brought along by Stuart Dorward. However, most Semi-Pro players that our current players know are simply not interested. Take Danny Hagan’s Saturday night drinking mates for example. Like himself, they are all from a pro club academy background, but unlike Danny they have no interest in playing Sunday morning football whatsoever because they would rather play Semi-Pro on a Saturday and then get totally ‘wrecked’ going clubbing afterwards. They would much rather do that than feature on our You Tube highlights or be part of a club that is probably run even better than the clubs they play for on a Saturday.

So there you have it. There’s not much more we can do to attract better/Semi-Pro players to the club and seeking advice of a dietician for our current players is probably pretty pointless really. I say we just carry on this season with what we have got and just hope that our remaining opponents are not as good as those we have been facing for the last 8 weeks or so.

  

                           CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Tuesday 20th December 2011

With us having gone five Division One matches unbeaten, including four wins in a row…our best run of form since we finished 3rd in the Premier Division nine years ago, we were hoping to make it six unbeaten after our Home game with Enfield Crusaders on Sunday (18th December) and I was looking forward to writing a really positive Chairman’s Blog here in summing up the season so far as we go into the Christmas break.

Unfortunately though, it was one of those days that we have been suffering from far too often over the last nine years where several players had to drop out on the morning of the match (or the day before), leaving us with a severely depleted side against full-strength and extremely fired-up opponents. On this occasion it was Steve Cokell pulling a groin muscle in his usual Thursday night 5-a-side kickabout (with a bunch of ex-Beehive 50-year-olds ?), then his intended replacement Stuart Dorward pulling out on Saturday night with another injury, while on Sunday morning Daniel Cascoe (a plumber by trade) got called in to work and couldn’t get the job finished in time. Those drop-outs were all unavoidable, but Martin Loveday oversleeping wasn’t, and that caused a real problem as it meant we had no goalkeeper with Simon Jackson, Darryl Johnson, Tim Beeden and Olie Tedder already unavailable. It also meant we only had a bare eleven including John Scouller, who is not yet fit enough to last a full match, while we ended up with eight forwards/attacking midfield players in that eleven once defender Lexton Harrison volunteered to go in goal, thereby leaving Manager Trevor Hughes with no option but to just take a gamble and play more-or-less a 4-2-4 formation with two midfielders as full-backs and a forward (Leon McKenzie-McKay) as a supposedly defensive central midfielder, which is just not his position at all. Needless to say, we were easily beaten 3-0 and quite frankly it should have been 10 as Enfield Crusaders were ridiculously wasteful with their finishing.

We don’t yet know how Loveday managed to oversleep, but if it was as a result of excess alcohol the night before, then he wouldn’t be the first Rovers player to have missed our last match before Christmas for that reason. Usually whenever our players have overslept and missed a match it has been because they were too pissed to remember to set their alarm clocks (or had just slept through it because the alarm was set on a mobile phone which had been left on ‘silent’ !). In fact Loveday wasn’t the only player in the League to ‘oversleep’/drop out at the last minute either judging by other results on the same day such as FC Rosemill 0 Flamstead End 10, Percival 10 Continental 3, Lea Valley Royals (Prem. Div.) 2 Larsens (Div. 3) 6 and one or two other strange scorelines in the bottom three divisions, including one team walking off the pitch, causing their match to be abandoned. Also, at least Loveday did text Trevor half-way through the First Half to apologise and to say that he was ‘gutted’ at letting the team down, and also to ask whether it was still worth him turning up…which it was because the game had kicked-off 20 minutes late to allow the frozen pitch to thaw out, so he therefore could have come on as a sub at Half-Time. However, because we had nobody on the touchline (apart from me filming the match), Trevor had to act as Club Lino (as usual) and therefore didn’t see Loveday’s text until the end of the game, meaning some of us (and particularly me on the final whistle) were having a right moan about it ‘all being Loveday’s fault’ and that he was out of order, etc. when he knew we had nobody else available to play in goal. (If he had been due to play as an outfield player, it wouldn’t have mattered quite as much). Obviously Loveday has to take a large share of the blame, but once again I was equally annoyed, maybe even more so, about the fact that unlike other clubs, nobody comes along to help out when they are injured (or if they do, they have been lumbered with the babysitting and have had to bring their kids along and can therefore only stay for 5 minutes), and also that nobody from our increasingly lengthy list of occasional players wants to come along and go sub in case they end up having to run the line or because they will ‘probably only get’ no more than 10 minutes worth of action. For the last game before Christmas and having lost their previous two matches 3-0 (to FC Rosemill !) and 5-0 (to FC Alpha), you would have expected Enfield Crusaders to have turned up with a bare eleven and with numerous key players missing themselves, but not a bit of it. They had a squad of 16 there including numerous Semi-Pro players from Cheshunt F.C. and St. Margaretsbury, together with a quality new signing who went on to score all three of their goals. They also had at least another 5 club members on the touchline. They were all there at Hazelwood well before any of our players (except Martin Cruickshank, who turned up early to help me with the nets…and without me asking him to I might add, so fair play to him), and of course they did a proper warm-up while most of our players just stood around by the changing rooms entrance having a ‘fag’ or three. Maybe that was why Lexton thought he was playing in a 7-a-side match and kept rolling out his goal-kicks under-arm during the match instead of kicking them ?!

What really got me steaming though was Enfield Crusaders putting all their bags down and standing right next to the camera on ‘our’ touchline because we didn’t have anybody there to ‘claim our normal patch’. (Unlike in Saturday football where there are dugouts and railed-off pitches, in Sunday football over a park pitch, the normal etiquette is for teams’ substitutes and spectators to stand on the opposite touchline). They then warmed up in our normal half of the pitch (at the Cowshed End) and even used our match balls for that (as somebody had just left them unattended on the touchline and then wandered off for a fag/piss/warm-up on the other side of the pitch). During the match, and especially in the Second Half, Enfield Crusaders substitutes and spectators then just constantly took the piss out of Lexton’s efforts in goal and other mistakes by our players, which is fine when they are on the other side of the pitch, but when they are standing next to the camera doing it, then it is very hard to take. Basically, we were a laughing stock…and it was all because of Loveday letting us down and too many others not having any thoughts whatsoever of coming along to help Trevor and myself out on the touchline. If Enfield Crusaders had been ‘forced’ to stand on the other side of the pitch by our substitutes and supporters (if we had had any), then I wouldn’t have been half as annoyed at us losing/fielding just a bare eleven with no keeper.

Although we had three Saturday/Sunday drop-outs for this match though, in general this season that problem has been nowhere near as bad as in recent seasons where the average per match has been three players dropping out at that particular short notice, therefore invariably leaving us in the lurch with a bare eleven or less. Indeed last season we only had two occasions where nobody dropped out of the squad on a Saturday/Sunday morning and one of those was the last match of the season when we fielded mainly the same players who are playing for us now. These ‘last-minute’ drop-outs caused massive problems and it was all because too many players were just not committed enough. This season though, we have had 6 occasions already where nobody has dropped out of the squad at all, and up until the Enfield Crusaders match (when three dropped out), it was only one or two in other matches and at no time have we been in a position where myself or goalkeeper Darryl Johnson have been forced to play as outfield players to make up the numbers. I would like to think that level of commitment will continue in our remaining 8 matches (or 7 if Abbey Youth Old Boys have dropped out) and that the 3-0 defeat to Enfield Crusaders was just a one-off due to Christmas. We are still capable of finishing in the top half of the table if everybody continues to make themselves available on a regular basis whenever we have a game. That would be our best season since we finished third in the Premier Division in Season 2002-2003, something which few people would have predicted when Stuart Dorward and Conor McGovern decided to retire at the end of last season, not to mention Yianni Kyriacou moving to Leeds to study at University and Martin Worthington & Rob Brown being ruled out with serious injuries for the whole season. Although we are scrapping midweek training sessions for the rest of the season for various reasons, I do not anticipate that affecting our performances too much as we now have a reasonably settled side who have got used to Trevor’s tactics and most of them should be able to stay fit by playing for Saturday teams or in 5-a-side matches.

The Club Lino problem still exists though, and that will be a particular nightmare in January when Trevor misses two matches due to yet another holiday. We could well have players dropping out of those games if they think they are going to be a substitute (and therefore ‘forced’ into running the line without much chance of being brought on by whoever is Player-Manager). If we only have a bare eleven because of that, then the Referee will put pressure on me to put the camera away and run the line myself…and yes, it has happened once before (about 7 years ago when we lost 6-0 to I.M.L.) when I did it so that we did not get fined. This time though, we will have to tell the Referee to fine us as I am not prepared to miss another match, having not been able to film our recent 3-2 win against St. Mary’s. It will be annoying as we have not been fined at all this season and it looks bad on me as Club Secretary if we fall foul of League Rules & Regulations. However, as usual, Trevor was getting called a ‘F***ing cheating C***’ (or words to that effect) by our opponents and indeed most teams’ players shout out that ‘Sunday League Catch-Phrase’ whenever they are flagged offside by a Club Linesman as opposed to the neutral Linesmen they are used to in Saturday football. I know it’s wrong and Referees should clamp down on it, but it’s just human nature. Club Linesmen are always viewed as ‘cheats’...and not just by opposing players, but by Referees as well ! That is the main reason why none of our players want to volunteer to do the job…even though we give them a £7.00 credit off their subs !

Finally, on to another subject. Some of you may have recently read about the Football Association announcing that they are putting a £200 million investment into ‘grass-roots football’ whereby pitches and changing facilities will be improved and funding given to clubs and Leagues so that they can survive. Great for mens’ Sunday League football then ? Er well…I very much doubt it ! What the Football Association mean by ‘grass-roots football’ is generally Youth Leagues and/or Charter-Standard clubs with their own ground who run several teams for mens, ladies and youth football and are thereby ‘serving the community’. The mens’ teams play mainly on Saturdays in the Spartan South Midlands League or Herts Senior County League (as far as our area is concerned). Mens’ Sunday Leagues and their ‘one-man-band’ Pub Teams like ourselves who play on Council-owned park pitches will almost certainly be ignored once again…as they have been for many years whenever these initiatives have been undertaken. We have always been treated as just a bunch of ‘beer-bellied thugs’ who do not benefit anybody and are therefore not deserving of any financial support, so when we have unemployed players with young families (as we have at the moment), those players then have no chance of being able to afford to pay their subs when Council pitch fees, Referees fees, Floodlit Astroturf (for Training) fees and numerous other expenses increase steadily every season. That is when teams end up having to fold, and more and more are doing so every season because players simply cannot afford to pay £10.00 in subs per week (including Annual Subs averaged-out). The Waltham Sunday League have no sympathy either. They have got £30,000 in the bank, yet still they want to charge clubs more for player registrations ‘in case they lose ORC Sports as a sponsor’…which they probably will now they don’t have a proper League website or have their Cup Finals filmed and put on You Tube, although at least ORC Sports are getting a mention on our own You Tube highlights ! Will the Football Association fund the League and its participating clubs if there is no longer a sponsor though ? Of course not. They simply do not realise that the standard of Mens’ Sunday League football has improved a lot in recent years (particularly in our League) with teams turning up an hour before the kick-off, doing proper warm-ups, playing good football instead of ‘lumping it and kicking the crap out of each other’, and being much fitter and more committed instead of turning up straight from a pub or nightclub. In my opinion, 18-year-olds who have just come out of Youth football or been released by professional club academies will improve their game and learn more by playing for well-run pub teams in mens’ football against experienced ex-Semi-Pro players than they will playing against whole teams of 18/19-year-olds in the Leagues in which Non-League Reserve teams compete. The F.A. should subsidise Mens’ Sunday League football so that unemployed 18-year-olds can afford to play. That means maybe paying half the pitch fees imposed by local Councils and funding the building of more floodlit Astroturf pitches for mens’ Sunday League teams to train on. After all, everybody wants 7.30-9.00.p.m. on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night, but there are not enough floodlit pitches to go around at that time…and they cost too much for the clubs to afford. If the F.A. can put money into improving mens’ Sunday League pitches and changing facilities as well, then that would be ideal. We don’t have too much of a problem at Hazelwood, but Pound Close (Broxbourne Rangers Old Boys) and Castle Road (Asco) must be two of the worst pitches we have ever played on in our 35-year history ! As I say though, I cannot see anything changing much in the near future.

  

                           CHAIRMAN’S BLOG - Monday 26th March 2012

Following our 7-2 Home defeat to Division One leaders F.C. Alpha on Sunday (25th March), our 11-a-side campaign for 2011-2012 has now finished already with 6 weeks of the season still to play. The reasons for that are: 1) The good weather with only two games called off due to snow (and none at all for waterlogged pitches), 2) Abbey Youth Old Boys dropping out of the division leaving us with one game less, and 3) us getting knocked out of all three Cup competitions in the First Round…for which we only have ourselves to blame in two of them because of players either turning up pissed and/or underestimating our opponents.

As usual, we have ended up finishing just below mid-table well clear of relegation but with a minus goal difference and losing more games than we won, but it’s a triumph in a way as a lot of people thought we would finish bottom with Stuart Dorward and Conor McGovern having retired and other key players from last season such as Yianni Kyriacou, Rob Brown & Martin Worthington not being able to play at all due to University commitments (Yianni) and major injuries (Rob & Martin). For the first time in almost 10 years we have fielded a settled side using no more than 16 players on a regular basis, and apart from one occasion where we had to play with only 10 men and three others where we only had a bare eleven (one of which we won anyway), the commitment has been good and so has the team spirit…eventually, after a few arguments early on in the season when we were struggling to find the right positions for our new signings to play in.

Having a settled side like that has given us a problem in one way though, namely the payment of subs. Because numerous players have lost interest in coming along to challenge for a place in the side by going sub (Lino !?), it means there has been no pressure on those in the starting line-up (or squad of 14) every week to pay their subs for fear of being dropped for somebody else if they don’t (as per our club rules if they owe over £25.00). In some cases, players genuinely do struggle to pay their subs because they have been unemployed or do not earn much in the jobs they do, while others have not been paying because Manager Trevor Hughes refuses to go and find them after the final whistle (in car parks, showers, toilets, hiding behind a bush, etc.) when they should be approaching him and offering to pay while he is sitting in the changing rooms ! Some players also don’t realise/forget that we are still charging £7.00 (instead of £5.00) per full 90 minutes even though we are no longer training in midweek, so it therefore soon builds up when they ‘forget’ to pay for 2 or 3 weeks in a row and they are having to play a full match every time because we do not have any substitutes. Of course if we had three substitutes every match, then we could substitute those who owe a lot of money so that they only pay £3.50 or whatever (as per our club rules for substitutions). Players getting themselves booked in a match and not realising that the London F.A. fine them £10.00 each time (for which the club pay initially with a view to the player re-imbursing us) is also adding to the problem.

We now have a situation where six of our 16 regular players this season owe well over £25.00 in subs and are showing no real signs of being able to clear the backlog. One player owes £61.50, another owes £52.00, another £50.00, another £48.00, and the other two owe just over £30.00. Quite a few other players owe amounts under £25.00, including several currently registered players who have not played this season, and in total we are owed £491.00 ! We then have the other extreme whereby some of our players seemingly have very highly-paid jobs in the City in banking and I.T. and can afford to pay their subs in advance. One player actually paid his £25.00 Annual Subs at the start of the season and also paid £78.00 in credit for his match subs in anticipation of playing regularly. He has since lost interest completely (because of an injury which he should have recovered from by now ?) and never looks at the website, the Forum and the e-mails I send out. Why should we chase him up to play when others who are not paying their subs are more committed and actually want to play every week ? We then have another ludicrous situation whereby Manager Trevor Hughes is £66.00 in credit with his subs because he is having to act as Club Linesman every match thanks to nobody else volunteering to do it ! (The club rule is that you get £7.00 credit off your subs if you act as Club Linesman). Because of some players and the Manager being in credit, we are not in a bad position financially, despite the £491.00 owed. We have actually got over £800.00 in the club funds, although most of that will be used up by the start of next season for the regular bills that we have to pay. (AGM trophies, Affiliation Fees, 7-a-side League Fees, Home Pitch Fees, Training Pitch Fees, etc.). I read on our Division One rivals Flamstead End’s Twitter page recently that their players owe a total of £600.00 in subs, so that’s worse than us and I suspect they will not have as much as us in their club account !? There will be a lot of other clubs in a similar predicament where players think they can get away without paying subs, but it’s just really unfair on the players who do keep up-to-date, and in our case, we really need to have a think during the Summer about how to solve the problem. Maybe an amnesty for amounts owed since we stopped training as we could have only charged £5.00 per match instead of £7.00 ? Set up a PayPal account for the club so that players can pay their subs by credit card ? Any other ideas ?

Another thing we need to think about in the next couple of weeks or so is the Summer 7-a-side League at the Southgate Hockey Centre, which is due to start in the first week of May as always. Do we enter teams in both the Monday and Thursday Night Leagues again as we did last Summer…something which worked reasonably well ? Who is going to be Manager ? Who is going to go in goal ? Can players afford another £7.00 per match when they are struggling to pay their 11-a-side Subs ?

The biggest problem that needs to be sorted out when we use the Southgate Hockey Centre for 7-a-side League matches though (and midweek training sessions during the winter) is unquestionably the sheer number of players we have playing for us who do not drive. For non-drivers it is an almost ‘impossible’ place to get to from anywhere along the A10 north of Carterhatch Lane up to Cheshunt and South of Lincoln Road down to Edmonton & Palmers Green as it involves getting two buses (or having a long walk down to Southbury Road to catch a 307) and then having a 20-minute walk down Snakes Lane. Players are just not prepared to do that, and if we do not have players playing who can give them a lift, then we have a major problem. That was the sole reason why we had to cancel training for the rest of the season over there after Christmas and there is no question that it played a part in us losing matches thereafter due to a lack of fitness, a lack of practice and particularly in ‘fringe’ players losing interest in turning up on Sunday mornings. We either have to get more players joining us who can drive or we will have to look to train nearer the A10 and even enter 5/6/7-a-side Leagues nearer the A10 instead of using the Southgate Hockey Centre. Getting players who drive to play for us will invariably mean players who are in their late-20’s to late-30’s though…and we have got enough of them already, which was the main reason we were thrashed 7-2 by F.C. Alpha in our last match (in my opinion). We had quite a debate on the final whistle with a lot of players having different opinions of who was to blame, but as far as I am concerned, F.C. Alpha are the best team we have played in the Waltham Sunday League for years. We were extremely fortunate to take them to Extra Time in the Cup earlier this season and to only lose 3-1 in the League the week after. They absolutely battered us in both matches but we played the right tactics and defended well…as a lot of other teams have been doing in our division against them this season in only losing by the odd goal or two. In the 7-2 defeat we didn’t defend well and made too many bad mistakes, and the main reason for that was because the lack of training and practice affects our older players badly. Earlier in the season against F.C. Alpha our players in their mid-late 30’s were quicker and sharper to the ball, but in this match they were just getting caught in possession too much and/or being forced into hurried passes straight to opposing players. The lack of training and practice affected our younger players in a different way where they didn’t pass, move and use two-touch enough. I disagree with those who were saying afterwards that our players are generally not good enough ability-wise and that we only pick up points here and there because our tactics are good and we are well-organised. In my opinion our current players are all as good as any other team in the division technically as regards control and passing. It’s just that we still have too many players in their mid to late-30’s playing, and against younger sides who are of the same quality technically, we are just not fit and sharp enough to compete. The only way we are going to get to F.C. Alpha’s level and win a trophy is if we can find 5 or 6 new players in their early-20’s who have been released by Pro clubs or have played for successful Youth teams and been properly coached as youngsters regarding tactical awareness, but we just don’t have the contacts to get those sort of players. Whenever we have targeted Under-18 teams in the past with a view to them joining us en-bloc, they have turned us down because we never win anything, they don’t know any of us, and of course if they are a successful side they invariably get signed up to play Semi-Pro on Saturdays in the Ryman or Spartan South Midlands Leagues anyway. For several years now, I have been hoping that some of our Greats Of The Past would get their offspring to join us once they are 18 and stop playing Youth football, but that has not happened yet because they have gone straight to University or because most of our Greats Of The Past ‘fled’ the Edmonton area as soon as they made enough money to, so their kids have been brought up in more affluent areas of the Country well away from the ‘war zone’ where we are based. I suppose in a way we are now being punished for having mainly intelligent players play for us in the past instead of a bunch of perceived thickos who still live in Edmonton…like me !

So…at the moment then, the most likely scenario is that we will probably enter two teams in the Summer 7-a-side League (one on Mondays, one on Thursdays) with a mish-mash of players who can drive, thereby including current players, prospective new players in their 30’s from McKenzie Rangers and other clubs that have folded, and ex-Rovers players who now play for other clubs and just want to keep themselves fit during the Summer. No doubt I will end up as Goalkeeper-Manager a lot and there will be matches where we are fielding a bare seven against a load of Ryman League players, but we might be lucky and find the odd good player in their early-20’s who does drive and can afford to pay his subs, so it’s probably worth the risk.

During the past two seasons, several clubs in the Waltham Sunday League have folded up who had been in the League even longer than our 23 years. (We are now the 5th longest-serving club behind Northaw, Lea Valley Royals, Rosemill and Churchbury). I have found out that the main reasons for these clubs folding up were players not paying their subs and players leaving because their teams lost most weeks and were sliding down the divisions having once been in the Premier Division. We are clearly not as bad as that as we do not owe money as a club and we have had some good results in Division One this season and only been thrashed once…in our last match. There is no need to panic, even though winning a trophy unfortunately still looks a long way off.