- Chairman’s New Year Message
Firstly can I wish all Lyne F.C members and families a very Happy New Year. Before we consider the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead in 2016, let’s revisit 2015 and the progression made to make Lyne FC the unique football club it is today.
In 2015, Lyne FC introduced many new initiatives, including the match day kit rebranding on which Stuart Williams has worked so hard and made it the success it is going into 2016. Every youth team in the club now has a sponsor for their kit and many have secured sponsors for additional clothing including training kits and wet tops for match days. A massive thank you must go out to Stuart for masterminding this and equally a massive thank you must go out to our sponsors because without them, this would never have been possible.
The entire green at Lyne Village Hall was reseeded and treated at some cost to the Club for the first time in the summer of 2015. I think you will all agree the playing surfaces at Lyne are some of the best in the area now. This gives our members the opportunity to play football ‘on the ground’ or as we say ‘play the right way’ which can only be positive in each player’s progression going forward. Massive credit must go to John Cane our Vice chairman and groundsman at Lyne who keeps all the pitches in great order and lines out the pitches on a weekly basis. The secretary received a call from the LVH Committee recently asking why the pitches were being marked out between Christmas and the New Year when there was no football planned – we had to point out that the lines need remarking whether we are playing or not or we will lose them in the rain. Just one example of the commitment which goes on behind the scenes and goes un-noticed.
A decision was taken in the summer to make Lyne Village Hall our mini soccer centre bringing all of our small sided games to one home venue and the younger 11v11 games too. This we feel has improved the match day experience for our members and highlights that each playing member is part of a much bigger club than they were probably aware and creates a bigger feeling of belonging. I hope you all agree that there is no finer place to enjoy football on a Sunday morning in the local area.
Lyne F.C is also proud to help young referees qualify, provide support and pay qualified referees which is very rare. As a club we feel it is important that players get used to a qualified official and understand how it works from an early age and also get away from “parent in jeans and tee shirt” officiating matches, which we feel is bad practice and can compromise the playing experience. It also provides an excellent opportunity for youngsters to get involved in other aspects of our sport which are great for their development, football or otherwise.
On the negative side, this year, the committee has had to deal with a number of incidences of parents’ and players’ misconduct, either directed at match officials or opposing parents, regrettably this has culminated with one particular match in which as a club we have been fined £40 and warned by the F.A for “not keeping control of players/spectators”. Because of this Lyne F.C will, in 2016, adopt a ZERO TOLERENCE approach to any further incidences and will suspend players and ban parents from our home matches.
As many of you are aware, we are in the process of negotiating with Lyne Village Hall following a restriction of play letter it issued to us in December. As you will have seen, Lyne F.C has been very proactive in seeking a resolution of this issue and we have had some very positive responses from the Lyne Village Hall regarding our proposals. We hope to resolve any issues between Lyne Village Hall and Lyne F.C in the month of January and secure Lyne F.C’s future, playing football at Lyne. I would like to thank the committee at Lyne F.C for giving up their Sunday evening at short notice, ensuring a response with such speed and professionalism.
Training has also been a success with 90% of our members using the summer training facilities at Pyrcroft Grange school, which we feel has brought our teams more together at the club, creating more interaction with managers and players at various age groups.
Winter training facilities has also been a success, with every youth age group training on artificial surfaces, another first for the Club.
The Club ethos is being embedded successfully, with the vast majority of age groups now adhering and others now falling in line. This ethos is critical to the club going forward and it is imperative it is applied at all age groups. Going forward, the main committee will make sure this happens and everyone is on the same page for the start of the 2016/17 season. As part of the ethos, two of our teams; U9’s Cheetahs and U10’s Cougars took their steps into a higher level of football in the Surrey Youth League. This has proven to be the right move for both of these teams and most of all, right for player progression. I would like to thank Kevin and Wayne for supporting the initiative in line with the Club ethos and proving it is the right move for team when it’s the right time.
The website, and forums in particular, have always been a fantastic resource for our club, being used to transmit information to our members as well as recording reports, pictures and other information. Unfortunately this has not yet been embraced by all. From this month it is expected that all managers will use the forum, post match details and complete match reports on it. We believe that it is important for all members to follow what is happening across the breadth of our club, and we know that many enjoy doing so. If teams/managers do not buy into this basic requirement, the committee will be warning the teams in the first instance and if it continues, the club will review the team’s position and value prior to next season (Before allowing anyone to sign up). It’s simple really and that is it’s the club’s way or the highway, we have standards which each age group needs to achieve!
2015 saw the return of the Lyne FC Family fun day which was enjoyed by so many of our members and will now be an annual event going forward. Our thanks must go to the parents and managers predominantly from the Under 8’s age group who organised the event (and arranged the weather!) so successfully.
Another huge success in 2015 was the establishment of the summer soccer school which developed into the Bobcats and has gone from strength to strength to be a resounding success. This was created By Russel Warden who has done a fantastic job with the little ones on a Saturday morning. Over the next few months the 35 strong group will be formed into teams ready to take their first steps in football and play a match which is all very exciting. (More big cat names needed!!!)
In April 2015 we saw the creation of a Men’s team attached to the club for the first time. This has proved to be a massive success also not only on the pitch but completing us as a club. The men’s front page on the website has increased the visibility and attracted thousands more hits on the site than ever before which can only be good when it comes to heightening the profile of the club as a whole and attracting more members. The men’s team has been structured in such a way that we as a club want it to be every member’s first team so that our younger players can identify with seniors and a relationship between the youth and seniors is formed. Many clubs have tried such a thing but very few have ever achieved it but with your backing and support we will and join that elite band of clubs that are strong enough and together enough to make it happen.
So, all in all, 2015 has been very successful for Lyne FC and we intend to make even more improvements in 2016. Top of our wish list is a true home where we can bring the whole club together in one venue, from the very youngest to the men. As you can appreciate this is a big ask but one we are working on for the years ahead and we feel if we continue to progress as a club as we are doing at present the powers that be will have little or no excuses not to help us achieve our wish. The men’s section could be a major player in this going forward as various grant streams out of our grasp as a youth section will come into play and just could allow us to build a sustainable, stable infrastructure for Lyne FC for years to come.
In 2016 Lyne FC will be monitoring training sessions and match days to ensure that each and every member is given the best possible experience and enjoyment playing football at the club. Equally we will be making sure that each and every manager/coach is complying with the club ethos on and off the field of play.
The committee has introduced manager’s meetings which occur once a month, the manager or a representative from each and every team is expected to attend. At times this has not happened and we feel it’s inexcusable really, given the time the committee gives up to make everything work. Please could I ask that each team/age group have a get together and ensure every team is represented going forward? Meetings are generally held on the first Monday of the month in the Royal Marine, Lyne. (January’s is on hold until we have a response from the Village Hall to our aforementioned proposals.)
Another big step forward for our club is the appointment of Denise Evans as our new Child Welfare Officer. Denise is currently half way through her qualification workshops and will be fully compliant later this month. The committee is delighted to welcome Denise and is very grateful to her for stepping forward.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for all of us; committee, managers, players, parents and friends of our club, is to retain the unique family atmosphere which has always been evident, and with which so many members identify, as the club grows from being a small village club to a major player in Surrey football striving to develop all aspects of club life, from the match day experience off the field to high performance on it, with multiple teams at all age groups. This responsibility lies with each and every one of us.
Could I thank the people who make this club work and without them we would have nothing.
The key figures of our club are: Mark Sims our Secretary who works relentlessly, invisibly and is without doubt the engine room of this club (and helped me with putting this together as I’m rubbish with grammar). Alongside Mark is John Cane who is yet another person who works without visibility, looking after our pitches in all weathers and a great generally all-rounder and Stuart Williams who has headed a successful rebranding of the whole club.
There are so many to name I would like to mention but I am running out of paper so I will go with this. My thanks to all of our volunteers, Committee, Managers, Coaches and parents who give up so much time for our kids to enjoy the game of football!
Happy New Year all!
Proud to be the Chairman of Lyne F.C