I'll link my previous posts and thread on the subject at the bottom... I'm chairman of a small village club, and coach / manager for the Under 9s
At some point during the close season, the local FA took over running of the league which our two teams play in. I dont know why- it seems there was a mass resignation of the old committee (quite possibly due to hassle with the FA, but I cant be sure). We never had any formal indication or explanation of this- but it seems to be the position as everything we used to receive from the league is now from local FA people.
They called a league meeting. I asked what it was about- as its not normal to have a random meeting for nothing in November. They replied that the league's rules said there had to be one 5 times a year and this was one of them. They declined, when a friend asked for another club, to provide an agenda or any indication of what might be discussed.
I understand from people that went, there was very little to discuss other than- (1) They want to give all parents "FAN numbers" and register them on their system, in addition to players. Which will mean hours of data input and grief for people at clubs, especially as the FA system is appalling and unreliable. (2) Teams should stop scoring if they go 5 goals ahead. This might entail adding extra players on the other side, until the score starts to become more even if we cant engineer it by other means. To hell with the fact that 18 kids on a 7 aside pitch just creates congestion with no room for skill, movement, passing etc- and simply favours the side with the biggest strongest players who can blunder their way through. (3) they want to introduce sinbins in junior football and will suspend referees who dont implement it.
Now... I didn't attend. That was due to a very serious family illness which occupied my attention for several days (not to mention the hours besides hospital beds). All is well now, happily. More importantly though (from the FA's perspective) I MISSED THE MEETING!!!
I received, yesterday, an invoice for a £20 fine for non attendance.
The £20 is not a big deal to me (and I wouldnt let the club bear the cost on principle)- but it seemed harsh in the circumstances so I emailed indicating my reasons for not having attended.
The reply I got this afternoon just summed up the FA for me in evey way. They didn't express their concern and waive the fine. Nor did they express concern and say that rules are rules, and that they just have to follow them by the letter in fairness to other clubs who might miss meetings and have excuses of varying types (which would be a pathetic jobsworth approach, but at least tolerably rational).
Instead their reply was:
"As the club secretary, XXXXXX should’ve been the main person to attend the meeting and if unable should’ve arranged for someone to go in his place.
This is by no means against yourself for not attending, it’s that the club didn’t send a representative to the mandatory meeting and we have to follow the league rules and issue this fine against the club."
There is NOTHING in the league rules to say that it is the secretary who must attend. I invariably attend these meetings- because as Chairman and a manager/ coach, I can deal with both admin stuff and playing stuff. I had arranged to go to this meeting, and the rest of the committe were aware of that so had no reason to go. I failed to give them a shout and ask for someone to pop along in my place- for reasons which will be obvious.
Essentially- the FA's position, faced with a clearly very reasonable excuse for non attendance, was to claim that there was some obligation for the Secretary to attend rather than me, in the first place, to give themselves a basis for nevertheless blaming a small 2 team village junior football club for non attendance at a pointless meeting.
The mindset seems to run very deep and the FA's paid employees are simply so sanctimonious and unable to recognise the reality of volunteers with day jobs trying to help kids play football, that I really fear for the future of grass roots youth football.
They appear to want the small clubs out. This is what we are dealing with folks. Its little wonder, when we get up to the level of professional clubs, we see the FA working against the small clubs, denying them academy status, agreeing rules which favour the big clubss etc etc.
I have lost a decent amount of weight. Need new jeans. I'm not especially fussy and have no interest in what labels say. But some decent well fitting jeans is what I require. So I have been for a poke around a number of stores- including the supermarkets and (I confess) matalan, TK Maxx et al.
EVERY SINGLE PAIR OF JEANS IS "STRETCH". Fitted, boot cut, straight, classic, skiiny- all with "Stretch". Why? If htey fit right they dont need ot stretch. I have no interest in that bizarre look that some of these youngsters they have now, indulge in- whereby jeans are a bit baggy7 at the top and then sking tight around the calves. I just want normal non stretch jeans. When did this happen. And why?
Are albums dead or getting that way? If not, will they be soon?
Just how much are angry-birds generation missing out on? The ability to simply pick your favourite songs or stream a selection of hits presumably means that one is much less likely to persevere with less obvious tracks on an album (or even hear them at all).
Was talking to one of my Under 9s and his Dad this morning. Bristol City fans. Adam Webster has apparently been "superb" and his passing in particular exceptional. The Under 9 player insisted on having the No.4 shirt when I handed out new kit, as that was Webster's number.
The silky passing centre back we initially bought appears to have re-emerged under a new regime...
First installment in a series of between 1 and several. Depending.
I'm toying with the idea of getting back to recording music and one idea is a small collection of genuinely filthy old blues tunes. They make me smile, and there's some fun to be had opening people's eyes to the fact that modern music was not the genesis of "parental advisory" lyrics.
Query, though, whether this is just too much for modern tastes and standards?
The team which we saw in the early games, showed promise, kept the opposition away from our goal save for some errors and set pieces, and looked to be heading in a good direction.
We have to give that time to develop and settle together.
The team today though featured huge changes from what looked promising, both in players and style / approach. Donacien, Nsiala, Harrison Chalobah and Edun (and jackson) all missing. Loan players put in their place, and a more pragmatic approach. Its not surprising that a team doesnt gel, if its totally changed.
That is either a change in approach, or the players have lost confidence to the extent they can no longer do what they were starting to do in the early games.
I think it is the former- judging by the selection. The quick feet and intelligent movement was exemplified by Edun in the earlier games and now he cant get a game ahead of the woeful trio we had in the middle today. Baffling.
Building a new team with a totally new approach and tactics takes time. Not just weeks, but months or even years of fine tuning and adjustment, developing patterns of play, an ethos and understanding and building the right group of players to make it work.
The most worrying thing, right now, is not that the team has not instantly become a promotion chasing outfit, but that the supporters will get on the players' and manager's backs, will endlessly talk the team down on here and elsewhere, will groan and huff and puff at matches and will scupper the project before it has even a chance. It has begun already, and has a serious prospect of becoming self fulfilling.