U.C.L. Academicals Football Club

(The Accies)

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2003 UCL ACADEMICALS AGM

Held at 7.30pm on Thursday 3rd July at The Chadwick Street Recreation Centre, Chadwick Street, Westminster

Present: Danny McConnell, Mark Dawson, Jon Logie, Dan Willoughby, Rob James, Chris Coates, Danny Fewkes, Jon Houghton, Dan Chantler.

Apologies for absence: Martin Woodrow, Adrian Haysome, Steve Woodrow, David Wilkinson, Simon Valentine, Jamie Hamilton, John  Inman, Bobby Butlin, Spencer Gore, Paul Matthewson, Scott Atkinson, Matt Field, Steve Nash.

The minutes of the 2002 AGM were approved.

1. 2002-03 SECRETARY’S REPORT

2002-03 saw the inaugural season for the Amateur Football Combination, and the recent pattern of success for the Accies continued, albeit with a slight anticlimactic element at the end – again.

Two trophies were won – the 3rd XI clinching the AFA Junior Cup and the 4th XI winning their league title. The 2nd and 6th XI’s also finished runners up in their AFA Cups, whilst the 3rd XI finished runners up in their league, securing promotion. The 2nd XI failed to gain promotion on the last day of the season, whilst the 5th XI only avoided  relegation because of a withdrawal from their division.

Week by week the recent strong pattern continued. Most teams were strong, and all teams turned out each week expecting to win. We need to continue the policy of ensuring that players are playing at the right level for their abilities, particularly as certain players tend to get older, as well as with new players coming into the club. The priority has to be to ensure that all players get a competitive game at a level that suits them. “Playing with your mates” is not practical within a club trying to run seven (or more!) sides. Everyone should be making themselves available for the club, and if this means moving down a side, should accept this.

Administratively saw a backward step. A combination of confusion over roles (between Danny McConnell and Spencer Gore), banking incompetence (by Barclays) and the start of a new system for submitting team sheets (via email) allowed a number of captains to unknowingly build up arrears of match fees owed.

Failure to confirm availability and failure to pay subs remains a headache for most skippers.

1st XI – Whether the 1st XI’s season was a disappointment may remain to be seen. In a tougher new league we retained Premier Division status but were never in the running for a title, and spent the second half of the season worrying about relegation. There was little prospect of cup glory either.

The major problem was increasingly poor availability, meaning an inconsistency of selection and poor performances. Traditionally the Accies tend to stop playing earlier than players at other clubs, with family commitments and so forth taking a greater toll at weekends for players whose weekdays are dominated by work, and this may continue. However, in future probably this needs to be factored in, and better players who have missed recent games perhaps shouldn’t expect to return and not be on the bench. This season the sum was definitely much lesser than its parts.

Poor discipline, particularly of the petty nature (i.e. dissent) remains a concern, and affects the attitude of players on a Saturday.

Dan Chantler steps down after two frustrating seasons, and will look forward to life on the backbenches!

2nd XI – Last season’s good progress continued, and alas so did the Bridesmaid touch. The AFA Intermediate Cup Final was lost 3-2 to Old Camdenians 1st XI, and promotion was missed on the final day of the season.

In contrast to the 1st XI, the biggest problem for the 2nds was probably good availability. From October through to February a squad of 13 or 14 was sufficient for almost all games, and when a few absentees finally cropped up, there wasn’t the depth to cover them. Somehow the 2nds need to find a way of carrying a couple of extra players next season, although it may mean more bench time for all early in the season, it covers the angles throughout. Finding a consistently available goalkeeper is essential.

3rd XI – If the 3rd XI were probably team of the season in 2001-02, in 2002-03 there could be no doubt. The rebuilding job was quickly completed, and once the squad had settled down in November only good things happened. Availability remained an issue, with too many people missing too many games, but the side deservedly won the AFA Junior Cup and clinched promotion, only being denied a league title by Old Camdenians.

Huge thanks to Pete Clothier, who having moved to the Veterans in a youth move, found himself recalled between the posts to cover the run-in for the season. Two key saves in the Cup Final showed age was no issue, and Pete will now happily return to the Vets for his declining years!!!!

4th XI – The 4th XI’s progress continued, with a surprise (pleasant) league title won after their final game of the season. Occasionally squad depth was an issue, and the team still needs to be a little less reliant on what it considers to be one or two “key players” and have cover for all positions.

5th XI – The end is in sight. As with most other sides over the last 3-4 years, the nucleus of the 5ths who started playing around 1988-1992 have started to pack in. The end of the season saw the team struggling to raise a side, and for next season it’ll probably make sense for them to revert to being the 6th XI, as a number of new players are introduced.

6th XI – A season of inconsistency. November saw a sequence of four consecutive league defeats all by a single goal which condemned the team to mid-table mediocrity. January to March saw a sequence of almost continual cup games, with an AFA Cup Final and LOB Semi Final. Both were lost, the AFA Final on a day when the team collectively froze, and the LOB Semi Final to a poor side on “one of those days”.

Many of the side will be able to play at 5th team level next season, but there will be a need for some juggling to ensure some are playing at the right level.

Optimists – A backward step for the Veterans, with far too many fixtures cancelled because we couldn’t raise a side. The LOB Cup campaign was short, with the side bowing out playing their first game for 3 months. With fixtures only every 2-3 weeks, commitment shouldn’t be as much of an issue as it is! One hopes that Paul Matthewson will be more successful in persuading people to show up!

Golden Boot – The Golden Boot was won by Paul Bernard again (31 goals) whose promotion to the 4ths did little to reduce his effectiveness. Runner-up was Chris Dobson (2nds) who claimed he’d have challenged better if not condemned to half a dozen games in midfield for the 1sts. The competition for the Golden Gloves was tight, but talent shone through with Danny McConnell (7) just pipping Ciaran Hickey (6).

2. FINANCIAL STATEMENT

At the start of the season our account stood at around £5100.00 (including pitch credits), with the twin objectives to continue to build up the club’s resources. We should have around £5000.00 “cash in hand” at any time, enabling us to pay for pitches - £3600.00, league fees - £1000.00 and new balls etc - £400.00, as well as starting to build up a reserve for the next set of kits when required (a season or two away, but around £2500 needs to be set aside for this). Any of those who wish to peddle the myth that we “have plenty of money” should care to note this was the first season in five when yours truly didn’t have to sub the club to pay for these at the start of the season.

We had had no problems pre-paying for pitches this season (the first batch being £3200.00, the second £3600) and for the first time the club wasn’t in a position to worry about these.

We ended the season with around £6400.00 in credit (£5500.00 in the bank plus £900.00 worth of pitches pre-paid). The requirement of pre-paying for pitches is so that we avoid payment of VAT, whereas in the past we’d always (by necessity) paid in arrears. It’s also becoming increasingly important given the changing circumstances at Shenley, with higher usage (from Watford, and UCL Students).

Season Summary

For 2001-2002 our total income was £13912.84 (down from £14059.41 in 2001-2002), comprised of £1610.00 in annual subs (£1752.00 in 2001-02), £11408.05 in match subs (£11392.00 in 2001-02), £448 in preseason match subs (£210.50 in 2001-02), £2.79 in bank interest (£2.41 in 2001-02), £35.00 in AFA fines collected (£65.00 in 2001-02), and £28.00 subs in arrears from previous seasons (£195.00 in 2001-02). We are still owed around £200.00 in subs (down from £800.00 in 2001-02).

We spent £7205.63 on pitches (£6781.50 in 2001-02), though our “credit” increased by £180.00 and we recouped £290.00 in pitch costs from other clubs, £120.00 on training facilities (£0.00 in 2001-02), £1600.50 on referees (£1452.50 in 2001-02), £2453.80 on teas and hospitality (£2052.30 in 2001-02), £722.00 on league/cup/county fees (£709.00 in 2001-02), £280.00 on fines and miscellaneous costs (£373.82 in 2001-02) and £696.72 on kit and equipment (£1334.65 in 2001-02).

Pitch costs were higher, because we played two end of season games under lights.

We still have about £100.00 to spend on the golden boot trophies and league medals for the 4th XI.

Annual Subs

Annual subs were slightly down again, compared to 2001-2002, but the “£25.00 annual subs, but £20.00 if paid before 1st November” offer” was as successful as before. We need to make sure those who don’t pay up and should do so are chased for annuals.

Projection for 2003-04

Given all of the above we should start 2003-04 with around £5300.00 in the bank, and a further £1200.00 in credit on pitches, whilst £800.00 is to be spent on league fees and about £3200.00 on pre-paid pitch costs at Shenley.

Consideration of kit for the future is now a key. If our kits aren’t replaced this summer, they should be next summer. Sponsorship of kits is an option, although we’ve no sign at the moment of finding a sponsor, and no prospect of being able to offer much in return.

Assuming we assume £2000.00 of our balance is currently set aside for kits, then our effective balance is £4500.00. The reserve target we set five years ago of £5000.00 is within sight.

We should therefore aim to maintain the current financial regime for next season:- £7.00 match fees, halved for students, annual subs £25.00 if playing ten or more games (£20.00 if paid by 1st November) and £10.00 “social subs” if playing four or more games, with a £10.00 match sub for the vets. Annual subs for students and unemployed to be waived.

This should then hopefully make a surplus of around £5000.00 to increase the effective float, and set aside a further £500.00 for our kit purchases. We shouldn’t need to purchase more change kits.

Financial Management

One area of concern that crept up on us during 2002-03 was arrears of subs collected. A new system allowing captains to email in team reports (which they did consistently) and pay subs direct to the Accies account (which wasn’t always done consistently) enabled a number of people to build up debts without really knowing it. With further confusion caused by blurred demarcation between the Treasurer and Chairman (both thought the other was getting information from the Bank, when in fact the Bank were sending it to a duff address) a debt of almost £1000.00 was collectively built up.

This is a major concern, both in terms of the Accies cash-flow, but also the scope for skippers finding themselves in a debt position which might cause them a problem. It’s happened before and we need to ensure it can’t happen again.

For next season it was agreed to ensure the Treasurer has full control over the accounts, so that he can manage them properly – this should also reduce the load on the Chairman, an added bonus!

3. KITS AND SPONSORSHIP

We believe that we have a realistic prospect of finding a kit sponsor, but this is still to be confirmed.

We shall therefore delay the purchase of new kits until we can be certain whether a sponsor is viable – if we can find one then we may buy kits during next season, or equally if it becomes clear we cannot we may take the plunge as well. We would hope to have new kits by Christmas 2003.

4. IMPROVING THE SOCIAL ELEMENT FOR THE ACADEMICALS

The season saw some progress on the social side, with three major club evenings:- Christmas, post Cup Final (all three AFA Finals were on the same day) and end of season. Whether an Annual Dinner or other functions (boat party, day at the dogs, golf tournament) are options should be considered and by relinquishing his Treasurer hat Spencer Gore hopes to be able to focus on the social element.

We should aim to organise two pre-Christmas, and two post-Christmas club events along the lines of the two do’s at “Walkabout”. Same venue or others depending on sponsorship etc.

5. ELECTION OF OFFICERS

The following were all proposed, unopposed, 21 days in advance of the AGM and were duly elected:

Chairman – Danny McConnell

Vice Chairman – Mark Dawson

Treasurer – Dan Chantler

Hon. Secretary – Danny McConnell

Fixture Secretary – Mark Dawson

Social Secretary – Spencer Gore

Referees Secretary – Danny McConnell

Statistician – Bobby Butlin

1st XI Captain – Jon Houghton

2nd XI Captain – Danny Fewkes

3rd XI Captain – Scott Atkinson

4th XI Captain – Dan Willoughby

5th XI Captain – Rob James

6th XI Captain – Bobby Butlin

Veterans XI Captain – Paul Matthewson.

6. CONTACTS WITH UCL

The continuing influx of ex-UCL players is good, but needs to be continued, and the onus inevitably falls on the youngest members. We do get our pitches because we’re a UCL Alumni club, and we ought to do our best to maximise the number of UCL Alumni.

The Mandy Walker games need some serious consideration come summer 2004. Whilst the 5-a-side tournament (organised by Spencer Gore) was a major success, the single “Accies 1sts” vs UCL 1sts 11-a-side game was a disaster. The students won at a canter, with the Accies side decimated by dropouts and players not bothering to play and being involved in the 5-a-side instead. As a consequence two of the Vets, retired from “normal football” were dragged out to play alongside a predominantly 4th XI team, and the whole thing descended into farce.

Whilst we should continue to support the Mandy Walker games, we shall suggest to the college that the “come and join the Accies element” (which is the basis behind the 11-a-side games) should be removed, and we shall instead suggest a couple of 11-a-side games played under floodlights in late March.

These would then enable us to do a proper recruiting job – one game would be for higher sides (1sts, 2nds and 3rds) and the other for lower sides (4ths, 5ths, 6ths) with an Accies Select XI against UCL Select XI (ideally biased towards final year students) under lights. For the students (and the Accies!) this should be an attractive novelty, and if we can lay on some beer afterwards hopefully we can attract the majority of UCL FC to one or both games. The Accies can afford to run the games.

7. DISCIPLINE

Again in 2002-03 the club came close to reaching AFA Disciplinary Stage 1, which would have triggered a fine. Last season we hoped this was a one-off, but clearly it isn’t. Again the main source of problems was the 1st XI, and again far too many of them were of the dissent nature. A number of members of the team expressed their concern about it, and felt it affected performance.

We need to carefully consider the club disciplinary code, which as these sort of things go is fairly lenient (some clubs suspend a player for one match for picking up a single caution) and often not applied. It was agreed the current approach with the Disciplinary Code should be sufficient, although we should publicise it during the season, particularly following a disciplinary issue.

8. ANY OTHER BUSINESS - TRAINING

Danny Fewkes will investigate booking some Astroturf pitches for training during late July, August and early September, some targeted at the higher sides (1sts, 2nds, 3rds) and some at the lower sides (4ths, 5ths, 6ths). It isn’t really viable to have the whole club at training (too many people) and we wish to give people an environment in which they can train with people of similar ability.

Closer to the start of the season we shall also run some Sunday morning sessions in Regents Park.

The league season is due to begin on Saturday 20th September, hopefully for all of our sides. We shall, as last year, aim to have a full set of preseason games on Saturday 13th September, a near full set on Saturday 6th September and a couple of games on Saturday 30th August.

We shall enter the Finchleian 6-a-side again (Sunday 7th September) but decided not to enter a similar competition at Old Owens on Sunday 24th August, as it is midway through the Bank Holiday weekend.

 

The meeting was closed at 9pm.