Chairman’s Festive Update

Season’s greetings from all of us at Southwell City FC!

Dear friends

As the festive season is nearly upon us I would like to extend my warmest wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your loved ones, on behalf of everyone here at Southwell City FC.

As a football club, we now have a total of 41 teams, representing all age groups in boys, girls, mens, and womens football. This is the largest number of teams the club has ever had. We are incredibly proud of this achievement, but it does present its challenges in managing the club. Our dedicated committee and the numerous volunteers who generously give their time to run each of these teams deserve special recognition for their hard work in making this happen.

Looking ahead to 2024, I would like to share with you some of the club’s aims for the upcoming year. Please find below an update on many of the activities that we are working on. As well as an update on what is happening on the junior side of the club, Jonny Upton has provided an update on the men’s senior team.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the rest of the committee for their dedication and hard work throughout this year. They have consistently gone above and beyond, managing their jobs, families, and other commitments while still prioritising the club’s needs. Their unwavering commitment during challenging times showcases their true passion for Southwell City FC. We are a small but determined team, and although progress may not always be visible on the surface, rest assured that we are continuously working behind the scenes. We are always on the lookout for additional support across all areas of the club. If you believe you can contribute, please do not hesitate to reach out.

We thank you for your continued support and look forward to the exciting opportunities that 2024 will bring.

Yours in football,

John Cunningham
Southwell City FC

Juniors Update

  1. England Football Accredited: In 2023, the old FA Charter Standard was replaced by England Football Accredited. I am immensely grateful to our coaches and volunteers who have invested the last 12 months in updating their qualifications to meet the new FA standard. Moving forward, we aim to build upon this progress by offering our coaches further opportunities to develop their skills through advanced coaching badges.
  2. Inclusive Football: We are currently in preliminary discussions with the FA to introduce disability football within our club. This aligns perfectly with our mission of ensuring that football is accessible to everyone who wishes to participate. To spread awareness about the new program, we will be organising an open day this spring to provide interested players and their families with more information on how they can get involved.
  3. Playing Kit: For the 2024/25 season, we aim to establish a club-wide policy for playing kit. Quality and affordability are crucial factors that we will consider. We will engage in discussions with various kit manufacturers, both large and small, to find the best options. At the same, we want to continue to support and collaborate with local suppliers who have proven to be excellent partners thus far.
  4. Renovation of the Memorial Ground Clubhouse: Our intention is to allocate funds for the much-needed renovation of the Memorial Ground clubhouse. These improvements are vital to accommodate projects like disability football. Furthermore, we want to enhance the working environment for Nellie’s Cafe and Bubblewrap. We eagerly await the signing of an extended lease for the building, which has been agreed upon by the Southwell Town Council and is currently with the solicitors. Once finalised, this will enable us to access potential funding for the renovation work.
  5. Sustainability: In January, we will publish the club’s new sustainability policy. As a club, we are committed to minimising our environmental impact and implementing long-term objectives to promote sustainability. In the short term, we will launch an online boot recycling scheme and encourage greener transport solutions on match days. We believe that small changes can make a big difference, and we are dedicated to doing our part to protect the environment.
  6. Goal Storage: We recognise the need for improvement in goal storage for mini soccer at the Memorial Ground. Our priority is to replace the plastic Samba goals with more durable, foldable goals that can be easily assembled and stored. To accomplish this, we require suitable storage facilities. We have explored various options and are currently working with Southwell Town Council to obtain planning permission for our preferred solution. We hope for their continued support in approving this plan by early 2024.
  7. Pitches: As our club continues to grow, the demand for pitches also increases. We are currently operating at near capacity and need to explore options that will allow us to cater to all of our teams. We have provided information to the Southwell Town Council regarding pitch improvement grants available through the FA. Given that we often lose games during the winter due to inclement weather, it is essential to find ways to enhance the quality of our grass pitches and their drainage. Looking ahead over the longer term, we are engaging in very early discussions with other local sports clubs about the potential installation of a 4G pitch in the town.

Mens Seniors Update

What a whirlwind of a year!

Firstly, let me give you more of a detailed update on Munno. He suffered a double leg-break against St Andrews in what was the worst injury I’ve ever seen on a football pitch. The assistant referee Paul, and the emergency medic were amazing, and I can’t praise them enough for how they handled the situation. He was in transferred to hospital, where he had 3 operations over the course of 4 days. Two were to fix the bone break, one was an emergency one to relieve blood pressure that had built up in his calf. They’ve put a metal rod in his shin and he may need a skin graft after Christmas to help tidy his shin up following the last operation. The good news is he was released from hospital on Friday so he gets to spend Christmas at home. Six of us have visited him in hospital and he’s absolutely blown away by the response to his fundraising campaign. I also want to thank everyone who’s contributed and he’ll be attending the game at Newark; it’ll be great to see him again!

From a football perspective, it’s been a year where we should keep some perspective. We comfortably stayed up last season after a stronger second half of the season, and that in itself was a huge achievement considering the landscape we are up against. This season we want to kick on, but we’ve been inconsistent to say the least. We’ve played in the FA Vase for the first time and I thought the way the club handled the groundhop day was immaculate.

Whilst I think our squad is better this season, we’ve got a really young side that needs time to adapt to Step 6 football. I think our average age is about 22, which therefore means we’re going to have ups and downs. We’ve got over 16 senior players who’ve come through our youth ranks and I’ll continue to back the young lads as the conveyor belt provides us with a key route to sustainable success. However, my standards are high and being honest I think we’ve under-delivered so far. Let’s call it a slow start with expectations that we’ll improve as the season goes on!

My principles remain the same and I’m delighted that four of my players have hit 200 games for us, which in itself is a remarkable achievement for a Step 6 team. I also hit 200 games in charge this season which is an equally proud moment for me. I’m super fortunate to be here with a great bunch of players and a supportive exec committee.

On a side note, I’d like to again congratulate Brett & Phil on their promotions last season. We now have a development side at Step 9 which is there to service our youth section as a bridge to senior football, and a reserve team at Step 7 which massively enables us to raise the level of the senior section. We operate as a team of three and talk daily, which I think is a unique and powerful position to be proud of.

I think we have the tools on and off the pitch to be a Step 5 side in five years, that’s my target. I’m so driven and determined that I want to make that happen. Collectively, let’s work to get there but appreciate that it’ll take time & perspective.

Off the pitch, we’ve continued our improvements in 2023. We now have a seated stand, a players walkway and better drainage. Let’s face into the elephant in the room on the latter! Whilst we’ve made improvements on the pitch and Shaun has worked tirelessly at it, we’re still having more games called off than we’d obviously like. There’s some important context here. It’s a former sheep’s field which is clay-based and basically situated on a floodplain at the bottom of 2 hills… these are significant challenges! However, what’s great and reassuring is that we have created a plan to continue to invest some profits into the pitch over the next few years to add more drainage and improve the surface.

To finish, thank you all so much for your support in 2023. I hope you all have a great festive break with your families and here’s to a successful 2024.


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