Fans Forum

Thursday night’s Fans Forum at The Clubhouse saw five senior coaches, seventeen players and around thirty fans in attendance. 

A number of questions were put from the floor on the following topics: 

Ins and outs at the club

Behaviour and players’ discipline

First team and Reserve team squads

Lessons learnt from last year

Preparation for Cup competitions

Playing style


Role of coaches

Season tickets

Mascots / Ball Boys and Girls

Watty and Danny felt the squad wasn’t particularly well balanced last year and have been looking for sustainability through the introduction of younger, quality players. It was felt that we needed an injection of more energy and pace into the team. Regarding the players who left, there were various reasons ranging from retirement to a desire to play at different levels (both higher and lower).

So far as discipline on the field is concerned, our record last season was much better in the second half of the season than in the first. This season sees the introduction of a code of conduct for the players and, with the introduction of a small senior players committee that will meet once a month, it’s felt behaviour and discipline will only improve.

The point was made that players play for the club. The “First Team squad” of around 22-25 players means that some players will inevitably play for the Reserves on occasion under new Reserve team manager Simon Tricker, who will appoint an assistant in due course. In total, it was pointed out there will be some 30+ players who could all find themselves playing for the First Team. The simple principle of each team having the strongest possible make up for each game will apply.

Regarding expectations for the coming season, the First Team will aim to win every game - pure and simple. Realistically, the play-offs should be on our radar. For the Reserves, it’s clear there needs to be improvement on last year’s performance and this is expected. So far as Cup games are concerned, the same principle applies - aim to win every game!

A number of lessons were learnt from last year and it’s felt that we now have the measure of the league. We needed, and now have in place, a better programme regarding scouting and a new programme in place regarding game time analysis. It was accepted that we were probably not mentally good enough last year but feel we are better prepared across the board for the coming campaign.

Watty and Danny spoke about our playing style for the season ahead but this is not the right forum to go into detail on that matter.

There is a new structure in place with respect to the players’ budget for the coming season with the explicit aim of bringing players closer together.

Some concern was voiced about the possibility of different messages from the dugout to the players. It was made crystal clear that the only two legitimate voices from the dugout would be from Watty and Danny.

The final two questions related to the sale of season tickets (up on this stage last year but with exact figures unavailable on the night) and mascots and ball boys and girls. Some very encouraging and supportive words were heard concerning these two matters and it was felt that it is vitally important that our numerous junior sides get to meet First Team players as much as possible as, for many younger boys and girls, the senior players are role models to be looked up to.

Gary Hammond reminded everyone of the importance of the Big Walk on the 4thof August and Carole Robinson said that it doesn’t matter when you do it or how far you walk. If you can’t do it yourself, sponsoring someone else is just as important.

The very final matter was that of announcing the new captain:

Club captain:             Stuart Ainsley

Team captain:            Dan Davis

Vice captain:              Callum Bennett

Miles Powell joins the three players named above as the final member of the newly-formed senior players committee. 

With the club now just a few weeks away from the start of the 2019/20 season, things are finally coming together for what is hoped to be a very successful campaign ahead. Watty and Danny are very much of the view that communication between coaches and fans is of the upmost importance and, with that in mind, it is hoped a Fans Forum can take place before the start of every new season.