31st August, meteorically speaking, the last day of Summer, tomorrow it's Autumn. Unbelievable, as the song says "Why did summer go so quickly was it something that I said" (Noel Harrison Windmills of your Mind for my younger readers), but its true, we are now all back playing football and hopefully enjoying it.
Strange look to the top of the Premier Division with newly-promoted Heyside riding high at the top, I watched them a couple of times last season and they looked a good, well organised side, but to see the progress they have made I must confess has come as a bit of a surprise. The same could be said about Avro who have had a couple of years in the wilderness, I know that they had trouble behind the scenes with ground problems, illness to key committee members etc, but the move to the new stadium seems to have put the spring back in their step and they are as I write, undefeated this season. At the wrong end of the table Bolton County seem to be taking a while to find their feet but have started to pick up points recently......whilst on the subject of Bolton County, best wishes to Tom Helsby who suffered a serious head injury against Monton the other night, speedy recovery mate, but don't rush it, having recently suffered a head injury myself take it easy!
Old Alts also seem to be struggling again but they did last year and eventually turned it round, hopefully they will do the same again.
Following the influx of new clubs we had to split Division 1 as to have 23 clubs would have been unworkable. It looks as though this is going to be a competitive division this year as both Chapel Town and Beechfield United are undefeated so far with Elton Vale already looking like they will be able to get back to the Premier Division at the first time of asking.
Division 2 is, frankly, a bit of an unknown quantity but newcomers Tintwistle Athletic, who I saw in their first game against Hindley Juniors look to be a decent, well organised side who should be pushing for promotion at the end of the season, the others need to get their act together but I'm sure some of the established MFL clubs will start to do this shortly.
Having seen a couple of the new "development" sides already, my opinion is that moving into open age football has come as a bit of a culture shock with the physicality and pace that they may not be used to, but, I'm sure that week-by-week they will adapt and progress up the table.
I haven't seen any of the other divisions yet but I hope to rectify that in the next few weeks.
I know that some of you have had problems with the Whole Game System, but following a meeting with the LFA on Tuesday, Phil Platt and I were assured by them that the FA are aware of the glitches and are doing their best to eliminate them. In the meanwhile, if you have any problems, our Registrations Secretary Frank Ainsworth will do his best to assist, BUT, you may find it easier to contact your County FA who have designated officers to help.
Our meeting with the LFA was amongst other things, to put forward our League Development Plan for the next year which we have done but as yet, have had no feed back from the FA. When we do I will update you, but our initial impression is that our initiatives, awards, rules etc are acceptable, but the final arbiters are the FA with whom Phil and I will have to meet in the next few weeks.
Just over a week ago I received an email from Phil Lewis of Old Alts advising me that due to family commitments he would no longer be able to serve on the management committee, although he is continuing in his role with the club.
Over the years that he has been on the committee, Phil has been a great asset, his knowledge of local football, players, referees, grounds, which frankly is almost encyclopaedic, has been invaluable to us and he will be missed by us all, so I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank him for all he has done for the League and what he continues to do for Old Alts. Thanks Phil!!
I hope you will all have been able to download the new MFL App. I think its great, easy to access and with all the information you need easily accessible in one place, however I do see some dissenting comments on social media. Tell us why. Tell us what you want to see there and what you don't want to see. The idea is to make life easier.....so let us know please.
I think that is more than enough for the first PP of the season, so I'll wish you all good luck, enjoy your football, take care and, as I always say.......if you have a problem - don't tell someone else, tell me!