On Monday evening we held the Annual General Meeting which is normally the last official act of one season and the start of the new one because we fix the dates of the pre-season cups and the start date of the League campaign.
However, due to the current situation, which thankfully appears to be easing, we couldn't do that. We did manage, via Zoom and email, to complete the set AGM agenda and I can now officially welcome Oldham Community FC to the league, as well as additional teams from Leigh Genesis (Formerly Leigh Athletic), Middleton Colts, Pennington, Uppermill and Wilmslow Albion, and also to confirm that Stockport Georgians will be remaining with the League.
I am also happy to confirm that, despite our loss of supply league status, we WILL continue to have Assistant Referees on the Premier Division.
There are still one or two bits of "housekeeping" that we need to do to tidy up some of the rules which, due to the inevitable advance of technology, have become a bit outdated, but the rules sub-committee will be meeting, via Zoom, to get this done over the next few weeks so that when we have the mandatory pre-season meeting we will put the rules to the clubs for approval, as well as the final make up of Divisions 3, 4 and 5.
I am sure that by now you will have seen that the FA are to make 124 members of their staff redundant and have forecast a serious drop in revenue. We are unaware at this stage as to if, and how, this will affect football at our level, but I can foresee a general tightening of the financial belt, by which all leagues will feel the pinch, so some of our initiatives may have to be shelved for a while, but we will keep you updated.
The management committee had all agreed to continue for the next season, and the meeting on Monday approved that, so I would like to publically thank all my colleagues on the committee for their work over what was a very unusual season, and for putting up with the odd outburst from me when, probably, I should have had more tonic and less Gin. It is unfair really to single anyone out, but the work Platty has put in is just phenomenal. He and I probably speak every other day about League stuff, he has organised and run the Zoom meetings as well as attended meetings all over the North on behalf of the League. He also always conducts the financial review of the year with our accountants which whilst boring and time consuming, does have that added benefit that it is in Portugal (he travels at his own expense!) but because of Covid that also took place via Zoom, and my special thanks to to him.
We are, like the rest of you in other hands with regard to starting again, we will, as far as possible, keep you up to date with progress in that regard and try to ensure that you have as long as possible to prepare for any restart. I know that lots of you have started training and some are talking of pre season friendlies........PLEASE, PLEASE, COMPLY WITH THE CURRENT FA GUIDELINES DON'T THINK THIS VIRUS HAS GONE AWAY OR THAT YOU ARE INVINCIBLE.
Following a meeting with the The Lancashire FA, they have informed us that they will be carefully monitoring all friendlies so with this in mind, please take extra care.
I know Jason has had some tentative requests to provide officials but we have agreed that NO Manchester League referees will be allowed to officiate so.........PLEASE DON'T ASK!
Thank you all for your patience during the strangest season I have ever known, have a good summer, hopefully we will be back playing soon.
Cheers and stay safe,