I hope you are all well and starting to get back into the swing of things football wise. Looking at the very early league tables, some of you have hit the ground running and, as usual, some of you are yet to get back into your stride, but its early days yet plenty of time to put things right if necessary.
We had our first "real" committee meeting this week, the August one was only a day or so after we kicked off, and I fondly believed that it would be a straight forward discussion of finance, media, welfare and fixtures.
Despite the fact that we haven't played for ages it appears that my particular bete noir, touchline discipline, far from improving has plummeted to new depths. We had numerous reports from referees of "an increased level of verbal abuse" and in a couple of cases threats of physical violence.
I've banged on about this in this page for ages now, apparently to no avail.
You can't have a game of football without a referee, and when I get phone calls from refs telling me that they have "had enough" and Jason gets the same, and we are having to talk them out of quitting, it doesn't bode well for football at this level.
You have all seen that some games have been pulled because we can't find refs to cover them, this in part is due to Cup competitions (County and FA) and Jason by and large is able to cope with this but if these refs carry out their threat and resign.....PEOPLE, WE ARE GOOSED!!
We won't have enough officials to go round, we may have to consider NOT having assistants on Premier Division games which would be a hugely retrograde step not only for PD clubs but also for the League. We need to maintain our feeder league status and the fact that despite losing our supply league status in an FA reshuffle, we continue to push the FA into giving it back and one of our arguments is that we continue to put assistant on PD games.
So please think on. I know football is emotional but PLEASE try to button it on the touch line, and remember that when you ring me or Jason at 1.45pm on a Saturday afternoon to say the refs not turned up what are you going to do about it, if he or she then turns up and gets a volley of abuse for 90 minutes.......next week you might not be so lucky!
Whilst on this subject, please make sure that the referees changing accommodation is up to scratch, I know because I did it, you've got an old kit, some old footballs, a broken washing machine, a line marker etc which are in the way, where do you put them..........refs room, please don't, we're in this together so lets work it out eh?
I'm sorry to start the season on such a downbeat note and I apologise to the new clubs in the league who will be reading this for the first time and may be thinking WTF have we let ourselves in for here? I'll tell you what you will get in the Manchester League, a good standard of football, right the way through the divisions, I've been around this league for 30 odd years now (I have the scars on my legs to prove it) and there are no easy games, its competitive, hard but fair, and over the seasons has got faster. It's a good league, go somewhere else in the country mention that you play in the Manchester League and they will say " Heard of that, it's a bloody good league"
Lets work together to keep it that way.
Right.......as one of my Jewish friends says "Enough already, Hydey", take care, stay safe and enjoy your football. I'm sure I'll see you all soon as I continue my wanderings around the grounds.