In the immortal words of Noddy Holder, "Well here it is Merry Christmas everybody".........just a pity I have to be the Christmas Grinch to start with.
Over the past couple of my pages I have had a whinge about touchline behaviour and, sadly, I have to do so again. Most of you have seen me at your grounds and I have to say, that without exception, all of you are polite, sarcastic, argumentative, blunt, yes, but at least it is done in an acceptable manner.
Just recently I have seen some really bad examples of foul and abusive language not just used, but shouted at volume 11, against match officials, some of whom are under 18 and therefore subject to safeguarding regulations, and players, to whom the same safeguarding considerations may apply. Not only that, I have seen match officials and players threatened and, in one extreme case, kicked.
PEOPLE, THIS HAS TO STOP!!
At our meeting last night we had yet another report from a referee about threatening behaviour, and this from an experienced referee, its no wonder that some of the younger refs are walking away from the Manchester League, a trend, which if it continues, could mean that not all games will have a ref........if you think it's bad having a ref, try having a game without one and see what happens.
It's nearly the time for resolutions, please make yours for 2020 to behave better at games.
I have also noticed what I, as a retired Insurance Broker, consider an increased willingness to go to litigation, in the case of injury sustained in the course of a game. This is, of course, a matter for the individual involved, but do be aware that by entering into what is a contact sport, you accept that this carries with it an element of risk, and this would be raised as a defence. I'm sure you are all aware of the Ossett Town/Radcliffe Borough case, which potentially could put Ossett out of business, from my reading of the judgement the damages awarded to the player are not the problem, its the litigation costs, which are 6 times the cost of the damages.
Check your insurances carefully, seek advice if you need to, you may find the FA scheme does not provide your players with "a living wage" but they can take out individual policies to redress this shortfall.
It has also been notified to us that drug use at grounds has been noticed. This is something over which the league has no control or jurisdiction and cannot become involved. If you have any worries in this direction please address them to the appropriate authorities.
Think I can take the Grinch head off now!!
Apart from what I have said above, fixtures are moving along quite well, we haven't really suffered with the weather and I hope that continues, and the upcoming 2 week break doesn't come back to bite me on the bottom. It looks as though the divisions are taking a bit of shape now and Divisions 1 and 2 looks like going right down to the wire with the top teams all capable of beating one another. I haven't seen much of Divisions 3, 4 or 5 but I intend to put that right in the New Year.
On my own behalf, and on behalf of all the other members of the Management Committee, can I wish all of you and your families and loved ones a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous and peaceful New Year, enjoy yourselves and if, like me, you can't remain sober and dignified, then at least try to remain dignified.
All the very best,