March 2020 Update
Recently football has had to take a back step as we adjust our personal and working lives during these testing times. However, as we head into the 2nd week of full lockdown some clarity is starting to emerge with regards to how the football season will end and now it seems to be the right time to update club members on club activities.
Firstly, I am unaware of anyone within the club having contracted Covid-19 however, given the size of our club it is highly likely that there will some members, or loved ones of members, that will have contracted it and as such I wish anyone suffering or recovering our best wishes.
The FA announced last Thursday that the remaining part of the season for all football from Step 3 down will not be played out. Leagues were given the choice to expunge the results with no promotions or relegations or determine the league based on the results to date.
The Kent County Football League have confirmed that all league and cup competitions are declared null and void and the results expunged.
The Southern Veterans League have confirmed the league will be determined based on average points and as such the Vets have been confirmed as 2nd in the league and have gained promotion. Congratulations go to them.
The Tandridge Youth League have also declared all leagues as null and void although they do appear to be considering playing out cup competitions albeit they are clearly not going to be played anytime soon if at all. This is particularly disappointing for the U16 girls team who were in a great position to win their league and were through to the semi-final of the league cup. The U13 and U17/18’s were also in a good position (both were 3rd in their respective leagues) and there were a number of the mini-soccer sides through to their respective Spring Cup semi-finals.
Football is clearly secondary at a time like this but the management of the club cannot simply stop and as such the Board is endeavouring to function and do as much as we can.
As everyone is aware the pitches at the club have suffered as a result of the exceptional rainfall over winter. We have been endeavouring to address this and just before Covid-19 struck we were visited by a ground consultant from the Institute of Groundkeeping who undertook a thorough review of the ground. He submitted his report to the AFA and this, along with another report the club commissioned was submitted to the Football Foundation who have agreed “in principle” to fund capital works in the form of drainage. This is subject to a formal application process and getting quotes but they are suggesting this grant could be worth as much as £5,000 which should allow us to install essential drainage. They have also noted we are eligible for a maintenance grant which will enable us to fund the ongoing improvements and avoid a situation such that we had this winter occurring again.
Obviously, the logistics of doing this work is in doubt currently but we hope to have the funding in place such that the work can be carried out in the summer.
The planning application for the 3G pitch, floodlights and clubhouse is ongoing. Representatives from the club met local residents and councillors in February. The local residents remain a little sceptical but they now understand what we are trying to achieve and are broadly supportive so we should not get the level of objection when the application is resubmitted. Perhaps more relevant is that we have overwhelming support from local councillors for our plans and the scheme has been identified as a strategic project in the Football Foundation local plan. We had hoped to submit the application this week but the current situation has delayed the preparation of some of the reports but we hope to have the revised application submitted in the next few weeks and as things stand planning authorities are still performing their duties. In this regard it is possible that planning permission could be in place by September.
One final bit of good news is that we will have three open-age senior sides next season (plus the Vets). The third team will be formed of a group of players who have mostly come through the youth system. The KCFL only allow two teams from a single club and as such we have approached the Southern Amateur League who approved our application “in principle” (it is subject to a clubs vote at the AGM – which should be a formality) at their management meeting this week. This is great news as it means a return the SAL after a 17 year absence, assuming we are formally voted in. The club has a strong affiliation to the SAL having played in this league from 1967 to 2002 fielding 7 teams for most of this period.
Given that it is highly unlikely that we be able to have our annual club dinner for the seniors and presentation day for the juniors this seems a good opportunity to thank everyone that makes our club function. Without the secretaries, treasurers, managers, coaches, first-aiders, welfare officers, linesman, referees and general helpers the club could not function. It’s impossible to name everyone as the numbers probably extend to over 100 so a big thank you to everyone who has helped or contributed in some way no matter how small. A specific mention must however be made to our President John Cooper who, despite being in his 90’s, still comes down the club every Saturday and ensures the Broms reputation for hospitality lives on.
To this end, all I can say is please stay safe and follow the government advise and once this current situation is over, which it will be, we look forward to welcoming you all back in the new season and lets looked forward to a fantastic 20-21 season.
Yours in sport,
Andy Stanford, Chairman