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Witton Albion Juniors News. 3 weeks 3 days ago #1

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Junior Newsletter, January 2021

To all Junior Members, parents, and anybody else.

As this is the first newsletter for 2021, a late “Happy New Year” to everyone from all at Witton Albion FC. One thing for sure, it can’t get any worse!!!

OK, I’m going to start with the better news – the vaccine that has been promised is now ready for using. I do know of some who have already received their jab. It’s been stated that the vaccine kicks in after about two weeks, and all (or at least most) of the population will be vaccinated by Summer. We are way ahead of all the European countries, and most of the world so at least that’s something.

Now for the bad news. It looks 99% certain that the Northern Premier League, and the Midlands, and Southern equivalents will not be re-starting this season. This is a real body blow to Witton and all the other teams at our level (and also the teams in lower leagues than Witton).

There are a few reasons why it’s unlikely to happen. A) there is no financial help from the FA only a loan arrangement which is not in the interests of the clubs. We would be expected to play the games behind closed doors. The Social Club obviously would be closed, with all the other add-ons which Witton rely on, would not be allowed. B) Premiership clubs are paid mega bucks for playing behind closed doors, which particularly annoys me personally, as they would not miss the spectators, at least financially but they are still paid a fortune. C) By the time we are expected to be safe through vaccination, which will be early Summer at best, there won’t be any time at all to even start the fixtures.

I’m sure you will all want to know if and how Witton Albion will survive the season without any money coming in. Well, first of all, we were in what we could describe as “a partially comfortable position” to start with. This is due to the way the club is run from the Board, and savings that have been made, and also different ways of raising cash through donations, running the draws, development fund etc. In addition, the Managers, players, and other paid staff have been furloughed (I’m sure you are familiar with that expression). It means in simple terms, the Government pays 80% of wages for stopping at home until the situation improves. Hopefully this means that our Management team, players, Social Club bosses will still be there when we actually start playing football again – probably August this year. It seems a lifetime away, but as we stand at the moment, Witton will still be there, and unfortunately, some other clubs may not be.

We have a good team at the moment, as I’m sure you will agree, even though we had a bad start. The current league table puts us in fifth place, but if you calculate the league by dividing the points gained by the games played, Witton would be in second place. I know the last game against Nantwich in the FA Trophy was a disappointment, but they played extraordinarily well that night. I’m sure they wouldn’t “turn us over” again like that. It’ll be different next season!!

So, assuming we keep the same team both on and off the pitch, I can’t see any reason why we can’t kick off where we left off – near the top of the league!!!!

Who knows what will happen to other clubs? Some have got financial backing to quite a tune (eg Buxton & Matlock amongst others), and provided they spend wisely, you would expect them to be challenging for the league title next season, the same as they were before lockdown. South Shields and FC United are other teams who are capable, but had not shown anything like their usual good form of the previous year. However, I would still expect Witton to be challenging near the top when we start up again. Unfortunately, there are going to be other clubs who will not be so lucky. I won’t guess who, and I hope I’m wrong, but there may be one or two teams who don’t make it to next season at all. Good luck to them.

Now to MEMBERSHIP CARDS for next season –

1) FOR ALL MEMBERS WHO REACH 18 DURING THE SEASON –

If it was your 18th Birthday during the season ie from August 2020 to August 2021, like last year, we will extend your membership for a further year. Some of you may be going to University, moving away from the area etc, but any of you who wish to continue with your Membership for one more season, you must let me know – it’s not automatic. IF YOU DON’T ASK, YOU DON’T GET. Unfortunately, we must draw the line under the guys who had last season’s membership extended – sorry!! The better news is that between ages 18-21, we have an intermediate admittance price of £6, before it rises to the full adult price of £11 after your 21st birthday. This is based on this season’s prices – be aware admission prices are reviewed every summer for the upcoming season, so there may be different prices after that Board Meeting for season 2021/2. As far as I know, no other club gives you this opportunity, so please take advantage, and get down to Wincham Park when you can. As normal, the discounts don’t apply to cup games at home – the FA control the prices, which will apply to you unfortunately.

2) FOR ALL UNDER 18’S WHO ARE SIGNED ON FOR WITTON JUNIORS

You don’t need to do anything – your team manager will pass on your details to me near the time, and he will distribute the card to each player. One change for this season – if you/your parents don’t want to give your address details, you don’t have to. We do need phone nos/email addresses etc in case of emergency at the stadium, so we know how to contact them.

With your parents permission, if you are 16 or over, you can supply your own email, but we would still need your parents phone number/s.

3) FOR ALL UNDER 18’S WHO ARE NOT SIGNED UP FOR WITTON JUNIORS OR PLAY FOR A DIFFERENT CLUB

During the summer, please fill in the application form which you can get by request, and email it back to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. I will then process the card, and you will be able to collect at the stadium on match day, by asking for me. As above, if you/your parents don’t want to give your address details, you don’t have to. We do need phone nos/email addresses etc in case of emergency at the stadium, so we know how to contact them.

With your parents permission, if you are 16 or over, you can supply your own email, but we would still need your parents phone number/s.

I started to tell you about the roles of everybody at Witton Albion FC. Last time, we covered the Chairman and the directors. I thought this time we’d talk about the Manager and his team – in other words, the people who are closest to the players, and mostly responsible for whether the club are winning trophies, being promoted, or dare I say it relegation.

I said I wouldn’t mention names, so here goes. We have the Manager, Assistant Manager, Physio, and Kitman on the team. Like the Chairman & Board, we are extra lucky to have the management team we have. I won’t go into too much detail, but the typical roles are as below – this will change at times due to circumstances changing.

Before the season starts, the Board will tell the manager how much money the club can afford for him to pay the players, themselves, and any transfer money available. That is called the Playing Budget. It’s the managers (and assistant) responsibility to decide which players they want to keep from the previous season, who wants to leave the club, which are not good enough in their opinion, and find new players to replace them.

That sounds dead easy, but it’s not. First of all, it’s the responsibility of the Board to keep the budget at a level they think the club can afford. Secondly, the Managers nearly always want more than offered to build a team that will win things. Imagine the conversation you have with your parents when you want a raise in your pocket money, and you will get the picture. Eventually, they will compromise (sometimes not), and the amount is agreed. To my knowledge, it’s never got to the point where the Chairman and Manager both wear a pair of boxing gloves, and slug it out, with the winner taking all, but you never know?????

Then the manager’s role changes – he then has to debate with the players how much he can afford to pay them, and if they’re not happy, they may leave for more money. I think it’s fair to say, the management team have a massive juggling act to perform.

I think it’s important to say at this point that the Board and the management team are closer together than at most other clubs, and each understands and respects the opinion of the other. Long may this continue!!!

Then we come to the actual football. The management team arranges friendly matches before the start of the league to assess any new players in addition to extra training, to see how they really play, how they fit in with the rest of the team and so on. That will often decide the best way for the team to play, and which system is best eg 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 3-5-2 etc. These tactics may change several times (sometimes even during a match), depending on the opposition, and how they play, and will also change due to injuries, suspensions etc.

There is much more to the management role than above, but it gives a simple idea of how it all fits together.

The physio is a massive influence on the management on who is fit to play and who isn’t. He takes charge of the physical fitness of the players during training, and looks after their wellbeing in case of injury. He’s the first on the pitch if one of our players gets hurt during the game. He makes a decision on whether he should continue playing, or be substituted if the injury is more serious. Most of the time, he can help the player on the pitch to continue, or if not, help him during training by extra/different treatment. Very occasionally, for a bad injury, he will call for an ambulance if he thinks it’s justified. I’ve seen this happen too many times, but thankfully, it’s not a regular event. This is a much more important job than many people realise.

Last but not least we have the kitman. Again this sounds easier than it is. Teams like Witton have to be careful on spending money, and part of his job is to find the best place to buy a new kit. He has to ensure the shirt sponsors have the correct logos on front of the shirt, and to ensure the kits are supplied properly. It’s not always the cheapest that wins, because he also wants quality. Because Witton have home and away kits, it’s always important to make sure the right kit is ready for the right game at the right time. I have known other teams make a total mess of this. About two years ago a team arrived at Wincham Park with a strip very similar to Witton’s red and white striped shirts. Witton then had to lend them their away strip which was luckily available, so we had Witton playing Witton for the first and probably the last time ever. I bet that team’s kitman still re-lives that nightmare.

OK, that’s all for now, keep your ears pinned to the ground, and any new information I get, I’ll pass it on to you.

Keep patient, we will get through this horrible time in the near future, be kind to your family and friends and other people, as we are all suffering in different ways.

So, good luck, and be sure everybody is looking forward to Witton opening their gates again asap, and we can’t wait to see you guys in person, when we can all get back to shouting Witton on to yet another victory.

See you soon

Alan

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