Just over 12 months ago, in order to get my facts straight I looked into the history of our club. The founding meeting was held in April 2001 and they had approximately 57 players. The President of the club in that first year was Brian Downes, I had an opportunity earlier this year to talk to Brian about the formation of our club. Ironically he is now involved with the South Hobart Football Club which has just had its centenary year; whilst the club he helped start is now approaching its tenth year.
The youngest team Woodbridge fielded in that year was an Under 8 team, two brothers Bolan and Jed Peebles-Stringer played for that team, Bolan at the tender age of 6 and Jed 7. As most of you are probably aware both of these boys are still with the club today, they have both taken the pitch for the senior men this year with Bolan also playing for the Under 16 side.
The reason for this brief glance back in time was to assess the direction the club is headed, are we still holding true to the original objectives. The answer to this, I believe is yes; the original objective was ‘to make soccer accessible and affordable to children living in the Channel’. Are we doing this and are we in a position to continue doing this, I believe so.
This year we fielded 3 junior teams, 2 youth teams, a senior men’s and senior women’s; we have a total of 96 registered players. We have almost twice as many teams as last year and easily twice as many players.
What is vital to the continued growth of the club is our new, youngest members. This year we had a very strong turn out with our under 6 team. For most of the season we had 8 very keen and very exciting players showing up, full credit must go not only to the children themselves but to the parents supporting them and their coach John Gorrie. I have always looked forward to reading their match reports. Let us hope that in ten years time a club president is looking back to when some of these children started in 2010.
All of our teams were not only very competitive this year but also displayed a very high standard of sportsmanship. It is vital that we continue to teach, model and expect nothing but the best in sportsmanship as players, spectators and coaches, despite what our sporting heroes in the wider world may be displaying. This high standard of sportsmanship was upheld with our highly competitive, victorious under 16 team. They have rightly earned a great deal of respect amongst the wider soccer community in Hobart for the way they handled themselves on and off the pitch.
You could be mistaken in thinking that we have had an excellent year and that we can continue on, present some trophies, enjoy the rest of the day and go home patting ourselves on the back for yet again another wonderful season. Unfortunately this is not the case.
When I became Vice President in 2008 the club was obviously about to enter a time of change with respect to the committee members. In 2009, last year, with a skeleton crew on board we weathered the storms, literally. We had no active treasurer that year and with Jodee Hurst managing the canteen and coaching, no other major fundraising and nobody to seek sponsorship we made a loss of around $2 000. This was along with the purchase of around 20 training balls for our junior teams.
This year however, having doubled our numbers, we have more than doubled the volunteer workload. We started positively in November ‘09 with what looked like a strong and capable committee however due to family commitments and the constant demand of full time work we continued on with maybe 2 to 3 active members at the helm.
In addition, I will take this moment to mention the unceasing and unfaltering presence of Alio Stringer in the background, somewhere in the shadowy spaces between the pages of our website; the hard work of Audrey and Noeline in the canteen; and the continuing support of Jodee and Charlie every week. It’s not for the lack of effort on the part of people like this that we didn’t get what we needed this year. We needed consistent and regular fundraising, we needed someone actively seeking corporate sponsorship, and we needed consistent and accountable systems for managing and tracking our income and expenditure. Unfortunately, whilst this was all planned for, the implementation was neither consistent nor accountable.
As President of the committee during this period of poor-management I take some of the responsibility for the consequences, the full extent of which will shortly become apparent in the Treasurer’s report. On behalf of the committee, I would like to apologise for our individual and collective shortcomings. The endeavours were always well intentioned, however the execution of them was, in the end, far from acceptable. If ever there was a year that pointed up the need for a wider involvement and greater commitment from members, this has been it; and I would ask that you each do what you can to ensure the future viability of the club. This can be as a committee member, coach, team manager or a range of other roles that are necessary for a local sports club to function.
I would like to wish the incoming committee the best of luck for the coming year. While it is up to you as to whether i am re-elected to the committee in some role, I do wish to continue my involvement in whatever capacity necessary to enable the club to continue ‘to make soccer accessible and affordable to children of all ages living in the Channel’.