Our treasurer Reg Oxby reported a profit of £4,000 on the 2022-23 season at the annual meeting last night (Tuesday, June 13th).
He said the surplus compared to a loss of £9,000 on the previous campaign and was thanks to sponsorship, advertising and bar takings on match days.
The money coming in was essential for the running of the club and he thanked all those who helped in various roles as, without these volunteers, the club would be unable to function.
Reg was happy that the club was in sound financial position to meet the demands of the forthcoming season and to support future development.
Chairman Mike Hall welcomed everybody to the meeting and said that, in football terms, it had been one of the most challenging years for the club.
Due to bad weather, all teams had fixtures postponed and, to fit matches in at the end of the season, had to play ‘home’ games at alternative grounds. The support and understanding of team mangers was greatly appreciated.
Mike extended the club’s thanks to Tim Legg and Alex Pope for the work they had done with the first team and welcomed Richard Cherry who has taken over the management of the team with long serving player Jack Bown-Porter.
He said that next season the Reserves would be under the new management team of Mark Owen, Ken Pearson, Tom Hawkings and Mike Owen. Thanks were due to Nick Buttle and Adam Watson who had managed the team during the past season before deciding to step down from their roles.
The biggest thing affecting the club community during the season had been the sad loss of player Lloyd Manning and Mike thanked everyone who had provided, and continued to provide, help and support.
He also thanked all the officers, committee members, managers, and coaches for their work together with volunteers undertaking match day support, bar work, catering and the support for youth teams by parents – without this support the club would not be able to function.
Thanks were also due to Ken Bird for the media coverage which helped in promoting the club and its activities.
Particular thanks were due to Jeff Brown who was stepping down from his role of secretary and Mike said the club could not thank him enough for the work he had done, particularly in relation to the Longforth Farm project.
In his final secretary’s report, Jeff said that, despite the bad weather, all teams had been able to finish their fixtures in reasonable time, thanks in some cases to nearby clubs allowing teams to use their facilities and Wellington Cricket Club allowing the club to extend its time at the Playing Field.
The first team, under joint managers Tim Legg and Alex Pope, had been hoping to build and improve on their previous seasons but, despite losing a few players and introducing some new faces, they were unable to find any consistency and a disappointing end to the season saw them finish in 15th place.
An early exit to Willand in the FA Cup was followed by a win in the Vase over Barnstaple before losing a penalty shoot-out against Royal Wootton Bassett in the next round.
With Tim and Alex deciding to step down, the club had been fortunate to be able to appoint Richard Cherry and Jack-Bown-Porter as the new management team and they hoped to retain most of last season’s squad while introducing some new faces to the team.
The proposed amalgamation of the Toolstation Western League with the South West Peninsula League at the end of this season had been shelved for at least for another season. This amalgamation would reduce the excessive travelling for the majority of premier clubs and provide a great opportunity for many new teams.
The Reserves, under the guidance of manager Nick Buttle and his assistant Adam Watson and with the help of Mike Owen, enjoyed another successful season in the competitive first division of the Devon & Exeter League and, despite drawing eight of their games, finished in a very creditable third position.
It had been anticipated that they would be promoted to the premier division, but notification has just been received that they would remain in the first division next season.
Despite this success, Nick and Adam had decided to step down and the club had appointed team captain Mark Owen as manager to succeed them and he was hoping to retain most of the squad.
The A team, playing their third season in the top-flight of the Taunton Saturday League, finished in last place.
However, manager Warren Toth, with support from his senior players, and despite being put under considerable pressure on occasions, was able to field a team every week with the inclusion of players from the Under 18s, giving them a valued taste of adult football.
It was hoped that the team would be placed in the first division for the next season which should give them a better opportunity to develop. Matt Groves, who formerly managed youth teams in the club, had offered to join Warren in running the team, assisted as before by Reegan Scotcher.
The Ladies team had been promoted to the much stronger first division of the Somerset County Women’s League and, despite some spirited performances, finished in last place. They did, however, reach the quarter-final of the league cup before losing on penalties. With their coach Anthony Trimm and some of the players leaving, manager Nyima Touray was looking to add some new players to the squad for next season.
The new Wildcats team, under John Sellick and John Arnold, had stepped up from youth football, and had a very successful season. They won division two south by winning all but one of their games and were are now looking forward to what will be a much tougher challenge in the first division.
Under the management of Joe Conway and Andy Govier, the Under 18s were once again sorely tested by the weather and postponements but completed their games in a competitive south division of the Western Counties Floodlight League. Despite their lack of success, a number of the players progressed through the season and provided valuable support to the senior teams.
The Disability teams were again well marshalled in the Somerset Ability Counts League by manager Jason Fox and his assistants Dale Harraway and Paul Short and their enthusiasm was clear to see, while all the youth teams, under the auspices of Colin Waller and John Sellick, continued to acquit themselves well.
Such a large diversity of teams experiencing mixed fortunes on the pitch required a continuing small army of helpers and the club must thank all those who had worked hard to ensure that such a large number of adults and young people were able to enjoy the game.
While problems that were prohibiting any progress in the club’s ambition to move the senior teams’ facility to Longforth Farm would appear to have been solved, the long delays had seen a considerable increase in the cost.
Even though a considerable amount of funding had been secured, a more detailed assessment would suggest that the project would cost considerably more than could be realistically achieved.
In the meantime, it was hoped that the purchase of land between Court Fields School and the Basins would lead to the provision of badly needed youth team pitches.
Officers elected: President, Alan Shire; Chairman, Mike Hall; Vice-Chairman, Graham Aspin; Secretary and Membership Secretary, Jane Brown; Treasurer, Reg Oxby; Clubhouse Manager, Jenny Oxby; Welfare Officer and Youth Section Co-ordinator, Colin Waller; Website and Social Media Officer, Ken Bird.
Committee members: Officers plus Mike Bull, Steve Coles, Mike Owen along with managers Richard Cherry, Mark Owen, Warren Toth, Nyima Touray and John Sellick.