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Annual Report

MERSEYSIDE COUNTY SCHOOLS’ FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

FOUNDED 1974

ANNUAL REPORT 2015-16

 

I Summary

 

  • 42nd MCSFA Annual Report.
  • Council met on three occasions during the season, the last occasion being in early March when a Special General Meeting was convened to resolve an issue relating to Bootle & District’s participation in the Everton Cup 2016, the Meeting deciding narrowly that they should be allowed to participate – Minutes of all Meetings circulated and/or available on request.
  • New Council Members were Tony Scanlon (Liverpool Rep), Dave Holmes (Sefton Rep), Sharon Dowd (Secondary Girls’ Competitions), Megan Ball (County Girls’ U16 and U14 Team Manager), Dave Porter (EvertonAcademy). We thank retiring members, whom they replaced, for their commitment to schools’ football – Tim Johnson, Paul Delaney, Sharon Mulhaney, Martin Ho, Mike Dickinson, with a special thank you to resigning ESFA North West Rep, Mark Shackleton.
  • Two new Life Members were Mike Dickinson (Everton Academy) and Tim Johnson (Liverpool SFA).
  • No County Team was successful in ESFA or Northern Counties Competitions in 2015-16.
  • Our U18 County Team had to withdraw from the Northern Counties Competition for playing an ineligible player due to wrong date of birth being recorded on Registration Form.
  • The MCSFA and Liverpool FA U18 Squads intend to combine next season.
  • Merseyside had no international players 2015-16.
  • Liverpool U15 and U13 were national champions, along with Stanley U13 and Cardinal Heenan U14 and U15 in their respective ESFA PlayStation B Team competitions - congratulations to all.
  • Everton Cup / Trophy at Goodison and Liverpool Cup at LFC Academy were brilliant primary occasions. It is hoped to reinstate the Liverpool Cup at Anfield next season after the completion of the main stand redevelopment. A great thank you to Everton and Liverpool staff.
  • Futsal established in selected Liverpool schools via Liverpool FA.
  • Three secondary 11-a-side cup girls’ competitions collapsed due to lack of commitment by many schools – to be revamped next season along festival lines with delivery via Liverpool FA working with School Game Organisers / Officers (SGO’s).
  • All other competitions (secondary and primary) were completed thanks to great work by our competition coordinators, although it was universally noted that communication from an increasing minority of schools was poor.
  • U19 College / 6th Form Wednesday afternoon Leagues organised by the Liverpool FA (Wayne Wardle) were proving to be highly attractive and successful.
  • It is Merseyside’s turn to provide Chairman of Northern Counties SFA for 2016-17.
  • ESFA AGM was deferred from 25 June due to projected attendance figure not being sufficient to make the Meeting quorate – new date is 10 September in London.
  • Keith Cahillane (MCSFA Primary and St Helens Secretary) has been nominated by Merseyside (and seconded by Cheshire) to represent the North Region in place of resigning ESFA Rep Mark Shackleton – awaiting ratification by/at ESFA AGM.
  • A comprehensive list of MCSFA (& Other) Finals, along with full Acknowledgements, can be found on the MCSFA website (www.mcsfa.org.uk) from 1 September – paper copies on request.

 

II Paid Administrator

 

             The ESFA has made available a grant of £4,000 per annum for three years to every county school association for a paid administrator. This has to be applied for and is solely for basic administration. The MCSFA is about to submit a bid and has had meetings with the ESFA and the Liverpool FA with regard to a shared post being established at the Liverpool FA Office for roughly a two and a half day week with flexible time. The MCSFA hopes to add a further £1,000 to the £4,000 to match £5,000 which the Liverpool FA would guarantee, making a salary of £10,000. The person appointed would be an employee of the Liverpool FA and be based in their offices at Walton, with the MCSFA Secretary acting as his/her line manager with regard to schools’ business, in compliance with the administrator’s overall job description, the latter to be formulated in the coming weeks. The job description could involve tasks such as setting up a data base for easier contact to schools, overseeing MCSFA affiliation/s, completing the annual ESFA grant application, monitoring certain competitions and generating income through publicity, advertising and sponsorship.

 

It is interesting to note that a number of county school associations are taking a similar route to Merseyside to help ensure ‘survival’. This, of course, won’t necessarily solve completely the problem of an ever diminishing teacher workforce willing to volunteer for administration / officer roles in associations – highlighted by your County Secretary for the past several years – but it will help a little to alleviate the increasing workload on secretaries. It would buy time. It is no longer a viable proposition to expect teachers to come forward as volunteers to administer schools’ football. Some will do a bit – especially with teams – but teachers are simply under too much pressure nowadays, and therefore do not have the time to accomplish  the work required of them, exemplified by the rapid national decline in recent years of district associations.

 

Where does all this leave the future state of schools’ football? Your opinion would depend upon whether you look at the glass half full or half empty. If the latter and you hark back to ‘the good old days’ then be happy and content with that, but the old model of the past (and today) with regard to delivery is unsustainable. We have to change – the FA is forcing this upon the ESFA anyway. My own job description as Merseyside County Secretary has developed enormously, even from just five years ago. My workload has increased considerably and is becoming unmanageable, even in retirement. The FA, with increased funding to ESFA, is making the ESFA and its member associations more and more accountable for what they do – especially county associations, who are now seen as the link between the FA/ESFA and local district associations, with county secretaries the conduit for delivery in all directions and thus bearing the brunt. They seem to forget that we are voluntary organisations.

 

Shifting towards the alternative perspective of the glass half full – one which I will always adhere to – focuses the belief on not only sustainability but also on growth. The MCSFA’s data input onto our Annual Business/Development Plan for FA/ESFA grant reflects this. Further, the ESFA have now produced a Service Level Agreement which all county associations have to work toward over the coming season. This comes in the mandatory column. I am pleased to report that Merseyside currently is fully compliant and hits all the targets. This has only been achievable with the great support of the Liverpool FA Development Department over the past few years – principally in the delivery of U19 College / 6th Form Leagues, the installation of the FA Full-Time programme on the MCSFA website to assist in the monitoring of our secondary school cup competitions, girls’ football development, disability football and Futsal. Being fully compliant benefits Merseyside with an extra £2,000 entitlement for next season, with an additional £1,000 for the subsequent two seasons. These amounts should more than cover the extra £1,000 needed towards the paid administrator’s salary.

 

There will always be a market for schools’ football. Pupils/students will always want to play football and represent their schools/colleges. What we now have to acknowledge is a radical shift in delivery with a new delivery model which caters for not only the control and monitoring within the traditional ESFA framework, but one which also caters for the existing multiple providers of schools’ football such as SGO’s and School Sports’ Partnerships (SSP’s), county fa’s, community departments of professional clubs, The FA Secondary Schools Programme, Premier League initiatives, national government funding for school sport and even private enterprises. Integration and partnership should be key, but it all has to be rigorously controlled and managed through first class communication networks exhibiting committed leadership. Longer term, I can only see this being the role of a full time paid administrator based on site at say a local county fa whose role it will be to manage the delivery of schools’ football throughout any given county schools’ boundary. Where all this leaves the local associations I’m not sure. Thinking positively, they could be re-energised under a new delivery model, but this could be a few years down the line. On Merseyside, our local associations – all age, secondary and primary – remain overall, healthy and stable, although greater thought needs to be given to areas which do not have rep teams as to how talented players (boys and girls secondary) can be given opportunity to play at higher levels.

 

Much of the above readers may disagree with, that’s fine with me and is your right, but after nearly 50 years of involvement in schools’ football on Merseyside, I cannot come up with a better way to advance our case other than what I have outlined. The Liverpool FA is fully supportive of this recommended pathway. Your Chairman and I are approaching retirement from our roles, but we both do not want to finish and leave the MCSFA in disarray. The introduction of a part time administrator for the next three years is, we feel, a move in the desired direction and will help us, we hope, to eventually retire in positive circumstances. I will continue to be the Schools’ Rep on the Liverpool FA and therefore will be working closely with whoever is appointed. Such a huge transition in schools’ football administration cannot be accomplished in a season and it is impossible to look too far ahead. It needs to be adapted and tweaked as we go along. But we hope it to be the start of a better future for the administration of schools’ football ensuring sustainability and growth. Let’s take it step by step. What I am certain about is that we cannot go on functioning as we have done for the past 100 years. Nothing lasts forever. All this, of course, does not exclude any teacher or non-teacher from taking on any MCSFA officer role, supporting officer role or any other key role from next season. If any reader is interested, or knows of anyone else interested, then please let us know.

 

III Conclusion

 

             To end on a really cheery note, it is extremely pleasing to witness the appointment of Jake Collin (ex-Cardinal Heenan and Merseyside U19 national winner in 1992) as Assistant to Mark Clattenburg in the Euro Final between France and Portugal in Paris. Jake also officiated at the recent Champions League Final between the two Madrid clubs in Milan and also ran the line at the FA Cup Final a year ago between Arsenal and Aston Villa. Well done, Jake!

 

            Thank you, on behalf of the MCSFA, to all (teachers and non-teachers) who have done their bit for schools’ football across Merseyside over the 2015-16 season – MCSFA Council Members, local associations, schools, Liverpool FA and many others.

 

            Enjoy the rest of your summer!

 

 

R K Davies – Honorary Secretary