Does a season ever end? Or does it just morph into the next one? It’s a question club secretaries and other volunteers up and down the country ask themselves every summer.
No sooner has the last game been played and the goalposts taken down ready for pitch maintenance, the correspondence and registration forms for the next season are already dropping into your inbox along with invites to summer six-a-side tournaments and various offers for new kit.
At times it can easily be forgotten these people that are the guardians of non-league football clubs, especially at grassroots level, have a full time day job to contend with whilst ensuring deadlines are met and adhered to, not just during the actual season.
One season might only have finished around four weeks ago, but it’s around the same amount of time until teams will be returning for pre-season training and friendlies. In the meantime comes the work to ensure the club is ready inside and out for the hard work of the nine months ahead. As already touched on, there are a number of forms to be filled out just to get things started and compliant such as league registration and FA affiliation.
Pitch renovations are vital to ensure the grass can stand up to the rigours over the wetter months as are the improvements around it to keep the ground in good shape whether that’s a lick of paint or building new fixtures. Most will have a social club or clubhouse that has seen general wear and tear and crying out for some love and care, the changing rooms likewise, all in need of a deep clean which isn’t always possible to do during the season itself.
New kit to be ordered, accounts to submit, meetings to attend, work parties to arrange to get the list of jobs done, it’s almost like it’s never ending.
Then there is the struggle to get new sponsorship into a club, existing businesses tend to renew their relationship but the need year on year for cash to keep clubs afloat make this a vital revenue stream to pursue and ease the burden when the cash-flow slows down until the football starts again, the bills don’t stop coming.
And before you know it, the summer comes, the cones are down, the players are back and off we go again, dreams are hatched and dashed as the season ploughs on. But, it’s all done for the love of the game of football, surely we wouldn’t have it any other way?
Written by Trevor Knell
Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37
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