Annual General Meeting 2021 - President's Report

2021 has been a year of highs, lows, frustration, and pride. I am sure like me your number one hope was for an uninterrupted year of football and stability.  Unfortunately, with a month of the season to go and everything going so well across the club and the wider New Zealand football family, everything came to a sudden stop and 4 months later has still not returned to normal.

As a result, once again none of our teams were able to complete their full programme of fixtures or finish their league campaigns. Our priority was to ensure primarily we protected our members and their families and take measures to ensure the long-term stability of our club.

A big thank you must go to all our coaching staff who quickly and seamlessly moved many of our programmes online to continue to provide as many players as possible access to our high-quality coaches and resources. Paul Gillies, Roger Bridge, and Duane Sommerville once again acted quickly to ensure we operated with the right level of fiscal responsibility to ensure our viability as a club both now and in the future. Most of all a huge thanks and respect goes to our volunteer network and convenors who have all year keep our members abreast of the latest news, developments, updates and in the last 4 months have always been available to collaborate with their teams and our admin Staff led by Ashleigh Taylor to supply the very latest news.

During the last 4 months, we have also had a change to three of the highest-profile staff members at the club. Dan Cooke stepped down as First Team Manager, Keven Ireland returned to America to be with his wife’s family and Ashleigh Taylor returned to working for Ellerslie AFC and as General Manager of her local Tennis Club.   Each has left a legacy at the club and hands back the shirt in a better condition than when they found it.

Dan Cooke introduced many innovative ideas to the club and was pivotal in many of the decisions the board has taken to become a community and high-performance club.  He has produced a formidable team spirit in the Men’s First Team that has seen them once again become a team the whole club can be proud of. (If only we had been able to play the last three games of the season).

Our Director of Football Kevin Ireland helped us become the first club on the Shore to have a fully accredited Skills Centre and TDP Programme and prior to leaving saw these programs once again accredited for 2022.

Ashleigh Taylor worked closely across all parts of the club and has developed systems and processes that will help us.  She was also the designer and produced much of the content for our online Men’s First Team match day programmes.

We have acted quickly to find the highest quality replacement for each of them and myself and the Board are highly confident we have the right people in place to continue the excellent work that has started and to take our club to the next level.

2021 saw the club lose two much-loved members of our community.

Wayne Edgeler tragically passed away suddenly in February. Following the tragic and sudden passing of Wayne a much-loved member of our club who was passionately involved in the club as a coach, manager, trainer, grade convenor, referee, physio, and all-around team motivator. His wife Clair and the family have set up a fund, where all proceeds will be used to support the club's hardship fund. This has been set up to support families who are struggling financially and unable to afford to pay for football.

In April we lost Ross De Wynter after a short illness.  During his long involvement with the Club, Ross held just about every position at the Club and was a very popular character. No one that heard Rosco on the microphone on match days will ever forget his unique delivery.

Please join me in a moment's silence to honour everyone connected to the club that we have lost over the last 12 months.

Thank you

 

 MENS FIRST TEAM PERFORMANCE

Dan Cooke was supported by Nathan Cranney and Adria Cassels and the culture in the team continues to significantly improve with the players now far more involved in the club.

The season started well with First team winning each of our first four games of the season.  There was however a recurring theme during the season – Injuries. We were very unlucky with injuries to key players that saw many players spend the majority of the season on the sidelines.

As the injuries took their toll our results started to dip but we never lost touch with the top two and hopes of promotion to the top division were still a real possibility with four games of the season to go. Victory in three of these games would take us to promotion due to other teams needing to play each other. We won well against Albany and looked forward with real excitement to the last three games with the team on a real high.  Unfortunately, that was when the country was placed in a full lockdown and the season was eventually cancelled without another ball being kicked and the league positions stood.

Our Men’s Reserve Team was renamed Future Bays and was filled with many more younger players than in previous years. The team acquitted themselves with distinction throughout the year and won many games usually against older and more experienced opposition.

 
 LADIES FIRST TEAM

Ashleigh Taylor led the Women’s First Team in 2021 and it was great to see the team grow as the season developed. We are at the start of our journey with women’s football and the first team was a real credit to the club.

 
 TEAM HIGHLIGHTS AROUND THE CLUB

A key highlight this year was seeing seven young men from East Coast Bays being selected for New Zealand Under 17 Training Squads once again this year, and one First Team player being selected in the final 25 man squad for the New Zealand U20’s.

Across all other grades, East Coast Bays performed well with the most pleasing aspect being the development of our Junior and Youth players.

Again, due to COVID-19, there have been few tournaments to report on this year across the Junior and Youth sections of our club. However, when we have attended tournaments, we have been competitive and always represented the club with distinction.

Friday nights became Mini Bays Girls’ night with Andy Boynes and his volunteer network developing a program that saw girls aged between 5 and 8 playing football at the club under lights. There was a great atmosphere at the club, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evenings. This will be back in 2022.

It was great to start the year with the return of the Peanut Cup competition in April which coincided with our first home game of the season. We will ensure this fun tournament is back as an annual fixture open to all senior teams across the club moving forward.

The decision was taken earlier this year to outsource the running of the summer football to a third-party provider Football Fix with both the juniors and seniors to be held on the same evening for the first time. Unfortunately, due to the lockdown, this program has not yet started however we are expecting to get on the ground tomorrow following all COVID safe measures of course.

 

 COACHING

Our Director of Football Kevin Ireland led our coaching team over the majority of the last 12 months prior to returning to the USA for family reasons in mid-November. He was expertly supported by many coaches over the year with special thanks to Nathan Cranney, Milan Elie, and Callum Simmonds

Our Skills Centres and Talent Development programmes have been recognised by New Zealand football community officers as the best available anywhere in New Zealand and have organically attracted new players to our club.   

We were preparing to offer talent programmes to our community youth players (outside of the Talent Development programme) however this was impacted by the lockdown. The positive news is that these were reinstated in late November at no cost to participants and will return in full in February 2022. 

When players and coaches were unable to train together, Kevin and his coaching team offered online coaching sessions, which once again gained praise by NRF on social media for being the best available across the region. These programmes were advertised on our social media platforms and open to all players at the club.

With Kevin leaving and Dan stepping away from the First Team it was imperative we found a high-quality replacement and, in mid-October after a thorough search, we were delighted to confirm Joe Hall as the new Director of Football and Men’s First Team Head Coach.  Joe has an extensive CV that includes a UFEA A licence and has worked in the top Academies in New Zealand most recently the Ole Academy in Wellington.  The board was impressed with the depth of experience and knowledge that Joe will bring to the club and are confident he will continue and develop the excellent work that Dan Cooke and Kevin Ireland and the existing Coaching team have so expertly started.

 

 OFF THE FIELD

Off the field, I am pleased to say that we continue to move the club forward and are delivering on our Strategic plan which can be found on our club website.

Our sponsorship has ramped up this year with the most notable partnerships being with New World Long Bay and New World Albany which has seen sponsorship for our Women’s and our Mini Bays’ programmes.  We still have a lot of work to do in the area of sponsorship and developing our name further in the local community, but these packages show what could be possible moving forward.

The online match day program was well-received across the club and the new website has seen improved communication across the club. Our social media and club communication will continue to be a priority in 2022. Ashleigh Taylor helped to significantly raise that bar in 2021 and we need to continue to get better every day.

With prizegivings unable to go ahead this year it was great to see all the individual Junior and Youth teams recognised on social media.

With Ashleigh leaving us recently we are delighted that Duane Sommerville has now become our full-time Operations Manager. His in-depth knowledge of the club will be a real asset.

 
 FINANCE

As you can imagine, this year has required careful financial management once again to ensure the prosperity of the club. As a Board, we had to make some tough decisions early on to have cash preservation measures in place.   

Thankfully we were able to use the Government wage subsidies again this year which helped immensely. We have predicted a $30,000 loss this year due to many circumstances completely out of our hands. Without the lockdowns this year the position would have been very different.

During our annual audit, the auditors picked up on a historical error in how our assets were being depreciated.  Rather than a diminishing value of 20% per annum, it was agreed that certain assets should be depreciated at a higher rate of 40%.  This adjustment has added a further $16,000 deficit for the year.  Keep in mind this is an accounting adjustment rather than a cash adjustment.

With sponsorship and grants being more difficult to secure this year, the loss we are predicting is a testament to the hard work and tough decisions taken. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Paul Gillies for his excellent support and guidance this year, and for keeping us on track. 

 
 R & M. and HEALTH AND SAFETY

Our clubrooms and grounds require continuous maintenance, so thank you to Mark Skeath for all your support in this area. We also held a successful working bee in March, which saw many club members turn up to help spring clean, paint and maintain the clubhouse. 

Health and safety continue to be an ongoing area that needs constant monitoring to ensure we are keeping our members safe in every interaction with the club and following all COVID safe measures and government and New Zealand Football mandates. 


  VOLUNTEER ARMY

Our club relies on the exceptional help we receive from our volunteers. I would like to thank our age group convenors.

Michelle Goldfinch, Peter Black, Brandon Hanekom, Debbie Lowe, Jeff Honey, Amanda Steinberg, Morag Ward, Leanne Coombe, Lance Snelgar, Duncan McMinn, and Roger Bridge.

Thanks must also go to our team coaches and managers also.   The work everyone does to help our players play the beautiful game is brilliant.

Thank you, Marie Gisby, for your help with supporting Ashleigh Taylor and myself as well as the great work in the Kit Room.

 

 GENERAL

As I have already said 2021 will go down as a year of highs, lows, frustrations, and pride. But pride most of all as I watch so many people enjoying football during the week and at the weekends.

The Board has worked hard once again to steer us through this tricky year of stops and starts and my personal thanks go to Michael Boynes who is stepping down but will still be very visible around the club; Mark Skeath for the R & M, Jonny Gaze for his guidance with supplier contracts;  Duncan for his Policy work and guidance;  Paul for his work with the club's finances supported by Duane Sommerville;  Jeff for his work in particular in the junior grades and with the convenors;  First Team captain Nick Forrester for keeping us across the First Team activities and general input and Roger for being an excellent Vice-Chairman sounding board and delivery of contracts. Everyone has played a role this year and without such a proactive Board we would not be in the position we are now.    I would also like to acknowledge the work Tony Stevenson has done for helping secure our coaching team and the work he has done on behalf of our club this year.

I am sure you, like me, are looking forward to 2022 with a mixture of excitement and hope for a full season of football for the first time in 3 years.

Russell Fisher

Chairman



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