Welcome to season 2015 -2016 and I am sure that you are all looking forward to another season with us in the Kent Youth League. My second season at the helm flew by. We are now ready to go for the new season, and a warm welcome to all our new clubs, and of course a very warm welcome to all you who have been part of the League before.
This season we welcome Gillingham FC as a Partner for the League. The Gills have committed to provide free tickets 4 times a season for us to reward those clubs who do things the right way. In addition we are providing ball boys for matches from our Under 13 age group. We will also play our Under 18 League Cup Final at Priestfield and we have sponsored Tom Hadler an Kent Youth League player who is now a professional at Gills. We are excited about this new venture and our thanks to Mr Scally - Chairman of Gills, and Charlotte, Darren and Bryan for making the deal possible.
This coming season we are providing football for 175 teams, across 17 Divisions from Under 13 to Under 18. That will mean in excess of 3,500 players that will be registered to play football from September to May. We are also continuing with our Premier Division at Under 18 age group, which rewards those clubs who offer their first team facility to their Under 18s, to include having a floodlight facility so games can be played midweek. Premier Division 1 will also have 3 match officials for every game.
I am very fortunate to have a group of Committee Members who work tirelessly to ensure that we maintain the very high standards that we set. Please work with my colleagues to make our job fun and it is after all our hobby and not our work but we are all very passionate about it.
Our Twitter account now has over 1,700 followers - we are very proud of this, and we hope to keep adding numbers across the season. Games will be tweeted live and it is the most up to date media for what is happening in the League.
Our website still remains the heartbeat of the League. You will find many articles through the season which I hope will be of interest. We cover all of our fixtures for each age group and division on the site, as well as the Kent, London Sussex and Surrey County Cups, The FA Youth Cup and the involvement of our under 18 clubs in the competition, the South East Counties Championship which will follow the progress of our Representative teams for both Kent and London, and the FA County Youth Cup.
My thanks to Headley Brothers and Jenny Prentice who maintain and look after the website for us. Jenny does an excellent job and we are grateful to her for the hard work that she puts in.
Last season, our clubs provided players for both the London and Kent FA Representative squads at under 16 and under 18 to participate in the South East Counties Championship. The League is committed to continue to assist both Counties and of course to support those players who are selected to play. To represent your County is a real honour.
This season, the League will continue to focus on discipline and good behaviour and we have set up a specific Disciplinary Committee to act on reports that we receive about the misbehaviour of anyone trying to spoil it for the majority. We will have a number of people attending games on a Sunday. As an established Charter Standard League we will work hard to maintain our status and to ensure that we are fair in the way that we treat everyone.
I would like to take the opportunity of wishing all our teams every success for the coming season and I hope you enjoy the season. It gives me great pleasure to be looking forward to a third season in the Premier League with my team - Crystal Palace under Super Al - and sitting 2nd on 4th September is a fantastic achievement.
I enjoyed all of my visits on a Sunday to watch the different age groups play. The quality of the football was superb, and it was great to see the Sportsmanship that exists between players, Managers and indeed Parents. We have a really strong reputation now at Youth Level - let's all work to keep it that way. My final thanks is to all our Sponsors who continue to support us.
Please enjoy your season - and work with us to ensure that the players have a memorable experience of playing in the Kent Youth League. Most of all ENJOY.