Ken Brooke – Chief Executive
This season we will have 16 Divisions, with 197 teams at the time of writing this, and the likelihood of around 3,500 players registered with the League.
It promises to be another competitive season, and we are delighted to welcome Ashford, Chipstead, Dulwich Village, Eastbourne Borough, Hawkinge & Sutton Athletic as new clubs to the League and welcome back, Dartford, Gravesham Borough, Lewisham Borough and Rusthall for the new season.
Our thanks to all of our sponsors whose support is appreciated by the League and whose details can be found in the book. A lot of hard work has been put in by Terry Cooper and Colin Boswell in building relationships with our sponsors and for the coming season, Terry and Colin have handed this role over to Charlotte Richardson our media and website officer who I am sure will continue to build on the good work done by Terry and Colin. Thanks to both.
The League continues to grow from strength to strength. You will see the success that the League teams had in the County Cups across Kent and London to realise how strong and competitive the League is.
We have many players who have moved up to the next stage and been offered academy places with League clubs – there are many professional club scouts represented every Sunday at matches, such is the strength of this League.
I want to thank all of our Committee members who give up their time to ensure you have one of the best administered Leagues around. We are very lucky to have a group of people who want to contribute and make a difference – and ably assisted by Diane here at the office – who has established excellent working relationships with many clubs. This season for the first time, Diane will be assisted by Cat Morris to provide five day a week back up so that the League has proper administration back up to officers and for clubs. We know this will be well received by all.
My personal thanks to our match officials. My thanks to Chris Myatt our Referee Secretary and his team for overseeing the Referee Management across the season. The commitment from our Officials on a Sunday sets this League apart, and many of you cover a lot of mileage to ensure that our teams have a qualified official. We do not take this for granted and thank you. We do of course have to deal with the Kent County FA decision to impose a fixed fee for all officials across the County. This was not something that the League was consulted about. In principle we have no objections to fixed fees, but it will provide my team with a real challenge to get Referees to travel and cover games when the County has cut their fee from £40.00 to £30.00.
It will be interesting to see what effect this has on our ability to provide a Referee for every game each week. My role quite simply is to use all of the above to provide a product that the players in this League can go out on a Sunday and showcase their talents – on the best pitches around, and to provide us all with quality and competitive football. I always say go out and see for yourself. There is some great talent out there – and for the vast majority who do things the right way – thank you – and we will work to ensure that football is fun whilst competitive and that Sundays are enjoyable whilst trying to get those precious 3 points!
We have appointed Richard Crutchfield as our new Chairman. This follows the retirement of Bill and Marilyn Kelly who after many decades of devotion to the League have hung up their pens. They have been made inaugural Life Members of the League for their service and we wish them both well and of course a huge thanks for their contributions to the League.
Finally, I wanted to share with you that we have further extended our partnership with Stagecoach who are the League’s main sponsor. For this season, each winner of our Cup competition will be offered an “open top” bus ride around their town – a unique and what sounds like a great deal of fun, brought to our players and teams – many thanks Matthew and Stagecoach. Good luck to all teams across the season. You may not win every game every week, but with the support of your coaches and Managers you will all be better players at the end of the season. We need to make sure that you all enjoy your football on a Sunday and I will be trying to ensure that happens.