The FA National Futsal League season has hit the halfway mark and moves into 2015 with all of the usual suspects sitting comfortably at the top of their respective regional divisions. Manchester have walked away with it in the North again winning 8 out of 8 and wont be caught whilst Loughborough, Birmingham and Oxford lead the way in the Midlands. Unsurprisingly the full time professional outfit Baku lead the way in the South wining 9 of 9. FC Baltic and 5 times National Champions Helveccia will battle out for the second spot.
Anyone tempted to condemn the second half of the season to a predictable procession near the top would probably be safe in doing so.
The predictability of the regional league structure has been recognised by the FA and next year sees a move to a new Super league and regional format, a move which has been met with appreciation by all of the member Clubs. The most important part of the restructure is the shake up in the standards that member Clubs will need to achieve. This means both on court but also and more importantly off court. Member clubs will need to reapply for the National League next season. The destiny of each club will be determined through an interview and assessment process, where they will be asked to demonstrate their capabilities in all areas to secure their place in the division they choose to apply for.
So, as the season enters its next phase where the top teams do battle for the National title and the FA Futsal Cup, the remaining teams will be looking to win as many of their remaining league fixtures as possible. Failing to do so could be the difference between a successful or failed 2015-16 season application.
So how have we done this year?
Carlisle Futsal Club – 3rd in the Northern Division 2
SEASON SO FAR: Mixed, but managed to secured the Clubs first National League win against Hull. The squad is young and inexperienced and that has shown in all the games. We have been incapable of closing out results against the top two teams in the division, despite performing well for long periods. Converting chances has been the root of the problem. The fixtures at home in February against Derby and Nottingham will provide a measure of progress on that front.
HOW IS THE MANAGER DOING?: A new manager has been secured for the season 2015/16. He will be revealed shortly but has already been introduced to the players who are now working hard to impress him in the remaining games of this season. The current manager has performed in line with expectation but has struggled to excel because of juggling running the Club with first team coaching. Managing and coaching the first team is a full time job. Running the Club professionally is a way of life, the two can’t be mixed if the aim is to reach the top.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: The squad was severely depleted through injury and suspension in December. There has been a recognition that 18 registered players just isnt enough. January will see a recruitment drive on the playing front targeting the best local football talent to see what players can be converted to Futsal. The Club will also be looking to attract players from North of the border as the Futsal scene begins to growin Scotland.
THE AIM FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON: Remain unbeaten at home in the season and integrate the new players into the squad ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.
Happy New Year! #thisisours