Carlislefutsal.com is pleased to be able to share with you outgoing Chairman Al Tindalls report on the 2018/19 season.
Chairmans Report August 2019
The 2018/19 season has proven to be a pivotal one in the Clubs history.
At the start of the season we had fairly modest plans which included growing our academy structure by adding a pre academy squad and separating our u13 and u14 age groups into two squads and further establishing our presence in West Cumbria. We had planned a season of continued organic growth.
As I write this report though I am struggling to know where to begin in summarising the growth we have actually experienced.
The best place to start is probably by welcoming the numerous new members we have at the Club. Our volunteers are the reason the Club functions and along with our playing members the reason we exist. The social element of being part of this Club is what I enjoy most and all of the people we have involved are not only incredible individuals but great personalities as well. I could fill the page here with everyone’s names so I will not do that but I would like to extend a warm welcome to you all. Welcome to the Carlisle Futsal Club family.
As the 2018/19 season unfolded it became apparent that our entrepreneurial approach to running the Club would no longer be sufficient. Growth requires standardisation of policy and procedure in order to retain control. We all want a Club that is sustainable and safe. We all want to protect the brand image that we have worked so hard to build up since 2012. For this reason one of the biggest achievements of the season has been the recruitment of and restructuring of the Club Committee. We welcome new Chairman Martin Taylor, Secretary Paul Brotherhood and Welfare Officer Lesley Cullen to the Club who will deliver the Clubs business in line with our revamped constitution. There are further places on the committee available with nominations and appointments to follow which we will discuss during the AGM.
I am delighted to report we are once again affiliated to the County FA. Once we have completed a couple of CRB checks we will have everything in place that we need to achieve FA Charter Standard status.
The Club explored the launch of a womens Futsal team at the start of the season and ran a 12 week trial period to gauge interest. Paul Brotherhood put a lot of time into the planning and delivery of this project which should be commended. There were however some real difficulties. There are strong bonds on the womens local Football scene with almost tribal affiliation to teams and coaches, this is quite different to the mens game. Recruitment of players is difficult unless the football coaches are also on board. It soon became apparent that significant time and cost investment would be required to establish a pool of players with the required quality to represent us at national level, so the decision to shelve this project was made at the end of the 12 week period.
In contrast the FAs announcement in January that they would be restructuring the mens National League competition prompted a review amongst our members as to whether or not the timing was right to relaunch our mens squad. The decision was made to run a 12 week trial period and since then the project has gone from strength to strength. It is with great pride I can say we once again have a fully established mens squad who are now looking forward to their first season playing competitive Futsal at National Level. The establishment of this squad is a real bonus for our Academy Members who now have an exit route and a pathway to the highest levels of the game.
The standard of Futsal being played by our Academy teams has continued to improve this season. This is wholly down to the excellent coaching delivered by our volunteers, the hard work of the players and the dedication of their parents. Our parents are the best in the country. They travel further and show more commitment than the parents of any other Club. The comments we received from the other Clubs competing in the AFL were that they were blown away by our ability to turn up with full matchday squads at each AFL event. It was hugely disappointing that our dedication to travel wasn’t matched by our rivals with them failing to travel for the final round of AFL fixtures. For this reason we made the decision not to operate the AFL for the coming season. We will instead put in place a match programme for each squad including friendlies, tournaments and FA Futsal Cup.
Another unexpected development during the course of the season has been the establishment and emergence of our South Cumbria Academy and West Cumbria Academies. Michael Devitt and Dan Tyer have done great work driving the South and West projects forward and I will look forward to their updates at the AGM on progress and plans for the future.
The introduction of our coaching curriculum and season planning strategy at the start of the 2018/19 season has been a big success with every coach and player now working to the same education plan. We do need to get better at reporting on a quarterly basis and ownership of this responsibility should be transferred to a Head of Academy. Recruitment of this position is a crucial next step in the development of the Club in my view.
Marketing & Brand
Our brand is still associated with quality. We do things right and we do them well. The launch of our new website will happen this month with the slogan ‘new era’ and ‘#morethanjust5aside’ the brand & marketing messages.
On a marketing front we do still have a big challenge with how Futsal is perceived. The end of season survey revealed that even amongst parents of players in our own Club the vast majority see Futsal as a tool for making their children better at Football. As a Club we need to work hard to reinforce the message that the focus should be on playing Futsal for Futsal and that the opportunities equal those in football for 99.9% of the population. This is a huge cultural problem that we alone can’t address but we can play our part. I’m sure the new committee will welcome any ideas on how we can best do this.
In terms of competition the ‘Futsal for Football’ perception is causing us issues. In our search for players who can go on to play Futsal at the highest level we find ourselves competing with Football for their attention and we are in a period where there are many ‘Football Coaching’ options for parents to choose from with the emergence of Grassroots Academies and Soccer School providers all preying on a parents ambition that their kids will be scouted and make it as a professional footballer. Can you sense my frustration at this cheap marketing ploy? It is morally wrong to exploit people in this way and in my view wrong to make money out of what should be a Childs game. Commercialisation of our Club should not, in my view, be an operating model we should ever consider. I am so proud of what we have all created and firmly believe that we can continue to compete with the growing Football offering out there through improved marketing.
Carlisle Futsal Club is one of the leading Futsal Clubs in the Country. We have built this on the virtues of generosity, charity, honor, friendship and pride and long may this continue.
I will finish by saying thank you for making the 2018/19 season an incredibly successful one. This pivotal season has been a pleasant surprise and I look forward to being a part of this great Club in the new era as we drive the message that Futsal is much much more than just 5-a-side.
Chair 2018/19 Season