The Evo-Stik League South

Aylesbury United News Story

Complete News Round-Up

Tuesday 05 August 2003 - 12:00 am | Added by: Admin to Club News, First Team | Two comments | Used tags: , , , , ,

You'll probably have read it elsewhere, but I think it's worthwhile rounding up the goings on of the past two months or so.

-Ron Schmidt Retires

Ron Schmidt, who has been Kitman for the Ducks in the region of 18 years, has decided to retire early at the age of 70.

The Directors are sorry that Ron has to call it a day. He will be sorely missed and later in the season there will be an event organised to recognise his service to the Club.

This leaves a crucial vacancy to be filled by someone, or preferable two people to share the task, prepared to work long hours for a nominal salary but who gets satisfaction from being a genuine a supporter as Ron is now needed.

-New Assistant Manager Appointed

We are delighted to announce that Steve Gallen has agreed to take up the post of Assistant Manager/Coach at Aylesbury United.

Steve is a well respected coach at Queens Park Rangers and will bring a wealth of experience with him.

As a player Steve was a professional at Queens Park Rangers, Doncaster and Dundalk. He has played non-league football for Hemel Hempstead and had a brief spell at Aylesbury United. Steve has also represented the Republic of Ireland at under 18 and under 21 levels.

Last season Steve was a player/coach at Leighton Town and will again register as a player for Aylesbury United for the forthcoming season.

The Manager's decision to offer Steve the position was to quote "a simple one due to his passion for football and desire to achieve success".

Steve considers his appointment to be a terrific opportunity for himself and is looking forward to working with the players. At the same time he is hoping to develop his coaching skills further and help build a team that the club and supporters can be proud of.

-Bill Carroll Withdraws Support

Perhaps the biggest story though, is the decision by Bill Carroll to withdraw his financial support from the club.

Bill Carroll released the following statement:-

I have worked hard for the Club since I took over as owner and believe that much has been achieved. When I arrived the Club was in deep financial trouble and had only a First Team with no Reserve or Youth Teams and had disbanded its Football in the Community programmes. All of these have been restored, step by step, to the extent that we are on the point of applying for FA Charter status as a Community Club.

Our Reserve Team is now supported by and fed by two Youth Teams. This season it is likely that half of the squad will be local players mostly from our Junior Development Programme. This programme can now cater for four year old tots right through the ages to the First Team.

Last season we launched a Ladies Senior Team and in spite of a difficult year this has (with the staunch support of its coach, Ian Austin) grown into a strong squad better equipped for next season. Next season we will inaugurate girls' football with one or possibly two teams representing the Club in the new league being promoted by Sport Active.

Under Peter Wright, Cliff Hercules and the other coaches, the Football in the Community programmes and educational programmes go from strength to strength. Many boys and girls get their first taste of soccer from one of these courses and the work can contribute significantly to helping youngsters to stay out of trouble and to gain self-esteem.

A new programme for schools, supported by Adidas, should be launched in September. This will not only provide free coaching to children and teachers, it will produce new sports equipment to the school and raise sizeable sums of cash for school funds.

It may be recalled that the stadium pitch used to be a mud-heap. Under Peter Ash and with some assistance from the Football Foundation this has been subjected to a three year renovation programme. It is now one of the finest pitches in non-league football and sustained some 100 matches last season. Good enough to host a full England Team training session last November. The stadium and club premises have also been subjected to investment and improvement - with an extended stand and other improvements it is once again a Conference League grade stadium. A number of internal improvements have also been made, creating a modern well-equipped physiotherapy room, improved dressing rooms and a new kit room etc. The bar and kitchen have been extensively reformed and enlarged.

The last two seasons have been successful on the pitch with promotion back to the Premier League and a good FA Cup run in the previous season, whilst last season saw a record-breaking FA Trophy performance and a good run, in difficult circumstances at the end of the season, to retain our promoted status. The Reserve and Youth Teams have also had trophy collecting successes!

Now we should be in a position to progress this coming season, and not have any difficulty in qualifying for the new feeder league to the Conference, and then to carry out the plan of realistically trying to get promotion to the Conference League in the season following.

However and, regretfully, I am now unable to carry on leading the Club through this plan. Many problems remain to be dealt with and for personal family reasons and other business pressures I am simply not able to devote the time, energy, motivation and finance required to the task at this time.

I found last season to be emotionally very stressful. This was due to a combination of the ups and downs of the First Team results and to financial pressures. We started the season with a negative financial situation due to a combination of the big playing budget that we ran in 2001/2 to ensure promotion and the investments made in the Club premises. I personally generated some £35,000 of income for the Club during the past season but still had to advance a further £65,000 or so to keep the Club solvent by the end of the season. This is on top of the large sums invested by me over previous years. If we had reached the trophy final that £65,000 would have been repaid and we would have been in good shape for the next season.

In spite of all that has been achieved WE STILL DO NOT RECEIVE ENOUGH SUPPORT! That is support via the turnstiles, support behind the scenes, from the community in general, the Council and other local institutions and from locally based businesses.

Our gate income last season increased ONLY by some £9,000 (from £77,000 to £86,000) in a year when we returned to the Premier Division and had a history making performance in the FA Trophy.

Our base costs for a year are £250,000 to meet our overheads and to have a reasonable playing budget. If gate income is only at the above level it is nearly impossible to make up the shortfall from trading activities and from sponsorship and advertising. I had hoped that others would have taken on the responsibility of producing this year?s business support - but that has not happened and I feel let down by this.

Over the past seasons we have had first class financial support from the likes of Bill Greenwell, Ariel Zeckler and continuing help and assistance from Roger Payne, but for various reasons that will not be available this season. The net result is a prospective budget shortfall of over £50,000 for next season.

We do try to return value to sponsors and last season in particular we generated a lot of publicity with the Trophy run and the visit of the England Team. Sky TV now know that Aylesbury is in Bucks not Herts! Our main sponsor's name appeared on TV and in the national press as well as regularly in the Bucks Herald, so I would have expected some approaches from companies eager to explore being new sponsors. Our work with the community's youngsters should receive more support. At present only Thrifty Car Rentals give us support for this and without their help we could not maintain our two Youth teams.

There are a number of other factors which contribute to my current de-motivation including:-

- I was disappointed by Steve Cordery?s decision to move to Staines and by Craig Maskell?s assumption that he could ignore his contract to join Steve there! That disruption and the antics of some of the applicants for the Managers job was very dispiriting.
- 21CD was set up by supporters to widen the supporter base, to gain a stake in the Club and to generate additional income for the Club, but the reality is that the same small number of people continue doing the work with no signs of new faces.
- A number of core maintenance issues need to be tackled (with further expense) to keep the Club House open for business.
- There is a limit to how much further we can expand our junior programmes without more facilities. I have been in discussion with AVDC for more than 18 months with an offer to provide investment by me and to bring grant income as well as professional management to improving this situation. Some progress is being made but frankly it is unnecessarily protracted and wearing. I also hoped to produce more badly needed junior pitches at the Watermead cricket area but the two individuals responsible for this community asset have made this impossible.
- The loss of income clubs such as ours have suffered from the effects of the National Lottery and from the increase in live televised football is substantial and was meant to have been replaced by more 'grass-roots' funding.
- Although support is given by the Football Foundation for stadium improvements it has proven impossible to obtain revenue grants ? even for a scheme where we take FREE coaching into disadvantaged schools and those for children with special needs.
- There are ongoing problems with the Environment Agency likely to cost a substantial sum of money and causing major difficulties in protecting the buildings against any future water incursions.
- Protests from neighbours (who knew that we were here before they moved in) make it difficult to expand our trading activities and hours of business.
(The above two items confirm that it is impossible to produce a viable club on this site, but no suitable alternative has been found as yet.)

These are just some of the difficulties and frustrations I have to deal with. However, I am not resigning and I remain a Director and I will devote what time I have available, next season, to our junior development programme. However, I cannot continue to battle to develop a 'community' club without MORE community involvement. A community able to take up 500 new season tickets (as an example) would double our average gate income and would quickly save the financial shortfall - but someone else needs to try. I am not motivated to do this, just now, and even if I were my family concerns and pressures would not permit.

I would hate to see all the progress that we have made go to waste. I am open to offers of assistance from would-be Directors or shareholders and will listen to all reasonable propositions including an outright sale. However, the fact is that without new support and new sponsorship income, we cannot risk going into next season with anything but a nominal playing budget.

-FA Commision Imposes Suspended Fine

Peter Wright, as Director of Football, recently attended a disciplinary hearing at FA headquarters to answer a charge on the First Team's disciplinary record last season. We were told that this was amongst the worst in the country.

Peter, supported by a written submission from Bill Carroll, explained the views of the Directors. The Directors had impressed upon Steve Cordery and Craig Maskell at the start of the season that we wanted a 'footballing' team and certainly not one that caused problems to referees. It is ironic, therefore, that Steve Cordery who was originally summoned to the hearing did not, in the end, have to attend as he is no longer the Manager.

The recent remarks by Craig Maskell about the Directors forcing the management team to discharge Tony Houghton can only be regarded as naive or merely a weak attempt to justify his wish to break a contract. Having complained to the Managers about the early season disciplinary record and having issued a formal warning after the unsavoury incident at Ford United the Directors had no choice when Tony Houghton almost immediately afterwards produced another seriously bad tackle and was dismissed against Aldershot. The Manager should have terminated his contract without forcing the Directors to act.

As it is, that action, the strong written warning issued at the time to all players, combined with our actions against other players later in the season and the 'final warnings' given to others, managed to convince the FA Commission that the Directors do take this issue seriously and have made every effort to transmit this message to Team Management and players.

The FA therefore, have imposed a £5000 suspended fine but this is subject to our disciplinary record being vastly improved at a Christmas review.

-New Kit Selected

The first team kit for the new season has been selected, and I feel priveleged to have been involved with the final decision. It is similar in design to last season, green with a white trim, but features black stitching, which I feel really finishes it off nicely. The kit will feature the Zeckler & Co. logo. The away strip will be the popular amber and black number worn at Burscough.

Replicas are likely to be available from September, and can be ordered from the 21cd Club Shop as long as a deposit is made.

-Ariel Zeckler Returns With Vanuatu In Mind!

Read the news stories further down, as Ariel Zeckler returns to the club as Chairman, and the Ducks link-up with the country of Vanuatu.


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