|OK, here is the first of this summer's 'rumourmonger' articles. What's the latest word from the Fylde Coast Sunday footballing community as thoughts turn towards next season's campaign? Please remember that such articles are no more than lighthearted tittle tattle and have no intention of upsetting or unsettling anybody. If your club's not mentioned it's because nobody took the time to send me an E-Mail. Why not send one now to firstname.lastname@example.org.? Discretion assured.|
THE BIG PICTURE.
Firstly, we kick off with news from the committee. Quite understandably they keep things close to their chests at this time of the year as the tough job of sorting out the league structure begins to take shape. Not an easy task as they await clubs to confirm their participation or otherwise, deal with mergers and name changes as well as deciding on applications from new clubs to join.
Last season we started out with seventy-nine clubs and ended up with seventy-six. Early whispers suggest that we may see a slight increase next season which would buck the national trend but as we have the best run Sunday league in the country it really shouldn't be much of a surprise. With any luck we could see a Premier Division consisting of thirteen teams and five Divisions of fourteen teams. Apparently, it's a league rule that we can't have more than fourteen teams in one Division so you can see that we're nearing our capacity. Now it's just a case of trying to fit them all in.
Rumourmonger believes that Highfield Social FC have dropped a couple of Divisions to take over last season's reserve side. Last season's reserves and others will form a new club (See below). The Golden Eagle FC have gone down to Division 1 and Fleetwood Cricket Club FC have also gone down but discussions continue as to what Division.
In Division 1 side three sides have thrown in the towel. The most surprising is McDonald Property FC. They had a very talented squad of youth and experience so a mad scramble for many of their players will no doubt ensue. Last season's Waterloo Hotel FC have also folded as have one of Sunday football's most famous and oldest clubs, the Philharmonic FC. Little Fat Jacks FC have folded from 2A with a good number of their players moving to the Devonshire Arms FC but which Division will they find themselves in?
There is some doubt about the future of Elswick FC and unfortunately Brannigans FC have called it a day. Doubts also remain over the future of Stanley Arms, Wesham FC but Uncle Toms Cabin FC have definitely gone. I sincerely hope that players from these clubs who wish to continue paying on a Sunday find teams to play for quickly. Please do your best to help them out.
The list of new clubs is still not definitive but here goes. Last season's successful South Shore Under 16's FC will come in as Gretone FC with nomad striker Dave Bamber adding some experience to the squad of sixteen and seventeen year olds. The famous name of Farmers Arms FC returns to Sunday football (More info below). Another club from South Fylde appears in the shape of Ansdell Amateurs FC and there's a new team playing under the name of Bar 19 FC. FC Newton are also in managed by referee Simon Hurst and another referee moves into management as Max Cobb takes charge at Fireplace Superstore FC. Fylde Construction FC is another new club as is Tower Aerials FC. A reserve side has also been created in the shape of Pullcinellas Reserves FC and we have a new team playing under the name of Burlington FC. SPS FC are rumoured to be another new team but little is known about them at present. There's also strong rumours about the return of Foulds Metals FC although it's a different team to the last one that played.
Changes of identity.
As is usual at this time of the year there are rumours of a whole host of name changes. Last season's Burlington FC will play under the name of AFC Marton whilst last season's Bar 19 FC become Automedon FC. Last season's bottom club North Mount FC who for a short while played as the Belle Vue FC have now re-branded as the Oxford FC. The Saddle FC have changed sponsor and moved to the Waterloo Hotel FC and DB Builders FC will now be known as Welcome Break FC. Real Kingsfield FC are now known as FC Kingsfield and Cash & Carry Kitchens FC will now be North West Kitchens FC for 2008/09.
Jacks FC have reverted to their previous incarnation of Talbot Sports & Social FC (New website now on-line). The Queens FC will now be called AFC Additions and rumours reach us that Highbury FC will also rename on a variant of Additions who will be next season's sponsor. The Bloomfield Hotel FC have made the short trip across the road and will now be known as AFC Brun Grove and last season's Brun Grove FC will now be known as C & G Electrical FC and they're under new management. Autoweld FC are also rumoured to have changed their identity but to what is not yet known. St Annes Ex Service FC will now be called St Annes Links Hotel FC.
Who's gone up?
As you may recall the Premier Division only ended up with eleven sides come the end of the season and with Highfield Social, Fleetwood Cricket Club and Golden Eagle coming down that would have left the top Division with only eight teams. Rumour has it that joining promoted Division 1 teams Sundays FC and Blackpool Rangers FC will be three other sides but despite rumours we await confirmation as to who they are – confirmation is expected by the end of the week – let the speculation begin. Leapfrogging Divisions always creates a good debate as it did last season with Progress Property Management FC and Wrea Green FC. No doubt the 'Shoutbox' will be busy with your views on the subject in the coming weeks.
Please be patient whilst the league committee works its magic with the Divisional structure. Remember that two Divisions went down to goal difference on the final day and two more were only separated by three and four points respectively so they do a decent job.
DB Builders FCNews reaches me that the club have a new sponsor for 2008/09 that has resulted in a change of name to Welcome Break FC. The new website has been added to the 'Club websites' link on the site and can be found at http://welcomebreakfc.synthasite.com/
Manager Mark Miles has once again surprisingly avoided the sack in the close season but in reality there's few crazy enough to take on the poisened chalice at the perennial Division 3A strugglers. The name may have changed and perhaps the kit but the annual struggle to recruit new players continues.
If you're looking for a club or a change of scenery, you have committment, are willing to turn up every Sunday, train midweek and get involved in the team banter please contact Mark at email@example.com or ring on 01253 315537. Alternatively, ring Danny on 01253 855884 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward Heating FC
After two successive promotions Ward Heating FC have ambitions for another as they take the big step up to Division 1. Being able to recruit players from the prison certainly has its advantages for manager Mick Hutchinson but it also has its disadvantages as they're not in there forever and it's not uncommon to lose good players mid season as they return to their home towns in the North of England.
News from the camp suggests that all of last season's lads are available once again including Bonney, Woods, Morrison and Kane. They also have a talented new signing in the shape of 23 year old who's been training pre-season with Accrington Stanley FC. Two of Woodsy's mates from Bootle FC have shown an interest and ex pro Mark Ward is now fit and available.
News on Barney Woolcock's future is still uncertain as rumours of his training sessions with other teams persist. Perhaps he was always just a little too pretty for a prison team.
Saddle FCAs reported earlier the Saddle FC have moved to the Waterloo Hotel where they've been offered sponsorship in the form of a new kit and post match food.
Mythop Leisure FCRumour has it that Jay Mackenzie will make his long awaited comeback from Australia with the South Fylde Club. Brother Danny is already signed on and leading the negotiations. The club continues with manager Matt Smith at the helm and overall there have been few changes over the summer thus far.
The club are thankful to their sponsor Aegon and they've also attracted a new match ball sponsor in the shape of the Swan Hotel in Newby Bridge (One of Mrs Sportspy's favourites). They're looking to build dugouts at their impressive YMCA ground and they're seriously looking for a decent joiner to do the job for them. Chip butties will still be on offer to visiting teams in the clubhouse after the match.Just the one definite new signing so far, Chris Kitchin joins them from Bloomfield Vets even though he's only 21. Chris is a centre half who also plays for Wren Rovers on a Saturday so they're hopeful that Bloomfield's loss will be their gain. The club are also hoping to recruit a new striker as well as having Steve Ramsdale back from a season long injury to help out Matt Rainbow upfront.They're also on the lookout for a new central midfieder with a bit of bite. Finally, rumourmonger believes that Ex Blackpool and current Fleetwood Town FC star Jamie Milligan will assist with pre-season training and also hope to recruit Freckleton FC's first team manager from last season (Eamonn Hernan) to also assist with training and other off the field activities.On the teambuilding front, the team have organised a trip to Haydock races in July and also have seventeen of them going to Bratislava in October. A fundraising race night is also planned for early September.
The Dunes Hotel FC
News reaches me that pub landlord Jimmy Drinkwater will be back as manager for the 2008/09 season. After a disappointing camapign last season there is once again high expectations pre-season. Apparantly the club have signed Carl Faber, Dan Sutton, Damien “Van Der Sar” Eastwood and Liam Frend. In addition they're also rumoured to have signed Jamie Nay who was at Enfield last season and they are also hoping to sign Jordan Black and Joe McGivern in the next few weeks.
Bloomfield Vets FC
News from Steve Hughes – We've lost Dennis Sullivan to the Highfield Social Reserves in Div Two – we signed Dennis back in October last year and he did well for us – a proper Vet player – he must be 36 or 37 years of age. To add to the departures – they'll be no Les Hewitt who is retiring after 30+ years. Our side was threadbare to say the least last term – we are hoping to add players – we always welcome new additions.So far NO new players have come in although we are trying to sign Stuart McPhee who played for the Brun Grove FC last season. With them folding we have asked Stuart to come back to us – he left the old Bloomfield WMC team back in 2005 when the side folded in the Prem. At the minute he's away on holiday so hopefully we will know soon.Boss Duncan Gouck has been given funds for a new home kit – likely to be similar colours again – Rangers' style Blue.After a chat towards the end of the season – its been decided that we are carrying on next term despite some reservations – due to the fact some Vets players are in their 40's – there was a doubt whether we would have a team for next season but Duncan's confirmed we'll be there next term. As for me – at 32 in a weeks time i'm fast approaching Veteran status – hope to see you at some friendly games during July/August.
Currently, the club is representing the town over in Bottrop and we wish them well in their attempt to bring back the trophy. 'It's coming home………………etc etc' After the loss of midfield kingpin Steve Palmer to Visualise North FC the club hope to sign an even better replacement on their return from Germany (Not an easy task).
Manager Spedding has also signed Kevan Ford, Jon Simmons and Lee Conway from Highfield Social. There are rumours that Tony Swallow is on his way out of the club and rumours persist of a move being made for talented Blackpool Rangers FC player Joe Booth.
News from Ben Wiseman; Things are progressing slowly at the Ansdell Arena this summer, we've lined up 3 friendlies so far (Blackburn Rovers SFC, Skye FC and a team of Ansdell ex-Players). E've also asked DB's about playing one as well.Hopefully we'll have a more settled Summer than in previous years, though think our training is going to be more of a benefit to a few other clubs with Subby and clan joining us for the summer. Management – I'm staying on as manager (at least for now!) though will now have a more experienced person assisting me with Ant Jones as my number two.Players – On the player front Richard Hitchins and captain Scott Williams have both retired to spend more time with their families, also departing so far are Players player of the year Dave Marsden who has rejoined St Annes Ex-service (or whatever there going to be called next season) Aaron McGarry is touting himself to all and sundry on the shoutbox so guess he won't be re-signing either. I'm hoping to keep hold of the majority of the squad, just a matter of getting the lads together at training to get the forms signed. On the subject of new signings it's a matter of lots of yes's but not a lot of signatures as yet. Looking like we could have a handful of new faces joining. A few other signings could depend on what happens to other clubs. Sponsors – We are still being sponsored by the Victoria Pub in St Annes, and maybe TWO others and we're still in talks with both.
Visualise North FC/Northern Care FCThe club has been busy in the transfer market over the summer and they've made some big signings. If they come off they may be able to put a midfield out that would be the envy of most Sunday and even Saturday sides. However, there may be problems on the horizon. The rumours re Blackpool Mechanics FC insisting that all of their players sign for Northern Care FC on a Sunday persist. It's either Northern Care FC on a Sunday or nowhere apparantly. Clearly, this will cause a shed full of problems for many of our teams. As an example, there's already rumours of Mark Ashall returning to Northern before he's even kicked a ball for the Viz. In addition, Steve Palmer is rumoured to have returned to newly promoted and Wembley winners Kirkham & Wesham FC and if true we're told that the ambitious club will put an embargo on their players turning out for anybody else but themselves.The Blackpool Mechanics FC situation will also cause a good debate. My view is that Northern Care FC already have a sizeable squad of players who do not play for Mechs and if the rumour is true many players will not have the opportunity for Sunday football unless they move to other clubs or form another reserve side. In the worst case scenario players may even leave Mechs in order that they can maintain their fix of Sunday footie with their social pals.
With players like Gardiner, Hughes and Ogier also in the Viz squad this remains an imortant issue so watch this space. In addition there are also rumours of Viz North moving on to Collins Park but once again the spectre of Northern Care may yet scupper this as work on the new Mechs pitch at the back of the shooting club at Commonedge has not yet begun. Northern Care are likely to stay at Collins Park until the new pitch is ready. Bad news for the Viz as Ballam Road, Lytham now has a new tenant.Ending on a positive note Visualise North FC have put together a very talented squad and hope to put in a big challenge next season. Finally, rumours of a Viz North FC reserve side have faded in recent weeks.
Mimmos Metrostars FC/Foulds Metals FC
Veteran defender Huey Williams has moved into management. He is taking control of Foulds Metals FC as they apparently enter the league for 2008/09 season. A testimonial is to be played between the two teams. Mimmos are also chasing two players from a higher division and have two players from last season's North Mount FC on trial.
As for Foulds Metals FC – Following the Collapse of The Ship FC at the end of the 2007/08 season, and with many players from that squad still hungry play Sunday league football, Big Bob Hughes set the wheels in motion of trying to assemble a new football club from scratch. His first peice of good buisiness was to strike a deal with Foulds Metal, who have agreed to become our sponsors for the forthcoming season, and also through his skills as a wheeler/dealer managed to get the world famous Fleetwood Arms pub to come on board the new venture, and supply us with a new kit for the 2008/09 season.
With his astute managership skills on fire, he scowered the local leagues for fresh talent. His next big decision was to appoint Huw Williams as the new first team coach, the veteran defender had recently completed his BA (Hons) in Sports Coaching at The University of Central Lancashire, and is also a qualified FA Coach, signing for an undisclosed fee and amongst some controversy from local rivals Mimmos Metrostars. The squad is looking very strong for the start of the season as we have quite a few new players. Bob Hughes – General Manager.Huw Williams – Player/First Team Coach.Brian Malone – Team Captain.James Parker – Club Captain
The club have secured the Lytham Academy pitch at Ballam Road, Lytham for the new season and news of a couple of signings is expected soon.
Layton Institute FC
Talk of retirement has thanfully been put on hold as popular Scotsman Stuart Todd turns his thoughts to next season. By mid June everyone forgets the low points of the previous season and only remember the high's. There were many positives for layton last season as the club finished in runners up position behind Quills. Todd knows that if they're to reach similar dizzy heights or even go one step better then they'll have to recruit. Ambitious targets for the Layton manager are rumoured to include Poulton's Tom Porter, Nick Deveraux, Sean Meehan from Progress Sports & Social and the Dune's top scorer Ben McKay. A deal is apparantly being finalised for a top player but we await confirmation of the individual's identity.
Farmers Arms FCThe popular South Shore hostelry returns to Fylde Coast Sunday football but the name is still to be confirmed with 'United Farmers Club FC a possibility. The team will apparently be managed by Sunday legend 'Big Gordie (Gordon Mason) alongside Paul Hugo.Many of the Highfield Social Reserves FC are rumoured to be forming the squad. Players including John Lawson, Stuart Lord, Michael Isherwood, David Downie, Ryan Davies are rumoured to have signed alongside Ben F and Chris Warren (Ex Brannigans FC), Craig Brooks, Mark Alder, Martin Smith, Kev Smith and a few more to mention. If true, they could be a useful outfit but it's unlikely that with that line-up that they'd be allowed to start off in the bottom Division.
Pump & Truncheon Celtic FC
The popular club are rumoured to have ended there long association with the New Bonney Street boozer and gone walkabout to the town centre. They've secured a new sponsorship deal with the Walkabout bar on Queen Street and will be known as Walkabout Celtic FC for the 2008/09 season.They have kindly provided a new Nike Kit and it's hoped this will be the beginning of another long association. Genial Irishman Dave Smythe will once again be in charge. The club are actively looking for new players in all positions as they have one of the oldest squads in Sunday football. Like most club's they're after players with commitment and a good attitude as they have an excellent team spirit and a great core group of players. With a couple of additions they may be able to move from midtable to promotion contenders next season. If there are any players currently without clubs you could do a lot worse than contacting Matt at one of the friendliest clubs going at email@example.com
Sundays FCAfter being promoted from Division 1 last season the club are greatly looking forward to their first season in the Premier Division. Manager Paul Stevens is moving from running pubs in the town centre to the more gentle suburb of St Annes where he will shortly be taking on the running of the popular Crescent Pub (Opposite the train station) along with Tiles nighclub that sits below it. That should be interesting and hopefully it will add to the overall attractiveness of St Annes for a good night out as the number of decent pubs and restaurants grows more and more.
With the change of venue this will no doubt bring a change of name to something like 'The Crescent FC' but we await confirmation. If you've read this far you may be in luck as manager Paul Stevens is actively looking and willing to sponsor another team in Sunday football. If you're looking for a cash injection for a new kit, league fees etc contact Paul now and make him a pitch (firstname.lastname@example.org )
The Oxford FC
Last seasons Belle Vue Fc have become The Oxford FC thanks to an offer of sponsorship from incoming Landlord Dean Evans. Yes, the Oxford Pub is re-opening and brewery permitting Dean is hoping for a public opening date of Fri 20th June.
Last season was a baptism of fire for new manager Lee Kirton as he took over strugglers North Mount FC along with their debts. He learned very quickly that many players don't get out of bed on a Sunday morning and are allergic to paying weekly subs.
With over fourteen new signings, and re-signing the players from last season who showed the right attitude and commitment they're hoping for a good season.
Blackpool Rangers FCBlackpool Rangers ins & outs – The Hoogerwerf's and the Browns have not resigned for the newly promoted club.
Manager Miles has replaced keeper Brown with one of the best around in the shape of Wren Rovers FC's Josh Woods who he highly rates. This time last season Lee Tobin signed the form for Rangers but a late change of heart saw him switch to McDonald Property FC at the last minute. Disappointing for Miles as he went on to be Division 1's top scorer. This time he's signed again for Rangers but this time hopefully he'll stay put.
Other signings include Scott Smithson, a no nonsense yet talented centre half who was at several pro-clubs. Jamie Hardman, an ex Blackpool Rangers midfield captain from the Juniors who only stopped playing due to work commitments has also signed along with Mark Thornber, Neil Thornber (Nipper's son), who plays for Lytham Town on Saturday.
Also there could be 2 more signings in the pipeline. The new club captain is touted to be Chris Cairns and the rest of last season's squad have all signed including Joe Booth who has been hounded by Mark Spedding from Quilligans F.C. Will Marc Beattie be caught up in 'Mechsgate'?
Rumours are the new team sponsor could be the town centre nighspot 'The Soul Suite' for the 2008/09 season, but whatever happens the club will always be called Blackpool Rangers ! The club presentation night is on Thursday 19th June at the Soul Suite.
Finally, don't forget that it's the BFSFA's annual general meeting at the marton Institute at 8pm on Thursday evening (June12th). Please ensure your representative attends.
More rumours soon if the all seeing eye gets to know about them. Back to the deckchair. Make an effort and watch the Euro's !