as I look back on another superb year we have come a long way once again. We started the calendar year in the NPL West Division and are now in and around the play-off positions in the NPL Premier Division. It is an exciting time to be part of Marine Football Club and I love seeing so many new faces on matchdays now with people of all ages enjoying the Marine experience.
On the field, Neil is doing a great job once again despite the horrendous injury list since the start of the season. Due to the number of games, particularly at the start of the season, we signed in the summer a strong squad of 25 players. This has meant that despite the injury list we are still in the mix as we are about to head into the business end of the season. Neil recruited well in the summer and has also made some great signings during the season which leaves us having lost just once in the last 13 league games. We are still looking at a couple of final additions and have one or two targets to complete the squad. We will keep pushing to the end of the season.
Our women’s team and U23 team are both enjoying solid seasons under Dave Crank and Sean O’Hanlon respectively. Our Under 23’s team now play on a Friday night at the MTA and women’s team on a Sunday, also at the MTA. Keep an eye out on the website for their fixtures. Congratulations to our women’s team who have this season progressed a round in the FA Cup which is a Marine Women’s first. It was a great win at Gigg Lane against a tough Bury FC side. Our Under 23’s have established themselves now in their first season in the West Cheshire First Division and a number of players made appearances in the Liverpool Senior Cup squad against Pilkington and against Marske in the FA Trophy. We have a young and talented squad, and we will try to nurture them and give them their chance at the right time.
Off-the-field things couldn’t be going better. This summer saw the biggest summer of transition ever, driven by our 3G installation. Our U23 team and women’s team came home rather than playing at JMO. We became a base for our partners Crosby Stuart JFC. We brought our own academy home with our 60 students receiving their tuition on-site in 3 classrooms and training on the pitch during the day Monday to Thursday. We installed our 3G pitch. This change brought a lot of obstacles and challenges to get through and overcome as all the groups settled in for the first time. We are getting there and after the first few months things are starting to settle down.
The 3G pitch has been really well received by the vast majority of supporters. It was important to us that it still felt like a football stadium so we avoided putting multi-coloured 5, 7 and 9-a-side pitch markings on the pitch and installed proper goals rather than the portable wheel-based types. The pitch is filled for the majority of the available time throughout the week. We do have some available slots though especially at the weekend, so if there are any people looking to book please contact email@example.com
It continues to amaze me how Marine In The Community activities continue to grow under the leadership of Graeme Gardiner. We now coach in 16 schools in Sefton, have a number of sessions on our 3G pitch each week including men’s walking football, women’s walking football, youth coaching, heritage walks, a “4-clubs 1 goal” initiative with the 4 main clubs in the Liverpool City Region; Everton, Liverpool, Tranmere and Marine to try and reduce crime, and our weekly community cafe. We have partnerships with many organisations including, for example, Merseyside Police and Crimestoppers. Thanks to our many supporters who have supported us as we continue to try and do our bit for the community, especially Radfield Home Care.
It has taken a lot of work to get to where we are but structurally we have come a long way, the major transitions have been completed and now there are just tweaks required to what we have created to keep making improvements. I mentioned at the last fans’ forum that the five-year plan we launched in 2019 has already been achieved in terms of most of the changes to the stadium. We are still working with the council on improvements to the MTA and I am now putting together a new 5-year plan to help push us on as a club once again. Our next fans’ forum will be held in early 2023.
More than anything, the thing that is driving us forward as a club is the support of our supporters and the local community; the support at matches, the support towards MITC, the support by using the 1894 bar. Having 600 season ticket holders in itself gives us a fantastic platform to build from and can really help us plan and push forward. The support of our season ticket holders, our young supporters, The Crosender Way and other sections of our fan base is appreciated, and is giving us the tools to then keep improving things at the club and giving Neil what he needs on the pitch. Please tell your friends and family and let us keep pushing forward together.
Thanks to our on-field team of Neil, Sean and Dave and their respective management teams and players for their work throughout the year. Thanks to our off-the-field squad of 50 staff now from General Manager Jon Hoy to all of our academy, bar staff, catering staff, operational support staff, admin officer Emma Williams, Graeme Gardiner, our community coaches, community team, stewards, and also the Management Committee who are all working hard to make it all happen. And more importantly thanks to our supporters whose support this year has been exceptional.
As always, with any feedback or suggestion for improvements please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks once again for your support this year and have a great Xmas and New Year.
James Leary – CEO