2006 UCL ACADEMICALS AGM
at 7pm on Monday 3rd July 2006 at Oxbridge Group, 2nd
Floor, Inigo Place Churchyard, 31-32 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9ED.
Present: Danny McConnell, Graham Whitworth, Mark Dawson.
Danny Fewkes, Steve Hair, Andy Williams, Alex Keast, Dave Swaby, Chris Carter,
Phil Stewart, Mark Emmerson, Chris Coates, Aaron Lyon.
Apologies for absence: Stuart Bannister, Dan Willoughby, Mark McGuigan,
Adrian Haysome, Steve Nash, Rick Hirst, Jon Day, Scott Atkinson, Alex Heaton.
Minutes of the 2005 AGM
The minutes of the 2005 AGM were approved.
UCL had been approached about whether Sky TV could
be provided, and had requested that if the Academicals wished for the college to
take out a subscription, we would need to give an undertaking that players would
be likely to stay at the club house longer after games. It was felt this
undertaking could not be given, so the status quo would continue.
2005-06 Secretary’s Report
The Accies -
In the mid 1990’s the Accies were as fractured a
“club” as it is possible to imagine. Effectively six separate clubs running
under the same banner, with the only movement of players between the 1st
and 2nd teams, and that rare.
A good Saturday meant a team turned up with eleven
players, a better one meant they were all good enough for the standard. Getting
a result was a bonus. The club rarely won any trophies, because we’d no chance
of putting out sides consistently, but we would get results because we always
attracted decent players.
Many people didn’t pay subs – “I’ll give it
to you next week” was commonplace, and next week never came. No-one paid
annual subs, and no-one took anything very seriously.
The Accies muddled on, but in May 1998 the crisis
point had been reached. The club was broke, owed the league £600 in fines, and
the remaining officers had had enough, and resigned en masse. The club stared at
the brink, and extinction, and then stepped back.
It’s only eight years ago, but a historical lesson
worth remembering. Most existing members simply won’t recognise that as being
the current Accies, but in my opinion it’s a path we’re starting to drift
The Accies are, to use a common phrase, a
“unique” club, with significant strengths and weaknesses. Our members live
all over London and travel to Shenley from great distances. Graduates of UCL
tend to live all over London (Highgate, Camden and Islington being the most
common areas) but we are in no sense a “geographical club”. As such, people
won’t generally stay at Shenley for the evening afterwards and so forth.
Equally, we are a club for very busy people. At the
risk of generalizing most of our constituency are busy people, with high
powered, high stressed, and time consuming jobs. I’ve often described us as a
club for people who “want to take their football seriously on a Saturday, but
can’t during the week” and I still believe this to be so.
The weakness is that we don’t have the natural club
spirit. An Old Meadonian probably lives close to the ground, goes home on a
Tuesday and Thursday, heads off for 6.30pm training, is back home by 8.30pm, and
perhaps spends much of Saturday at the club, and even Sunday morning. We can’t
The positive is that we attract players of a like
ilk. Good players will travel to Shenley, because they’re playing in a club
with a hundred people of similar nature. They won’t get grief for missing
training, and so forth.
It is an incredibly difficult balance – on the one
hand you’ve got the “old Accies” where it’s a week to week fun element.
On the other you’ve got the “new Accies” – where over the last 7-8 years
we’ve managed to churn out consistent results and start to pick up trophies.
In 2003-04 the Accies won 78 league games, drew 23
and lost 29. We reached four cup finals, winning two.
In 2004-05 the Accies won 75 league games, drew 21
and lost 34. We reached three cup finals, winning two.
In 2005-06 the Accies won 49 league games, drew 11
and lost 68! We reached one cup final, and won it.
There is a pattern, and it’s club-wide.
Interestingly, only 48 people paid an annual sub
(between seven sides), and the strain on the club administrators increased. At
the end of the season five of the seven captains/managers stepped down.
The Accies belong to the 100-150 footballers who turn
out most weeks to play for the club, and what the club is is what they want it
to be. If people want a club that’s run “on the hoof”, results and
performances will be reflected in it. If people want a serious, competitive
club, then it needs to be reflected not only in footballing ability, but in
organization and attitude. Do the fitness work during the week to be able to
showcase your ability, turn up on time on a Saturday so the team is focusing on
the game, not on whether the kit will arrive, pay up your subs when they’re
due so the skipper isn’t stressing and make yourself available as much as the
diary will allow.
I believe all of these elements to be club-wide, some
reflected in certain teams to greater or lesser extents.
XI (6 annual subs paid) – After two seasons of finishing in anti-climax, a very different
season. From October through to January the firsts simply didn’t know how to
win. Lack of sharpness was doubtless a factor, as a lazy preseason continued
into a lazy winter, and only when relegation stared us in the eyes did we show
signs of shaking off the ennui, and scramble to safety.
For this observer, the biggest difference was one of
match sharpness. 3-4 years ago most of the firsts played two competitive games
per week (once for the Accies, once in the Legal League). Now it’s one
competitive game per two weeks. Availability declined, probably without the same
eleven starting a game all season, which meant Saturdays were more of a
struggle, but the team also played less during the week.
That was reflected in results – too many games were
lost because we didn’t play for ninety minutes. As some of the core members
get older the diary pressure gets bigger, and if we want to remain a side
capable of performing at AFC Premier Division standard more commitment, during
the week, however hard that may be, will be needed.
Mark McGuigan stands down after two seasons as
manager, due to time constraints with work and family.
XI (1 annual sub paid) – A difficult year to analyse. Overall I think for the club to hold its 2nd
XI at Senior 3 North level is an achievement, particularly as availability
issues in the 1sts affected the 2nds. Yet at Christmas a league title seemed a
realistic option, only for a late season drop off in results to drop the side to
Danny Fewkes steps down after a number of years as
skipper, again due to pressures of time constraints with work and home.
XI (5 annual subs paid) – The brutal analysis is that the pattern of the second half of 2004-05
continued, with the team struggling all season to avoid relegation. That only
one regular player was available for the final game of the season said it all,
and the side struggled with availability all season.
Despite that, cup results were good, with a long run
in the AFA Cup and winning the London Old Boys Cup, but these shouldn’t mask
the league record.
Phil Stewart also steps down, after a particularly
trying season of scrabbling around for players.
XI (7 annual subs paid) – after a couple of seasons of over-achievement, the 4ths pre-Christmas
continued the exact same theme, looking like potential title winners, and
putting the club in danger of being charged with running a stronger 4th
team than 3rd team. Post Christmas, the team collapsed, losing seven
games on the spin at one stage.
Availability was a constant and continuing issue,
with the side regularly short on numbers. Much of the credit for the papering
over of these cracks over a number of seasons should go to Dan Willoughby, who
now steps down as skipper as he moves north to Nottingham. With Dan leaving I
feel the Accies have lost one of best team captains in the club’s history, and
we owe him a particular vote of thanks.
XI (14 annual subs paid) – A mixed bag of a season, with consistency never achieved. The side
conceded too many goals, and probably started the season too focused on the
bigger picture of trying to win the league title, rather than individual games.
Nevertheless, this was probably the most stable and
settled Accies side, slightly short on natural defenders (a common complaint
from third team downwards) and by far the best in terms of administration.
XI (10 annual subs paid) – In one sense a side showing movement in the right direction, but not
reflected enough in results. The turmoil of previous seasons showed signs of
disappearing, but the squad still needs to be bigger, and with more flexibility.
Liason with the 5ths and 7ths was good, and if we can get a few pairs of younger
legs integrated into the side, the team should settle down and challenge for
XI (4 annual subs paid) – Effectively this team was rebuilt during the season. Too many of the
old 7ths were interested only in playing for a clique, and when a few
disappeared at the start of the season, they disappeared too, though a few moved
up to higher teams which suited their abilities.
Danny McConnell took over as captain in October, and
throughout the season brought in new players, and a few older ones who’d been
passed over in previous seasons in favour of better players who ought to have
been playing higher up. As the season progressed a core slowly came together,
and next season there ought to be enough of a core of players suited to the
standard of 8 North that results next season should pick up significantly. Yours
truly steps down as skipper for next season.
Optimists – The Veterans effectively died this season.
Availability continued to decline and the team played no friendlies, and lost
their one cup match in the London Old Boys Cup.
Danny Goldman remains keen to breathe life back into
the Optimists, and we’ve entered the LOB Veterans Cup, but the real key is
whether a dozen (ideally more) players “of an age” want to play Veterans
football – at present most of those who are eligible are choosing to play for
the league sides.
The Golden Boot was shared by Max Lovell and Lloyd Vanson, the latter
beneficiary of a late recount of goals and a dodgy decision to allow goals from
an expunged game at the start of the season to count. The Golden Gloves were
comfortably won by Mark Dawson, who shared his talents between the 2nds and the
1sts and played a key part in the late season surge for survivial.
AFA Cups – I should also report that during the season we lodged a protest about the AFA Intermediate Novets Cup. Kew Association cancelled their 2nd team game but still played their 6th team, and knocked us out of the AFA Cup. We protested this, as far as a Board of Appeal to the AFA, unsuccessfully. Sadly the AFA Rules didn’t seem to cover the situation, and the AFA had little concept of the Spirit of the Competition.
There is also some discussion at league level about changing the
regionalization to ease issues in the south. One suggestion is that the North
should be extended to include clubs such as Parkfield, Challoners and
Kolsassians. The second, perhaps less appetizing for us would be to
re-designate us as a Western Club. I should be grateful for comments and
thoughts from all concerned at the AGM.