Chairman’s Seasons Review.

Well where do I begin, a great season overall even though we just fell short of promotion to the Conference North or South Division.

So lets step back some nine months and review the ups and downs of the season, well there were really very few downs to be honest.

A good start to a season where I thought we had a very good chance of getting to at least the play offs. Unbeaten in the first eleven games took us to second place.

Unfortunately we made a rather disappointing early exit from the FA Cup where drawing a lower league team was an ideal scenario, but we fell at that fence.

There where a few things behind the scenes on the first team management side that I let fester to see if all could be resolved but in hindsight I should have acted straight away, something in business I always do. It came to a point where changes had to be made, not ideal but needed all the same.

In saying that I am very grateful for the previous management team giving the club that “Quick Fix” the previous season by bringing in players in double quick time that saw us escape from possible relegation to a respectful mid table position and winning the Red Insure Cup along the way, I thank them for that.

We moved on and unfortunately dropped a few places down the league just before the Christmas period, loosing four straight home games.

Gary King was because of personal reasons forced to resign just after the Chippenham match of which left us in a real predicament where it was coming up to Christmas and we were manager less.

I did not want to knee jerk and believe it or not I knew a long time ago who would at sometime be our manager one day and that was David Batch who confirmed what I already knew when his Sudbury team beat us over two games in the FA Trophy.

David has always been on my radar having known him for over 25 years mainly through my son Jamie as they were best friends and played together at Cambridge United all those years ago.

David agreed to join us before the Christmas matches but because of legal reasons we could not announce his appointment.

So yes I decided to take the helm of first team manager for two games aided by my son Jamie.

I wont go into details as I have already done that in one of my programme notes of which is certainly worth a read in our newsstand feature. The Banbury programme page 16 reveals all.

Enough to say never ever again, but it did give me a great outlook on just what makes a very good manager, and the stress they are under, and dedication they need to do the job.

David came in and I said to him lets have a real go and see what we can do for the rest of the season a sort of already in for thousands and in for more thousands of pounds.

Unfortunately we then received another set back with us having six points taken away from us because of the Hereford fiasco.

This dropped us to tenth position in the league but from then on we did give it a real go taking us to the play off final of which we lost to a single penalty goal. I don’t want to say much about that game as I might well say something that would get me into trouble, But never in all the years I have been watching football have I seen a match like that.

Most of the time when we had an adverse result I feel disappointed but never upset as I know that’s how football works but on this occasion I was very seriously upset in the manner of our defeat in a game that cost us in my opinion possible promotion.

I saw things before the game I just could not believe I was seeing and knew from that moment it was not going to be our day even if we played all night.

David was very upset as well as were some of our other officials who witnessed what I did.

Nothing can be done about it and as usual the good guys loose.

So we move on as this is now in the past and hopefully never repeated.

David has already added to his squad and his first new signings will be announced in a few days, some deals are done and dusted but cannot be announce at this time.

Further signings are very well advanced and we will see how our squad pans out at pre season training.

It will also mean we will loose some players, but I can assure you all it will be for the better of the squad and the demands David puts on his players.

I must say that this management team really are something very special, with all due respect to other managers David and his team really do focus on the club as a whole and will be implementing new revolutionary ideas into the technical side of the club, that really excites me moving forward.

 Thank you to everyone who helped us this season and you all know just who you are. That special group of course you the supporters really do make my day with your devotion to the cause and vocal support at each and every game.

A massive thank you to Mark Davies the mastermind behind our ground breaking web site and award winning match day programme.

I set very high standards and my ideas sometime seem to be beyond the scope of design but mark just takes them all on board and reproduces the vision of what I want, and very often exceeds those visions.

We are very proud of what has been achieved with our club branding and for any football website to achieve over 2 million visits in under a year is quite extraordinary, But I say why not as it is the best football website there is out there.

Lets now put last season behind us, as that is in the past and look forward to next season of which we will improve on everything we do. We have a first class back of office staff and now we have a very professional first team management that will lead the club forward from the front with the youth set up following closely behind.

Well done to the young lads who have already made the first team squad and have played a major part in the teams progress since they were introduced by David a real progression of the managements Pathway to the first team, its not going to happen instantly but over a period of time it will and most important young players will know that they will be given every opportunity to progress at our club.

There will be many prestigious pre season friendlies so please support us in numbers as we certainly need the money of which every single penny goes into the clubs coffers, it is seriously expensive to operate our football club and we all want to have as much success as we can.

Our football can be enjoyable and our success can be unlimited but you can only achieve that by not living beyond our means.

Towards the end of last season we nearly got to the crowd milestone we set ourselves, lets get there from the off this season as not only does it make a great atmosphere but clearly helps the team to do well.

Roll on early July and our first pre season friendlies.

All for one and one for all

Mike.

 

 

Work on pitch is now nearly complete

The work undertaken on the pitch is now nearly complete, we started just as soon as we could of which will give us some 4 weeks extra time before our first per season fixture.

As everyone could see the pitch last season was probably in its worst condition for a couple of years, this was due to us taking advice on the re turfing of certain areas being the two goal mouths and the centre circle part of the pitch.

The Turf that was recommended was supposed to be the very best hard wearing turf on the market so at a cost close to £10,000 we went ahead and re turfed those areas of which turned out to be a disaster, both goal areas and the centre just cut up within weeks of the new season starting. 

There was nothing we could do about it and tried to replace where we could however our beautiful carpet was ruined for the season.

Many of you would have noticed the hight of the centre circle area of which we did on purpose, its called a "crown" and will in time find its own level again, we did this because of a small drainage problem we had in that part of the pitch. At least that work paid dividends and the drainage problem has been solved.

Now onto this years work the pitch has been scarified to take up dead grass and moss, we also slit the pitch to aerate it and have slightly rolled the pitch, when we say "slightly" thats exactly what we mean if you rolled our pitch with a heavy roller you would compact all that was underneath the pitch which would stop any water reaching the drains under the pitch.

Next we have dug up both goal areas and laid new Turf ( this we have laid upside down to preserve the grass and give longer wear).

Finally we have Hollowed and cored the pitch, the cores will be (picked up counted and bagged by the Scholars as we can sell them on) then the whole pitch will be have over 100 tons of top soil sand and finally seeded.

All work should be completed in the next couple of days. Then its down to Sun, water and I suppose hope.

 We will over the next 6 weeks or so keep cutting the grass to encourage growth at about 33 mm high.

Come the first game our pitch should be back to one of the very best pitches there is.

 

 

 

ST NEOTS TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB  -  AWARDS EVENING

A large gathering of players, officials and supporters were at the Cozy Stadium on Saturday May 9th to celebrate in style the 2014/15 season that saw St Neots Town FC get within a fingertip of achieving a place in the Football Conference.  

 

Just five days earlier the first team had made the 666 miles return trip to Truro where they had been beaten by a controversial penalty goal to nil after a second half of the season that had seen them rise five places in the final table losing just twice in twenty two league matches.  

That successful run was down to the mid season decision to appoint David Batch as Manager and he and his backroom staff resurrected the fortunes of a team that had found themselves tenth in the league table after the demise of Hereford United had seen them docked six valuable league points.

The season had proved to be the most successful league performance in the Club’s proud 136 years history and to finish in the play off places at Step Three in the National League System was an immense achievement.  

The side had attracted massive regular following from its supporters and around 150 had made the long trip to Truro to cheer on their side.

The Club’s other two teams had recorded differing fortunes. The St Neots Saints playing principally players under the age of 21 and at time only 16/17 year olds had struggled at Step Six in the ChromaSports and Trophies United Counties League Division One finishing 19th  in a division containing more experienced sides after being docked three points for a registration problem.  

Meantime the U18 side finished 4th in the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties West Division but in the second half of their season blooded most of their U16 side players to gain valuable experience at the higher level.   

The senior players had ended their season with a golf day at Wyboston lakes prior to the Awards event and the evening began with a clutch of golf awards with the pairings of Drew Roberts and Iain Parr (Youth Director) and Adam Tann and Nathan Frater picking up the prizes.

The Football awards featured one player who loomed very large on the evening as the ever popular Drew Roberts swept the board picking up all four senior awards.   He scored 30 league and cup goals – the highest ever individual haul in a single season at Southern League Premier Division level.  

There were also two awards for Dan Hobbs (U21 level) and Chris Lewis (U18 level).  

It had been a memorable season off the field with Club Life President John Walker having received his award for 50 years service in January and there was also a special presentation to long serving Match Secretary Marian Izzard who was awarded a life Vice Presidency.

 

The Awards were as follows:

 

Life Vice Presidency Award:              Marian Izzard

 

U18 side

Players’ Player of the Year:                Chris Lewis

Managers Player of the Year:             Alfie Ball

Leading goal scorer:                           Chris Lewis

 

Saints u/21s

Players' Player of the Year:                              Dan Hobbs (who also played in the senior side)

Leading goal scorer:                           Dan Hobbs

 

Senior team

Supporters Player of the Year:           Drew Roberts

Players’ Player of the Year:                Drew Roberts

Managers Player of the Year:             Drew Roberts

Leading goal scorer:                           Drew Roberts

 

Clubman of the Year:                          Rowan Presland

 

Players own presentation Award        Mick Hunt

 

John Walker

 

Club President

Marion (maz) Izzard, Life Vice President

I take great pleasure in announcing that Maz has been made a life vice President of St Neots Town FC.

This being my first award since i purchased the club and I am honoured to be able to give this award to Maz.

This lady has been with the club for over 22 years and for most of that time been club fixture secretary for just about every team we have.

Maz is also at every home match what ever team we have playing, doing this and that, always on the go.

Nothing and i mean nothing is too much for her and quite honestly Maz is the only person in the club who we have very little contact with.

I say that in the nicest possible way as she is so efficient that "Its always done" she just gets on with it as they say.

Never in my business life have i ever met someone so efficient in what they do.

 Supported by her husband Graham, Maz is a role model for anyone.

Congratulations Marion Izzard Life Vice President

Thank you so much

Mike Kearns 

Owner / Chairman

 

The best web site in football hits 2 million views, thats just under 6,000 views very single day.

yes have a good read thats EACH AND EVERY DAY

Thank you to everyone who contributes to this very special web site, our aim is to improve it even more in the close season.

COYS

 

 

Southern League Premier Division – Play Off FINAL

TRURO CITY    1 - 0   ST NEOTS TOWN                      

With a place in the Football Conference at stake for the winners this Southern League Play Off Final turned out to be a one man show, and it wasn't any of the players.

In front of a huge crowd oblivious to the rain the outcome of the match was decided by a controversial penalty kick awarded after 66 minutes – just one of the strange decisions made by Weston Super Mare Referee Adam Penwell.  

The action was in the St Neots penalty area as Adam Tann and home striker Isaac Vassell went down in a mass of arms and legs and as the visiting players and loyal followers expected a free kick in their favour the Referee dramatically pointed to the penalty spot.  

Even the Truro players were surprised by the decision and so it was down to goalkeeper Paul Bastock whose penalty save at Poole had clinched St Neots place in this Final to face Shane White but he kept his cool and sent the keeper the wrong way to score.  

That was just one of the collection of incidents in which St Neots were left thinking they were playing against twelve rather than eleven men because the match Referee booked no fewer than five St Neots players and just two of their opponents for a variety of alleged minor infringements in a match that never really saw a bad tackle. This culminated two minutes from time in St Neots boss David Batch being sent off after a frank exchange of views with the Official.  

There had been a massive surprise for the visiting fans when it was announced that Mat Mitchel-King badly injured at Poole six days before had passed a fitness test to play with 47 stitched still in his shin and to his great credit he was able to complete the full ninety minutes.   

With Jack Wilkinson and Nathan Frater still on the injured list St Neots had few selection options but in a match full of passion and commitment they could have asked no more from their players.

Truro began the better of the two sides and they almost went ahead after three minutes when a Matthew Wright cross over Paul Bastock surprised the visiting defence but Sam Harty got back to clear off the line. St Neots then conceded a free kick twenty yards from goal but Ed Palmer skied his effort over the bar but at the other end Lee Clarke saw his shot deflected for a corner and home custodian Tom McHale had to dive at the feet of Drew Roberts to smother the ball.  

Wright was proving a lively leader for the home side and after 13 minutes another clearance off the line – this time by Brett Longden – kept the St Neots goal intact.  

After these early skirmishes the match settled with the St Neots defence marshalled by skipper Ryan Frater and Tom Ward looking sound and confident and there were few serious attempts on goal in the remainder of a tightly contested first 45 minutes.

St Neots decided on a change of approach after the interval replacing Matt Spring with youngster Ebey Marango to test his speed against the home defence.  

Drew Roberts moved back into midfield with Lewis Hilliard alongside Clarke in attack and it almost paid dividends when Roberts charged down a clearance to free up Marango whose shot was cleared off the line by Dan Green.  

Around the hour mark St Neots enjoyed their best spell of the match with Roberts having a shot dropped by McHale before being hacked clear and then a Clarke shot from a Hilliard cross hit the bottom of the post..  

However the penalty incident put a different feel to the contest. St Neots went three at the back with Brett Longden an additional force in midfield and from a set piece Ryan Frater headed narrowly wide.  

The real drama came four minutes from time when Hilliard curled in a cross to the far post that finished up in the net but it had been inches beyond the reach of Clarke who had helped the ball over the line with his hand for which he received a yellow card.  

With emotions running high Wright unsportingly deliberately threw the ball into the crowd to waste time and David Batch was dismissed as the match ended in disappointment at the end of a very memorable season for St Neots.

St Neots: Bastock, Tann, Longden, Mitchel-King, Frater (R), Ward, Harty, Spring, Clarke, Roberts (D), Hilliard

Subs: Marango (for Spring 46), Ferrari (for Marango 85), Bickerstaff, Vieira and Greygoose.

Cards:  Batch (RED – 88), Longden (Y – 41), Hilliard (Y – 45), Mitchel-King (Y – 59), Clarke (Y – 86), Tann (Y – 90+2)

Goals:  none

Truro: McHale, White, Brett, Ash, Farkins, Palmer, Green, Krac, Wright, Vassell, Cooke

 Subs:  Afful (for Cooke 64), Duff (for Vassell 72), Hayles (for Wright 90), Pugh and Moore.

Cards:  Vassell (Y – 52), Wright (Y – 86)

Goals:  White – pen (66 mins)

Attendance: 1450

Referee: Adam Penwell (Weston Super Mare)

John Walker

Sit back and enjoy the Saints last home game of the 2014/2015 season.

 Full Highlights: SNTFC 3 v 0 Chippenham

Matt Mitchel-KIng Played for 43 minutes of the first against Poole Town with a huge gash down the inside of his leg. the injury happened in only the second minute of the game.

Matt not knowing just how serious the injury was played on until the end of the first half.

In the dressing room at half time matt took his sock off to see what was wrong where it was revealed that he had a serious gash down his leg. 

Matt was immediately taken to hospital where he had to have no less than 47 stitches to close the wound.

To play on in such pain was a credit to Matt and the way he goes about his game.

On behalf of everyone connected with the club we would like to wish Matt a speedy recovery and hopefully the players can come away from Truro with a win and dedicate that to Matt.

Top player and top bloke.

 

Club travel arrangements to Truro.

Firstly we would like to apologise to all of our very loyal away traveling supporters on not being able to accommodate them for the trip to truro.

After looking at all options including Air, Train and Road.

The players and team management will be traveling by coach to Truro on Sunday afternoon to stay in a hotel near Truro and then on to the match on Monday.

The management are weary that the players will need as much rest, comfort and coach space as we can give them, being two seats per person of which will take up the majority of the coach 48 out of 49 seats.

Therefore unfortunately there will be no room for any supporters on the team coach.

We have looked at hiring a separate coach but the costs would amount to around £40 per head based on a full coach.

We feel that the most economical way for supporters to travel would be by their own transport.

There are plenty of hotels in the area and one that has been suggested is the “Premier Inn” in Bodmin some 17 miles from Truro, Prices are we believe at approx. £45 per night for a twin room, we believe that you can get a better rate for a group booking.

Phone 0871 527 8112

For those wishing to travel then please could you please try and sort out with fellow supporters via the clubs forum.

Hopefully these arrangements will ensure that you all have a cost effective trip to Truro and stay at the same hotel.

Mike Green who usually looks after these matters is unfortunately away until this Saturday so maybe someone else can pick up the challenge.

We are very sorry for having to change our usual away travel arrangements but we think you will all agree that giving the players, as much comfort on the journey is the priority.

Lets get on that M5 in large numbers have a great Sunday evening and sing our team to victory on the Monday.

Thank you for your continued support.

 

 

Southern League Premier Division

POOLE TOWN  0-1   ST NEOTS TOWN

A magnificent penalty kick save by Paul (the cat) Bastock and a single goal a quarter of an hour from the end of a tense and closely contested match has left St Neots within just ninety minutes of a place in the Football Conference next season.   Cheered on by around a hundred travelling supporters St Neots did themselves proud in the face of a massive challenge as they lost midfield lynch pin Mat Mitchel-King at half time to a seven inch gash in his shin that required hospitalisation having already named a side with two key players (Jack Wilkinson and Nathan Frater) still sidelined by weekend injuries.  

Hosts Poole at one time five points ahead at the top of the table with two games in hand were odds on favourites for automatic promotion but having lost the championship to Corby Town in their final league match they started this semi-final play off as clear favourites but fell short for the second time in four days. 

St Neots had to reshape their starting line up and brought in Josh Bickerstaff and Brett Longden – the latter after his one match ban – and included Lorenzo Ferrari up front for his first start since mid-February.   Adam Tann also returned after injury with Sam Harty and Matt Spring both on the bench.

Poole began the better of the two sides and created two early openings with Carl Emmerson testing Paul Bastock with a well placed shot before Like Burbidge shot wildly over the bar when well placed.   

St Neots were finding it hard to get their passing game going and they almost fell behind after 18 minutes when a Joe Quigley header rebounded from the crossbar after clever play by Burbidge.  

The really significant incident of the first half came on 19 minutes when Steve Devlin was impeded by Bastock as he made for goal and the well placed Referee pointed to the penalty spot. Devlin’s well placed spot kick was perfectly anticipated by the diving keeper who pushed it away to safety.  

That seemed to boost St Neots’ confidence and they came more into the game as following a lengthy Mitchel-King throw after 21 minutes Lee Clark glanced his header wide of the far post and then a minute later from a Drew Roberts corner Mitchel-King won the ball in the air but home keeper Nick Hutchings saved well.  

Towards half time play became scrappy with Lewis Lindsay volleying Poole’s best chance over the bar from a Devlin corner and Drew Roberts working hard in an unfamiliar role wide on the right testing Hutchings with a long volley.

Mat Mitchel-King failed to appear after the break along with Josh Bickerstaff and they were replaced by a new midfield pairing of Sam Harty and Matt Spring.  

Clarke headed over the bar from a Lewis Hilliard cross and then saw a second effort deflected but Poole were still dangerous on the break and a Harrison Gilkes shot was blocked after good work by Quigley. A series of further substitutions by both sides seemed to break up the rhythm of play but St Neots were now looking the better side and fifteen minutes from time the all important goal arrived. 

Long throws have been a feature of St Neots’ attacking play recently but with the two best exponents of the art not on the field a long effort by Tom Ward was flicked on at the near post by skipper Ryan Frater and Lee Clarke headed in to break the deadlock.  

Poole now threw everything forward but with Ward and Frater supreme at the back they never managed a significant shot on goal in the remaining time.  

In fact St Neots might have finished with a more impressive final score line in their favour because with home goalkeeper Hutchings too far off his line in time added  Lewis Hilliard produced an audacious shot from fifty yards that went over the keeper’s head but rebounded to safety off the top of the crossbar.  

So the patched up St Neots squad are now off to Truro on Bank Holiday Monday for the final showdown with Conference football the prize for the winners.

 

St Neots: Bastock, Longden, Bickerstaff, Mitchel-King, Frater (R), Ward, Ferrari, Tann, Clarke, Roberts (D), Hilliard

Subs: Harty (for Mitchel-King 46), Spring (for Bickerstaff 46), Hobbs (for Ferrari 66), Vieira and Greygoose.

Cards:  Longden (Y – 70), Harty (Y – 87)

Goals:  Clarke (75 mins)

Poole: Hutchings, Lindsay, Spetch, Emmerson, Whisken, Pettefer, Burbidge, Devlin, Quigley, Butcher, Gilkes

Subs:  Walsh (for Gilkes 63), Roberts (L) (for Quigley 63), Whelan (for Butcher 83), Lowes and Davis.

Cards:  Quigley (Y – 62)

Goals:  none

Attendance: 841

Referee: Daniel Leach (Witney)

 

John Walker