A Brief History of Time: Worplesdon Rangers FC
During the early months of 2001, a number of local parents joined together to form a new youth football club in Guildford, with an ethos of ‘football for all’ and having fun in a safe environment. Brian Slyfield, who remains with the Club today, was one of its founder members.
The aim was to create a club where children could enjoy their football in a positive and encouraging environment, avoiding the political problems that often accompany a venture of this type. This meant being fully inclusive, regardless of ability, so that everyone’s voice could be heard, while at the same time providing a structure that would ultimately protect the long-term viability of the Club itself.
Worplesdon Rangers FC was formed in July 2001 with 14 players, making up just two teams! A number of coaches stepped forward in time for the 2001/2002 season and we were off – with the teams playing in the now defunct Guildford and Shere League.
Training and home matches took place at Worplesdon Primary School, Envis Way, Fairlands.
During the Club’s first season, a Chairman and Committee were elected, a Club Constitution drawn up and Codes of Conduct introduced. Tim Hort was voted in as the Club’s first Chairman at what was our first AGM on 4th July 2002. Club records show that Worplesdon Rangers’ first ever goal scorer was one Samuel Ludlow.
The Club even managed an awards ceremony at which trophies were evidently presented to the two teams, Tigers and Pumas. For the record, Tigers’ awards went to Thomas Carey (Coaches’ Player), Scott Partridge (Most Improved Player), Callum Fraser (Manager’s Player), Graham Tucky (Parents’ Player) and John Hort (who scooped both Players’ Player and Top Goal Scorer). Pumas award-winners included Jacob Slyfield (Coaches’ Player), John Sutcliffe (Most Improved Player), James Cox (Manager’s Player and Parents’ Player), Graham Moss (Players’ Player) and George Roker (Top Goal Scorer).
In September 2002, the Club was solely focused on the still relatively new approach to Mini-Soccer and relocated its training to Northmead Junior School in the heart of Stoughton, Guildford.
A ‘Welcome Pack’ created in December 2002 reveals a lot of what was happening in the Club at the time. The annual Player Registration Fee was a mere £17.50, with match fees and training fees collected separately at £1 a time.
On the personnel side, Tim Hort was positioned as Chairman and Child Protection Officer. Ian Ludlow was U9 Coach, while also doubling as Club Secretary, Brian Slyfield was U10 Coach (also chief fund-raiser and Social Secretary), while U11 Coaches included Bruce Dore, Tim Wigmore and Nigel Carey (who also deputised as Club Development Officer). Rupert Phillips was a ‘floating coach’ across all the age groups. Ably supporting this group were Hanif Price (U11s), Andy Cox (U10s) and Ian Sutcliffe (U10s and Club Treasurer).
Pre-season, the Club held an open morning to attract new players for older teams at 11-a-side (the 9v9 match format was a long way off at this time!), as well as beefing up the number of Mini-Soccer teams.
One of the highlights of the season was the award of FA Charter Standard status, Worplesdon Rangers FC being one of the first clubs to receive this accolade in the Guildford area. A raft of new policies were drafted and implemented, which contributed to the Club meeting FA Charter Standard criteria.
Both membership and the number of coaches were growing steadily, with the latter attending age-related and Mini-Soccer coaching sessions run by Surrey FA at the local Varsity Centre.
The Club’s ‘Welcome Pack’ at the time shows the emergence of Nationwide Building Society as a key sponsor. The annual Player Registration Fee increased to £20.00 (£10.00 for 5 and 6 year olds) and match fees plus training fees pegged at £1.00 (although match fees for ‘Full Soccer’ as it was called, rose to £2.00).
A glimpse at the Club’s ‘Who’s Who?’ at the time reveals that many of the founders of WRFC remained in position, although to cater for growth, new volunteers were regularly signing up. It was also at about this time that Managers and Coaches were attending the ‘Junior Team Management Course’ (JTM), again in fulfilment of the Club’s new FA Charter Standard status.
Personnel at the time included Tim Hort (Club Chairman and Club Child Protection Officer), Nigel Carey (U12A Coach, Club Development Officer), Tim Wigmore (U12B Coach), Bruce Dore (U12B Coach), Brian Slyfield (U11 Coach, chief fund-raiser and Social Secretary), Ian Ludlow (U10 Coach, Club Secretary), Ian Lacey (U8 Coach), Rupert Phillips (Club Co-Ordinator), Hanif Price (U12 Assistant Coach), Andy Cox (U11 Assistant Coach) and Ian Sutcliffe (U11 Assistant Coach and Club Treasurer).
The 2004-5 season saw the first of the Club’s 11-a-side teams form, using Cardwells Keep as their home ground. In 2004, the Club’s first ever website was launched. Membership of the Club now stood at 180 players.
In January 2006, the Club ran its first in-house FA Level 1 course for 16 new coaches. By this time, Ian Lacey had qualified as the Club’s first FA Level 2 Coach, while Brian Slyfield was by now qualified as an FA Level 1 Goalkeeping Coach. Rupert Phillips meanwhile, held an FA Coaching Licence.
In July 2006, the Club held a 5-year celebration event at Northmead Junior School, complete with sideshows, local band Beat Route and football for the players.
In 2006, Rupert Phillips was presented with a Surrey FA Charter Standard Administration Award for his work as a coach mentor and for his other Club duties. The award was presented at half-time during a Fulham vs. Bolton game at Craven Cottage. Fulham was a regular fixture around this time as WRFC players travelled to watch the team at a number of home games, kindly organised by Chrisi and Nick Liesicke.
2007 also saw the start of the Club opening its doors to external coaching providers. Brazilian Soccer School was a big hit at the time and offered new insights to both players and coaches alike. Our coaches continued to attend age-related and Mini-Soccer coaching courses run by Surrey FA at the local Varsity Centre.
In December 2007, the Club was delighted to be featured in Issue 1 of Surrey FA’s ‘Beyond the Grass’, a programme designed to provide an in-depth look at how a successful FA Charter Standard
Club operates and how outstanding opportunities for participation in youth football within a safe and enjoyable environment can be provided.
Nick Drew, Surrey FA’s then Assistant Football Development Officer, wrote: “The story of how Worplesdon Rangers has grown as a club is nothing short of extraordinary….there is a unique environment that has been created at Worplesdon and there’s a unique atmosphere within that….the Club is more than just a club of football teams, it is a community….the Club has been built around an ethos of happiness over winning, enjoyment over three points and developing players ahead of replacing players….despite the professional manner by which the Club is run, it has successfully continued to avoid adopting a professional club’s approach to the game, which would see players released and replaced if they were not deemed good enough and a win-at-all-costs attitude towards matches….Instead, the emphasis is placed firmly on developing individuals, both as players and as people….”. Fine words indeed.
In 2007, Chairman Tim Hort and Rupert Phillips were invited to make a presentation to Guildford Borough Council and local businesses, with a view to promoting the Club at a Guildhall showcase. Although the Club did not attract the funding that it had hoped for, WRFC was the only youth organisation in Guildford invited to attend. This was in part due to the Club’s growing reputation as a friendly club and also for our work in the local community. It was common at this time to see Worplesdon Rangers FC represented at local summer fairs and fetes, including those at Northmead School and elsewhere in Worplesdon, Stoughton and Jacobs Well. Brian and Jake Slyfield, Chrisie and Nick Liesicke and Dave and George Upton all regularly turned out to organise ‘Beat the Goalie’ competitions and other football-related attractions!
In the summer of 2008, the Club entered its first international tournament in France, courtesy of Managers Ian Lacey and Jamie Aitken. Although the team did not win, they were presented with the Sportmanship Trophy by the event organisers.
Worplesdon Rangers FC were announced the winners of the Surrey FA Charter Standard Mini Soccer School Link with Northmead Junior School. Rupert Phillips (Club Development Officer) and Richard Angus (Club Secretary) collected the award at Leatherhead FC.
Following the Club’s successful first six years at Northmead Junior School, we entered into a 10-year agreement with the school for the use of the grounds and changing rooms for Saturdays and Sundays from September to May. This agreement effectively cemented the future of our Mini Soccer Centre, enabling us to focus on the requirements of our older teams.
By now, the Club’s ‘satellite’ model was flourishing. With an informal arrangement for the hire of Stoughton Infants School field for the younger age groups, Cardwells Keep for what would become our centre for 9-a-side football and Christ’s College for 11-a-side football, the Club did not have the responsibility of running its own facilities and was therefore able to flex its offer to Members as needs evolved. All the Club’s grounds were in the heart of the local community and were supplemented where necessary by pitch hire through Guildford Borough Council.
In recognition of achievements in helping the Club develop to its current level, Rupert Phillips received one of the first Simon Hedley Annual Awards for his efforts at the Surrey Primary League presentations in June 2009, held at the University of Surrey.
Come the summer, Ian Lacey and Jamie Aitken tried once more (without success) for that elusive win in France. Although bereft of silverware, the team enjoyed a great competition!
Meanwhile, on home turf, Stuart Glaysher and Andy Barry’s U9 Pumas finished Runners Up to Woking Cougars in the SPL U9 Plate Final.
The 2009-2010 season was by far the most successful to date in terms of membership, with nearly 300 players and 21 teams from Reception to Under 18. In addition to Brian Slyfield as an FA Level 1 Goalkeeping Coach, the Club boasted 25 FA Level 1 standard coaches amongst its volunteer base.
By the summer of 2010 and due to the efforts of Richard Angus, the Club obtained both permission and funds to convert one of the shower rooms at Northmead to a tea point plus wc facility and storage area. At this point, refreshments and a tuck shop became a regular feature of Saturday morning training for Mini-Soccer players!
Club development was very much front of mind towards the end of the season as the Committee sought the views of its Members on a range of development issues by means of a survey. Questionnaires allowed respondents to provide feedback about the Club and we were pleased to see that by and large, Worplesdon Rangers FC was viewed as a well-run, friendly club, having achieved more than several other longer-established clubs in the area during its relatively short existence.
To cap off 2009-2010, it was gratifying to see four players from our U18s receive awards at the Club’s end of season presentation. All four players had been with the Club since its inception in 2001.
Paul Sarney’s U11 Piranhas reached the SPL U11 Plate Final at Ash, losing narrowly to Premier Division Champions Woking Cougars.
At the Club’s Annual General Meeting on 4th July 2011, Peter Horncastle was elected as Chairman, taking over from Rupert Phillips who was able thereafter to concentrate more on his Club Development role.
To celebrate our 10th birthday as a Club, Brian Slyfield arranged an outdoor party on 9th July 2011 at Northmead playing field. Apart from side shows, bouncy castles and an auction of football memorabilia, headline attractions included a freestyle display from world champion Dan Magness, a local Guildford sports celebrity and now TV presenter. There was also a return to the stage for Dave Upton and local band Beat Route.
The season saw a few personnel changes within the Club at Committee level. Roles were thus: Peter Horncastle (Chairman), Brian Slyfield (Deputy Chairman), Richard Angus (Club Secretary), Andy Barry (Treasurer), Julie Tremble (Assistant Treasurer), Rupert Phillips (Club Development Officer), Elizabeth Baldwin (Child Welfare Officer), Nige Hamilton (Webmaster) and Cecile Horncastle (Minutes Secretary). Chrisi Liesicke provided support as the 11-a-side Fixtures Secretary and fund-raiser, Tanya Robinies and Louise Smith ran the tuck shop at Northmead and newly-recruited volunteer Roland Terry, former Head Youth Coach at Hampton and Richmond FC, began a three-season stint as a coach mentor across all age groups within the Club, winning the Chairman’s Award for his efforts at the Club’s AGM on 2nd July 2012.
Membership peaked at 240 players during the season and the Club had 15 teams from Reception through to U17.
A further in-house FA Level 1 course was arranged at Christ’s College in April 2012 for eighteen Managers and Coaches.
On the pitch, it was a strong season for the Club. Five out of ten SPL teams finished in the top half of their respective divisions. Andy Elton’s U9 Trojans were Runners Up in SPL Division 3 and won the SPL Junior Plate Final, beating Farnham United Tigers 2-0. Meanwhile, Andy Gray’s U10 Hawks won SPL Division 4 and were narrowly defeated 3-2 against Woking Cougars in the SPL Senior Plate Final.
Meanwhile, the Club saw a number of players move up to the next level in their playing careers. Emily Oliver (U8 Warriors) trialled successfully for Chelsea Girls, while Gian Ayling and Tom Angus (U14) were accepted by Woking FC Elite.
The Club continued to offer exceptional value for its Registration Fee, which by now was pegged at £15.00, £30.00 and £35.00 across the age ranges, with Training Fees at £1.00 and Match Fees a further £1.00 (£3.00 for 9-a-side and 11-a-side teams).
Julie Tremble started her first full season as Treasurer, taking over from Andy Barry who remained with the Club in his coaching role and as a key sponsor via Compass Group PLC/Eurest.
Despite the much-vaunted ‘Olympic Effect’, membership dropped sharply during the season to 199, although the Club still had 16 teams, albeit no presence at either U15 or U17.
A lot of the Committee’s time and energy over the summer and into the early part of the season was spent on ensuring a smooth transition to the new FA 5v5 and 9v9 match formats. Everything went well, despite the somewhat last-minute decision to push this aspect of the FA’s Youth Development Proposals through in time for 2013-2104. The Club also entered new territory through its affiliation with the East Berkshire Youth League (now the East Berkshire Football Alliance), providing Saturday matches for one of its two U13 teams, the Lions, managed by Richard Angus.
Eight of the Club’s teams finished in the top half of their respective tables. Trevor Chilton’s U16s very nearly clinched the double: winning the SPL Junior Cup and coming Runners Up of SPL Division 2, in a close tie with Hanworth on points.
The U12 Piranhas won the SPL Senior Plate, while Andy Gray’s U11 Hawks proved worthy Runners-Up in the SPL Junior Cup Final. Meanwhile, at Mini-Soccer level, Dan Wheatley’s U9 Warriors went on to win their first silverware during tournament season at Farncombe Youth FC.
The Club implemented a new combined Player Registration Fee and Training Fee from the outset of the season. The fees were: Reception and U6 (£15.00), U7 and U8 (£50.00), U9 and U10 (£60.00), U11 and U12 (£70.00) and U13 and above (£70.00) – all exclusive of Match Fees.
Membership started to climb again – by about 7% – to a peak of 213. The Club ran 14 teams, from Reception to U15.
Over the summer, a new website had been designed and launched by Webmaster Nige Hamilton, a key feature of which was the addition of falling snowflakes across the home page during the months of December and January!
Another development over the summer was the spin-off of the Club’s U16s to help form AFC Worplesdon Rangers, a separately constituted club, led by Trevor Chilton and Chrisi Liesicke. AFC went on to have a successful first season in the Surrey and Hants Border League and now offer themselves as part of WRFC’s exit strategy for older players. However, with our oldest players now operating at U15, it would be several seasons before this would happen.
The Club also capitalised on the move into Guildford of the Dutch-inspired Coerver Performance Academy and commenced the process of building an informal partnership with Amit Sohal, Regional Director for Coerver. Several Coerver ‘taster’ sessions were run during the season at both Northmead and Kings College, resulting in several WRFC players being accepted by Coerver’s centre, based at Surrey Sports Park.
Out on the pitch, the Club had a good run in various competitions.
Paul Growdon’s U9 Dinamo won the Fleet U9 Tournament and the SPL Simon Hedley Festival Junior Cup. Dan Wheatley’s U10 Warriors made it to the Quarter Finals of the SPL Senior Plate, while the U10 Dragons were Quarter-Finalists in the SPL Junior Cup. Andy Gray’s U12 Hawks made it to the Quarter-Finals of the SPL Junior Cup and Paul Sarney’s U13 Piranhas did well as Quarter-Finalists in the SPL Senior Cup and Runners-Up in SPL Division 1. Meanwhile, Richard Angus’s U14 Tigers progressed to the Semi-Finals of the SPL Junior Cup and were Runners Up in EBFA Division 4.
At the AGM, Richard Angus stepped down from his role as Club Secretary, handing over the reins to Clare Jones and in doing so, focusing on the newly created role of FA Charter Standard Officer. Nige Hamilton stepped down as Webmaster over the summer, due to his son moving on to pastures new.
Peter Horncastle commenced his fourth season as Chairman with the Club, supported by Brian Slyfield (Deputy Chair), Clare Jones (Club Secretary), Julie Tremble (Treasurer), Jan Growdon (Child Welfare Officer), Rupert Phillips (Club Development Officer) and Richard Angus (Charter Standard Officer). Chrisi Liesicke kindly continued as the Club’s 9- and 11-a-side Fixtures Secretary, despite her competing commitments with AFC Worplesdon Rangers.
Membership continued to rise (by about 6%) to 226 and membership fees were pegged for another year at the same level.
Early in the season, Rupert Phillips announced his intention to retire from the Committee at the 2015 AGM. A motion was passed at Committee to present Rupert with a Life President’s Award for his services to the Club since it began in 2001. Committee Meetings relocated from their old home at the Aggie Club to the Queen Elizabeth Park Centre, opposite Northmead School and saw the Committee grappling for the first time with the application of FIFA International Transfer rulings for one of its young players!
The Club’s informal links with the Coerver Performance Academy continued to grow, with over a dozen WRFC players now attending the Guildford centre at Surrey Sports Park. Four of the Club’s coaches also attended coach education sessions at Surrey Sports Park.
Brian Slyfield was pronounced Winner of the Guildford Sports Award Services to Sport 2014 and progressed as a Runner-Up in the BBC Surrey Outstanding Services to Sport.
The Club was without a viable website for much of the season, as the Committee approved expenditure on a professionally designed site and new social media platform. A tendering exercise was undertaken over the winter and work on the new site commenced in January 2015, involving photographing every volunteer in the Club! The new site was launched in the summer, in readiness for the 2015-2016 season.
Peter Horncastle represented the Club at the Guildford Sports Strategy 2020 Consultation and provided an input to the Council’s evolving thinking on how it might support sports organisations in the borough for the next five years, amidst continuing budget cuts and the growing national agenda on health, activity and well-being.
April 2015 saw the convening at The Babcock Centre, Christ’s College, of two in-house workshops on Safeguarding and Emergency First Aid, held largely (but not exclusively) for Managers, Coaches and other volunteers looking to renew existing FA Level 1 badges.
Meanwhile, out on the pitch it was a less successful season for many of our teams, including several who had a tough year following promotion to a higher division the previous season.
That said, Paul Sarney’s U14s had an excellent season, achieving Runners Up in the SPL Premier division and emerging as Finalists in the SPL Senior Cup, narrowly losing 2-1 to rivals Yateley United Youth Predators at Ash United’s ground on 10th May 2015.
Elsewhere on the tournament circuit, Dan Wheatley’s U11 Warriors reached the Cup Final of the Mytchett Athletic FC Tournament, while Paul Growdon’s U10 Dinamo stole the Junior Plate at the SPL Simon Hedley Football Fun Festival on 24th May 2015, hosted this year by Farncombe Youth FC. Even the Club’s U6 Mini-Rangers got in on the act and played in the Fleet Spurs Festival, under the supervision of new Manager and Coach Rob Monks.
A rain-drenched season if ever there was one, with a wet, mild winter stretching all the way from Christmas week through to the end of March 2016!
Despite a registration fee increase of 5% and the loss of U11 Predators early in the season, membership continued to rise to 252. The new website started to yield an increasing number of enquiries, as we had all hoped it would.
The Management Committee worked hard to ensure that we finished the season on a sound financial footing and indeed, this was probably our best season ever for collection of membership and match fees. Peter Horncastle completed his fifth season as Chairman, with Brian Slyfield as Deputy Chair and Membership Secretary. Julie Tremble completed her final season as Treasurer and Jan Growdon stood down as Child Welfare Officer. Nick Reynolds, instrumental in implementing the Club’s Online Member Survey, also stood down as Club Development Officer at the AGM in June. Clare Jones completed another season as Club Secretary, with Richard Angus acting as Charter Standard Officer. Chrisi Liesicke continued her good work as the Club’s Fixtures Secretary.
Recently-anointed Life President Rupert Phillips retired from youth football after many years’ service and was given a guard of honour and special presentation at Northmead. His retirement inevitably included standing down from his position as Coach for the Reception Mini-Rangers at Northmead and from being the Club’s Mini-Soccer ambassador there. Julie Rowlands gets special credit for running the Northmead Tuck Shop in all weathers, while the Hobson family performed the same miracle at Cardwells Keep for U12 Warriors, raising money not only for equipment but also for a charitable donation to Crisis at Christmas in Guildford.
On the pitch, there were a total of seventeen teams from Reception to U17, with continued support for the Surrey Primary League and the East Berkshire Football Alliance. In addition, the Club extended its League reach to include two teams (U12 Warriors and U15 SYL) playing for the first time in the Surrey Youth League.
From a Club perspective on the pitch, it was a good season. Six out of eight teams finished in the top half of their respective League table, with the U17 Hurricanes winning the SPL Premier division, without losing a game. The impressive Hurricanes were also U17 League Cup Runners-Up.
Meanwhile, the U15s (SYL) ended the season as Runners-Up in the SYL U15 Super Division and were League Invitation Cup Winners. For the first time, the Club had a weekly ‘Results Round-Up’ feature on the website, showcasing results for all its competitive teams. The summer tournament season was also a success for several teams. U10 Kestrels emerged victorious at the SPL Simon Hedley Festival.
The Club launched its first Member survey online in October 2015. With a 33% response rate and representation across all the age groups, the data revealed a clear mandate for the Club to invest in three main areas: player and coach development, facilities and equipment and the development of more of a ‘One Club’ ethos. The majority of respondents added that they would be willing to pay more in terms of their registration fee if such improvements were to be made. This set in motion the development of a 2020 Club Development Plan, with clear actions decided by a number of Task Groups who met on several occasions between January and March 2016. The ground work was completed ahead of season end for a number of priority initiatives, including enhancements to our pitch facilities and establishing a formal collaboration with Woking FC, as part of the Club’s plans for player and coach development.
To highlight the newfound ‘One Club’ ethos – and to celebrate the Club’s 15th anniversary – the season concluded with a combined Trophy Day (organised by Brian Slyfield) and Fun Day (organised by Mel Walter, U12) on Sunday, 5th June at Fairlands. The sunshine and hot weather helped attract the crowds and the Club made a tidy profit of £1,800.00 to boost funds.
Weather-wise, the snow and ice kept well away from us this season – but the Club suffered some inevitable pitch cancellations during the winter rainy season, although by no means as extensive as they had been in recent years!
Our 16th season as a Club was somewhat overshadowed by allegations in different parts of the country of historic abuse by adults operating within youth football; a timely reminder of the importance that the Club attaches to its Child Welfare and safeguarding responsibilities. The Respect campaign was in the news once again as grass-roots referees threatened a strike (one that didn’t happen in the end….) and for good measure, the Surrey Youth League launched its ‘Pitch Marshall’ pilot for member clubs. On a lighter note, the Club’s archives reveal that this was a season in which laboratory scientists taught bumble bees how to play football, although there was no sign that they were able to master the offside rule….
Following the June 2015 AGM, the Club’s annual membership fees were increased to allow the new Club Development Plan to be implemented, under the leadership of Club Development Officer Sean Crooke. The annual Player Registration Fee was increased to £40.00 (Reception), £65.00 (U6, U7 and U8), £75.00 (U9 and U10) and £85.00 (U11-U18). Match fees were charged at £1.00 (U7 and U8), £2.00 (U9 and U10) and £3.00 (U11-U18).
Many new initiatives were started this season, including a formal tie-up with Woking Football in the Community (WFITC). This new partnership saw some of our players attending matches at the Laithwaite Stadium, the start of dedicated WFITC coaching for our U6s at Northmead, specialist goalkeeper coaching clinics and a regular FITC coaching input to our Mini-Soccer teams training on Saturday mornings at St Joseph’s School.
In response to the original feedback that provided the basis for the 2020 Club Development Plan, we addressed the capacity issue at Northmead School and the quality of some of the grounds used by the Club. Mini-Soccer players started training on the all-weather surface at St Joseph’s School and the Club opened up its doors at Weyfield Primary Academy, as well as the all-weather surface at Broadwater School. Meanwhile, the relatively new relationship with Worplesdon Phoenix FC was truly cemented during this season, with several of our senior teams adopting the Phoenix pitch and pavilion as their home ground. The pavilion (and bar!) became the regular home for the Club’s monthly Committee meetings.
The Club was also kept busy launching its Player Bursary Scheme and in the Autumn commissioned two workshops on Emergency First Aid and Safeguarding Children, to cater for another generation of adult volunteers.
The Management Committee was expanded in 2016-2017 to manage the additional work arising from the Club Development Plan. Peter Horncastle commenced the new season as Chairman but unfortunately had to stand down from the role in December 2016 due to ill-health. Prior to being taken ill, Peter had just received the Allianz Volunteer of the Year award at the Guildford Sports Awards, nominated by the WRFC Management Committee.
His role as Club Chairman remained vacant until the June 2017 AGM, with the rest of the Committee ably taking up the slack. Peter continued his additional role as the Club’s Communications Officer up to the 2017 AGM, at which point he stood down from all Committee duties. Brian Slyfield continued as Deputy Chairman and Operations Officer, while Clare Jones held the position of Club Secretary for her final year – and also looked after the vacant Treasurer role, along with being Interim Chairman after Peter stepped down. Sean Crooke was busy once again as Club Development Officer, while Shaun Dyer took up the new post of Commercial Officer. Lorrie Humphrey continued as Child Welfare Officer, with Richard Angus acting as Membership Officer. Three co-opted roles were also created for this season, with Chrisi Liesicke continuing her excellent work as the Club’s Fixtures Secretary, Alex Osbaldeston working with Shaun as a Commercial Manager and Nick Reynolds supporting Sean with club development.
The Club comprised a total of 19 teams this season, with each age group possessing at least one team, thereby leaving no gaps. The majority of teams played in the Surrey Primary League, with two teams at U13 and U16 playing in the Surrey Youth League. Our Under 6s impressed at the Chelsea FC Academy Fun Festival in October, while the U18 Hurricanes played a long-awaited Exhibition Match against Worplesdon Phoenix FC All Stars, the lads’ final appearance in a WRFC shirt. Overall, it was a respectable Club performance out on the pitch, with the following highlights:
- The U10 Scorpions were Winners of the SPL Intermediate Cup
- U16 (SPL) won the SPL U16 Junior League Trophy
- U18 Hurricanes came Runners-Up in the U18 SPL League Cup Final
- Four out of nine senior teams finished in the top half of their division by season end
Membership peaked at 264 and financially, the efforts of the previous few seasons really paid off, with the Club achieving just short of a 100% collection rate on revenues and turning in its largest- ever surplus, for reinvestment back into future club development activities. Once again, the season ended with the Club’s AGM on 5th June 2017, followed by Trophy Day, held once again at Fairlands Hall, on 11th June 2017.
The 2017-18 season started with a number of new committee members.
For the mini-soccer age-groups our partnership with Woking FC continued after a very successful first year.
The U7 All-Stars formed with Andy Smith as manager.
The U9s expanded from 1 team to 2 with the formation of the Pirates, managed by Fraser Horne.
At U14 we said goodbye to Dan Wheatley, who stepped-down as manager. The team was on the verge of folding, until “Binnie” Binfield came out of retirement to take over the team. Initially training and playing matches with 8 players, the team battled through the season, gradually growing in numbers and winning a number of matches.
The U17s were runners-up in the U17 Trophy, having reached their second successive Trophy final. Nick and Noff decided to step down at the end of the season.
There were not sufficient numbers to make the U18 viable which meant that the team folded. This meant saying goodbye to Richard Angus, who had served as Manager and Secretary of the club over a number of years.
In terms of venues, the club signed up for a new venue, with U9s and U11s training and playing at Weyfield Primary Academy.
In a further effort to develop the coaching side of the club, Angel Aburto (Manager of the U8 Wolves) arranged for the younger clubs to play Futsal.
A very successful end-of-season awards ceremony brought the season to a close.