When the last ball of the season is kicked, many a well-wisher risks permanent disability by idly saying to an official of a semi-pro football club "Well, I bet you're looking forward to a nice rest now". At Sutton we are very lucky, we have lots of volunteers on the Board and Commitee to share the duties but, even so, preparations for the end of season dinner signal the start of the real work for the admin team, especially with a manager who keeps you on your toes like Mr Doswell !
This year Dos really had his act together though. KES, AJ and BWG had re-signed by the night of the dinner and with the play-off disappointment still thick in the air, he had called me on Monday to name the new players I had to contact and sign up for 2010/11. There were six names on that list and we had five deals done inside a week. Dos agrees the terms and then it's our job to complete the paperwork. Richard Jolly and Tom Davis were free-agents so that was straightforward. Kennedy Adjei was a long-term loan and AFC Wimbldeon did most of the leg-work for me on that one. Fola Orilonishe and Sam Page were a delight to deal with, although having secured their signatures we then had to agree Bosman compensation fees with their clubs. That dragged on a bit because of holidays and I will admit to being mildly irritated by comments that we had announced the deals before they were complete. As you all know, I go to the other extreme and won't anounce a signing until the paperwork is in my hand with the ink still wet - I've seen too many deals fall through at the last minute - maybe there is still misunderstanding about how the Bosman rules apply. And, of course, I also had to ensure that our own retained list was submitted to the FA on time, especially important this year as we knew that Sam and Sonny would probably be moving on.
So, I went on holiday in early June with much of the work already complete, having also completed the paperwork for Craig Dundas to return. My other big task this summer has been to help pull together the team running the Football Development Plan, for which I have been appointed Executive Officer, highlighting the folly of missing the directors' meeting where that decision was taken ! To be fair, my main role moving forward should be as the link between the FDP and the Board, allowing decisions to be taken without waiting until the next directors' meeting. Tony Henderson-Smith has the harder day-to-day job, as FDP Officer, and several of us enjoyed a couple of evenings interviewing the candidates for the various FDP roles, all of which were filled, and I have to say we are very pleased with the calibre of person stepping forward to take on these tasks. The most familar name to many of you will be Andy Iga, our former goalkeeper, whose infectious personality and enthusiasm make him ideal for the role of Schools' Liaison Officer. Full details of the team can be found on the FDP pages of this site.
So back to England in time for the big game against Germany. I wish I'd stayed on holiday ! Fortunately Bruce had taken responsibility for discussions with Fulham and, as I said, we have lots of other willing volunteers who spend their summers arranging sponsorship, repairing the ground, sorting out the kit and filling in the myriad of forms needed to rubber-stamp our appearance in all the different competitions from the FA Cup to the Surrey Under-18s Midweek Cup. I have to say that I am very grateful to have passed those duties on to the current Hon Sec, and Mr Mills and I met up this morning for the training sesison at Priest Hill. Don't worry, Dos hasn't asked us to dig out our old boots, it was simply to get yet more paperwork completed. Gerard was capturing everyone's signature on Ryman League registration forms and I was there to complete the contract for Simon Downer (see, I told you I only announce things once I'm certain). That's probably it as far as new signings go, although with Dos I have learned never to say never, but of course we now have to make fairly rapid preparations for the visit of Paul's beloved Southampton. On top of that the new FDP team meets for the first time on Monday and on Wednesday about two dozen of us will attend a Surrey FA Safeguarding Children course. Oh, and I've got a meeting on Tuesday with the architect drawing up the provisional plans for the possible redevelopment works for Collingwood Rec.
Someone at work recently asked me whether I enjoy all of this. Daft question really !!