L&C AFL AGM set for 4 June

Club secretaries in the league have been sent details about the annual general meeting which is set to take place on Thursday 4 June at 7pm. Secretaries should be aware that the deadline for extending invitiations to other club members, and to submit questions, is 1 June.

As detailed below, the league has been trialling the most appropriate way to conduct the meeting in these unprecedented times, and Zoom is the preferred option.

The AGM on the 4th June will take place by video conference at 7 PM. Please note we have brought the start time forward by an hour from our normal general meeting start time of 8PM. This is to avoid clashing with the weekly ‘clap for carers’. The meeting will be available to join from 6:45, and will start at 7PM prompt. Attached to this email are the agenda, previous minutes, rule changes and ballot paper.

We successfully tested Zoom with Manchester FA on their licenced version (avoids timing out after 40 minutes), so we’ll be using Zoom and MFA will issue the invitations. Further, more detailed joining instructions will be issued to secretaries.

The invitations to attend will be sent to club secretaries, if secretaries want invitations to go to other club members, let me know by 1st June. Every club is expected to do their utmost to attend.

If you would like to submit questions in advance of the meeting, again let me know by the 1st June. There will be a facility to ask questions on the night.

Attendees will be logged, achieving a virtual roll call. All voting items are on the ballot paper which is to be sent in to me by 9AM on the 8th June, by email by club secretaries. The votes will be verified by MFA and the results declared soon after.

Flixton Juniors First doing their bit for the NHS

The players of Lancashire & Cheshire AFL outfit Flixton Juniors First have contributed to the coronavirus outbreak by raising £280 for the NHS.

The open age team have responded admirably to the cancellation of the amateur football season by insisting that rather than returning money that is paid to the club for matchday and training costs, the fees are redirected to this worthy cause.

Flixton were eighth in Division B when the season was halted, and not out of relegation trouble. But the club had put together a four-game unbeaten run in the league to build a five-point cushion between them and the bottom two.

With two games in hand and a much superior goal difference to the sides below, Flixton were well placed to secure survival and had even taken unbeaten league leaders Parrswood Celtic to a penalty shootout in the Whitehead Cup.

However, once it became apparent that the season’s fixtures would not be fulfilled, Flixton’s players displayed their compassion and care for their health service by generously giving their subs to the NHS.

Jordan Casey is the Assistant Manager of Flixton, and also plays for the club; it’s very much a family affair, as the club is managed by his Dad, Shay.

The 28-year-old explained how the club and its players rallied to support the health service.

He said: “We pay a £35 a month standing order which all of the players pay. That covers all our training, all matchdays, referee costs, and everything that comes in that. The lads get training gear, tracksuit tops. Everybody is happy to pay this each month.

“Obviously when coronavirus hit, the league was cancelled about halfway through March, so we thought as a gesture of goodwill to our lads, we’d offer about £20 back, to say we’ve had £15 of training and matches so far, so we thought it’d be a nice bit of goodwill to give them all £20 back.

“One of the lads actually came back straight away and said could we donate his £20 to charity, which we thought was a great idea. So we put a message out to the other lads, and the others said the same, we’ll give it to charity. We agreed on the NHS and it ended up as a £280 donation.”

There’s clearly a deep spirit within the Flixton ranks; although the team have been playing for the club for just two seasons, the players have been together for much longer. The move was also part of the vision of Shay and Jordan to bring players through from junior, right the way to open age football.

Jordan explained: “I’ve been playing open age football for over 10 years now. We started with a local team that we moved straight into from junior football. At the age of 16, there was a group of our u-16 team – about 14 of us – wanted to go open age rather than youth team football. We started as kids in an adult league and it’s something me and my Dad looked to carry on. My brother has just turned 21 and when all his mates turned 16, we took them into open age.

“They played for the team we were playing for at the time, and about four years ago, we moved to Flixton.

“The team we were at didn’t have any junior team, it was a standalone, open age team. We moved to Flixton where a few of the lads, including my younger brother, played there as juniors. It was good for him and my Dad to give back, as an open age team.

“We originally started off on our own as a standalone group of lads just wanting to play football and get into a league and have a bit of a laugh together.

“The club has been great. They have around 28 teams including juniors and women’s team. There are other plans that when the other lads get to 16, they can look at training with open age team or looking at a reserve team, and there are big hopes with the club that we can build it the same way I did 10 years ago.”

And how are the players responding to the challenges of lockdown? Doing their best to remain connected with fellow teammates but, like much of the amateur football community, the absence of games is being felt.

Jordan added: “We have a Whatsapp group with all the lads, trying to keep fit, posting our runs in there, but ultimately we’re just missing football.”

Flixton though, can be proud of its players and their contribution to the NHS in response to the crisis.

Signol ready to celebrate 40 years

SIGNOL FC is one of Stockport’s top junior and open age clubs and is looking forward to celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2021.

The club is named after its founder Anne Signol, who is a very prominent member of the local community and is known as the Founder and Head Physiotherapist (MACP, MCSP, HCPC, FMHA, MBRAC, KHT) at The Signol Centre – one of the longest established physiotherapy and acupuncture practices in the Stockport area.

Anne has always played an active role in the community and also owns The Signol Community Centre, which has been part of the Romiley community for many years; the building has a lot of history and dates back to 1820.

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Anne has always wanted the centre to play an active role within Romiley, and it’s used for many different classes from Art to Zumba. 

In her own words Ann describes how Signol football Club was initially started:

“I was a physiotherapist at Stockport Infirmary treating asthmatic children. At the time the procedure was for the children to be treated once a week to aid their breathing and improve the lung capacity.

“Once a week didn’t seem enough, so as I owned the Signol centre gym in Romiley, I got them to go to the gym for half an hour each evening to practice the exercises I had given them including using various equipment to increase their muscle strength and coordination.

“On Saturday they had to show me what they had done so that I could note their progress, one hot June the boys were fed up as the girls were dancing and doing gymnastics so I took them to the park with a football for a kickabout and that was it John Wyatt whose mother Val worked with me said he would train the boys and they could play friendlies.

“The children chose the name Signol Athletic and the team was born in 1980. The problem was we had no equipment.  I put a cardboard box in the hall and patients whose children had grown out of their boots donated them, so we had boots.

“A patient of mine manufactured track suits for the league football teams in Pear Tree mill and he said he would donate track suits for the team, as I was working with Malcolm Allison at Manchester City on a project of prevention of injuries and improvement of performance he put a Manchester City down the sleeves, we felt very smart.

“In 1981 Brian Malpas took over the team and in a short while he turned it from a team into Signol Athletic Junior Football Club.

“He developed it into a very successful club with the aid of managers Stuart Kelly, John Brereton, Vic Womack, Tony Whiteside, Phil Norbury, Allan Mellor and his right-hand man Liam Gately.

“In 1990 they won the league title in the Stockport Metro League and in 1990 they also went to Amsterdam on a trip with 30 footballers and eight adults taking part coming back with a winner’s trophy. The team had been to Amsterdam several years before.

“To fund the trips, several events took place, such  five-a-side competitions and I raised a lot of money putting on Variety Shows at the Romiley Forum using the children and various sponsored swims.

“Every year in the summer we took the boys for a week’s holiday to the caravan park in Rhyl and together with Jeff Ryan, Marple’s football coach, they organised everything.

“We hired John Evans, a football coach from Wrexham, to train the boys every morning at the Rhyl Sports Centre, and in the afternoons they played five-a-side with a grand final on Friday afternoon. 

“For several years we held Sportsmen’s dinners at Quaffers, Bredbury with Guest Speakers Tommy Docherty, Bill Foulkes, Paddy Crerand, Denis Law and comedian Ivor Davies .

“Brian Malpas was chairman from 1981 to 1998 and then Dave Parsonage took over and he and his team have done a marvellous job.

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“I can’t thank them enough I am so proud of you all, it’s an amazing achievement and to see Danny Bowden who joined the club at four managing the open age team and the boys who are now working Stockport Schools teaching football skills to the pupils – it’s very special to me and I thank you all.   “Here’s to a party in 2021 when Signol Athletic will be 40!“

Signol official Gill Bowden takes over the Signol story: “The club has grown considerably from those early days described by Anne, now providing teams from under 7s to open age. The club allows boys and girls in the area to play football and be coached in a caring, safe and respectful environment, whatever their ability, gender or race.”

“In 2009 the club only provided for teams up to Under 16s and at that point Gordon Bowden, then the manager of the Under 16s team spoke to the club and requested that the team be able to enter into the Stockport Metro Under 17/18’s league for the 2010/11 Season. The following year Gordon requested that he take the team to play in an Open Age League, the club agreed that an open age team could be formed if the team was run separately to the junior club.

“Gordon had run the team for the prior 11 years and his son Daniel had played for Signol since he was four years old. 

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“Daniel was refereeing in the Lancashire and Cheshire League and Gordon usually watched his games, he was impressed with the standard of teams and organisation of the League and as he had played in the league many years before he approached the League in 2011 with a request to enter his team.  “The Lancashire and Cheshire League accepted the team and placed them in division three and after six years the team reached the Premier Division, with a reserve team in Division A and a third team in Division B run by Daniel Bowden who at this point had stopped refereeing due to injury. 

“Unfortunately, the Premiership seemed a step too far and after just one season the first team folded, the remaining two teams continued for a further year in their respective divisions and then went their separate ways.

“Daniel’s team continued and some of the original first team players returned, and Signol Old Boys was created run by both Daniel and Gordon with the League placing them in Division One for season 2019-20.

“Signol Athletic were placed in Division Three where they have enjoyed a great season until the lockdown.

“They have lost just one league game and are well clear in second place in the table behind Chadderton Cott and I will be delighted if they secure promotion to keep up the proud tradition of our club.

 “Anne Signol is a wonderful lady who never asks for any thanks. The football club is a very small part of what she has provided to the community over the years, she has raised funds for a great many children’s charities by writing books and putting on Pantomime performances. 

“Thank you for this legacy, Anne, from everyone you have touched over the years.”

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L&C AGM to go ahead via video conference

The L&C has confirmed that the pre-planned AGM will still go ahead, but via video link. This latest update also contains important information about the future of cup competitions for 2019/20, as well as important information when planning training or friendlies.

  1. The 2020 AGM was already planned for 4th June, and with uncertainty as to when we will be able to hold any conventional meetings, we will hold the event over video conference.
  2. From a list of potential software to deliver this we have two new shortlisted possibilities : Zoom and Microsoft Teams. It would obviously make sense to use the one which more clubs are familiar with. Could you let me know which you have experienced, if either? Both require software to be downloaded. Another possible solution is the FA Webex system.
  3. The deadline we set for a decision on whether we play the season 19/20 cups to conclusion was set at 31st May for two reasons – teams will need time to prepare, and we would not want to impact on the main family holiday season. Also we think that if any team feel unable to play (when it is deemed safe by government and FA) we would scrap that cup for all. We will defer the decision until the end of this month as we are no clearer now than in March.
  4. Any training or plans for friendlies must be provisional pending FA clearance.
  5. Information has been issued for possible funding streams available – take advantage whilst they are available.

Clubs may qualify for “Small Business Grant”

It has come to our attention that football clubs may be eligible for a water payment holiday or “small business grant.”

If you pay business rates and at the beginning of March were claiming Small Business Rates Relief,  you can apply for a “Small Business Grant” of £10,000.  This is non-refundable and the application is a very simple process. You will need your business rates reference and go on to your local authority website, enter this reference number and the club’s bank details. The Grant is then paid direct.

If your club pays water bills, an application can be made by filling in a short form on the supplier’s website.

Any queries please contact Treasurer Phil Faulkner. His direct mobile is 07957 883165, and email is treasurer@landc.org.uk

Spurley Hey awarded ‘game-changing’ grant

SPURLEY Hey FC have been proud and supportive members of the Lancashire and Cheshire AFL since they joined in 2001 and have fielded up to three open age teams with varying degrees of success over the years.

They are also a very successful junior club and one of their long-term aims has been to develop their own facility at Warth Meadow to a much higher standard.

Their secretary Dave Jameson, who is a Past President of the L&C has a great announcement to make following the successful application for a grant from the Football Foundation.

Dave said: “We are delighted to share the news that Spurley Hey FC have secured a total grant of £20,160 from the Football Foundation for a long-term maintenance programme to improve the pitch facilities at Warth Meadow.

“To secure this investment the club has also committed a total of £10,000 over a ten-year period toward the project.

”This will mean that over the next ten years the club will invest an average spend of £3,000 per year on much-needed pitch improvements at the home of Spurley Hey,”


Club Chairman Lee Preston described the grant as a ‘game-changer’: “The club would like to thank the Football Foundation for its investment into the Warth Meadow investment project, which will breathe a new lease of life into the facility.

“It’s a real reward for the dedicated club volunteers who put in countless hours trying to improve the pitches which at times can be a thankless task.

“This will also help provide a significant improvement to the pitch quality which I know will bring a huge sigh of relief to our teams and coaches who play at Warth Meadow.

“This season’s weather has been one of the worst for many years and for much of the season Warth Meadow has been unplayable, causing a huge frustration for players, parents and coached alike.

“This grant is a real game-changer for the club and sets us on the way to deliver the huge ambitions we have to turn Warth Meadow into a vibrant community football facility for the residents of Stockport. “I would also like to thank the club’s amazing volunteers who have stayed with us through this difficult season and with this investment we can look forward to a brighter future for the club.”

Planning for 2020/21 season underway

With the 2019/2020 season cancelled, the L&C has turned its attention to the 2020/2021 football season and have set out the following guidance for all club secretaries.

We are now ready to receive information from you on your intentions for your club. Anyone leaving should have informed us by 31st March, so if you have not already please let us know now.  If any first teams leave us it is likely to be from the premier division, this will create an uplift throughout all divisions to fill the gaps above.

If the number of teams you wish to run is different to 19-20, let us know.

With the possibility of teams leaving, and four new clubs joining us, it is inevitable there will be restructuring of the divisions, which has become a yearly event.

If you have a request for a particular division, please let us know. We do our best to accommodate requests, however with the general request being downward, it is not always possible to.