Grassroots football: local lockdown update

Manchester FA have released a statement regarding local lockdowns, agreed upon by all North West CEOs. All club secretaries need to be aware of changes implemented by the government and how that affects league fixtures.

It will affect any clubs moving in or out of Tier 3 areas, prohibiting adult clubs or individuals from moving in or out of these regions or local authorities to participate in football matches.

The full statement can be found in the following link. https://www.manchesterfa.com/news/2020/oct/16/joint-north-west-statement

Weekly update: important information on Covid, fixtures, and registrations

This week’s update includes vital information in the context of the coronavirus and the wider restrictions that could potentially be announced this week. All clubs have a duty to act responsibly so that grassroots football can continue at this difficult time.

  1. Fixtures up to and including the 24th October are showing on Full Time. Grounds are still unavailable. If your ground becomes available, please notify Graham Ellis and Malcolm Kershaw fixtures@landc.org.uk. Malcolm is first point of contact for any fixture matter.
  2. Please use the new instructions for match sheets, referee reports and referee confirmation/payment on this page – https://landc.org.uk/secretary-reference/. A photo or scan of your matchsheets is to be emailed to matchsheets@landc.org.uk. The referee payment instructions have been updated, as per the email during the week.
  3. In line with our policy of assisting clubs financially, in addition to waiving of 20-21 fees, and noting the late start to the season, the first tranche of registrations this year are not going to be invoiced out to clubs until the end of November rather than the normal date of mid-October. Please note that the invoice will include any registrations from the second half of last season plus any other outstanding dues at that time.
  4. Clubs are reminded that at this time organised football has been allowed to continue as long as all Covid19 precautions are in place and followed. With Manchester on the brink of being classified a Tier 3 area, where all  grassroots football will be stopped, clubs should actively discourage supporters and spectators from attending to minimise the number of contacts being made. All attending must maintain social distancing

Matchday round-up: South Manchester win to go top of Premier Division

THE weather relented and the sun shone on another outstanding day with upsets and plenty of dramatic action in all eight divisions of the league.

Premier Division

It’s still all to play for in the Premier Division as South Manchester, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, are the new leaders after they scored the only goal of their game at Lancashire Amateur Cup finalists Milton.

Abacus Media are level on points with South after a comfortable 4-1 win hosting Dom Doyle.

But lurking with games in hand are non-playing Mellor with a 100 per cent record, and reigning champions Rochdalians who marked their first game of the season with a crushing 7-1 win at AFC Oldham.

Radclyffe were also impressive as they won their first outing this term in a goals-filled 6-3 success at Manchester Polonia.

The other game in the top flight ended with honours even as High Lane shared four goals with Irlam Tigers.

Division One

Division One looks to be equally competitive with no teams left with a 100 per cent record.

The game of the day was at Ten Acres Lane with an 11-goal thriller between Trafford United and North Walkden.

The socially distanced spectators were treated to an absolute humdinger and despite falling behind more than once, United rallied to win 6-5.

Birthday boy Ben Wordsworth put North Walkden to the sword with a first-half hat-trick as well as converting the winner after sublime interplay between Tom Groves and Martin O’Regan.

Nathan Bradley converted from 12 years before North Walkden put through their own net as Trafford stuck to the rule of six to claim the three points.

Ben Wordsworth was not available for comment on the easiest chance of the day which he blazed over the bar.

New boys De La Salle were very impressive with a big 9-1 win at Dukinfield Athletic to stay a point behind leaders Moston Brook who had a comfortable 5-1 win over Didsbury.

Hadfield stay in joint second spot with an emphatic 6-2 win over Signol OB and Newton put on a great display and keep an immaculate clean sheet as they ended Stretford Paddock’s bright start to the season with a fine 2-0 win.

Division Two

Old Stretfordians continue to dominate Division Two after a 4-2 win against Salford Vics reserves and the big-hitters were new team Shaw Athletic in an 8-2 romp at Rochdalians reserves.

Stoconians grabbed the derby spoils with a comfortable 5-1 defeat of Mellor reserves and Signol Athletic JFC triumphed over Oldham Vics by the same scoreline.

Division Three

Hattersley have made very promising start to life in the league and lead Division Three on goal difference with a game in hand on their two main rivals after dispatching Stoconians reserves 4-1.

Sale Amateurs had to work hard for a 4-3 win over Elton Lib Hargreaves to stay in second spot and there was another thriller at Village Manchester as they hosted Aldermere.

Village were slow out of the blocks and were hit by strikes from Peter Walster and Scott Kinsella.

But the second half was dominated by Village who reduced the arrears with a cracker from Daniel Hodgson and Aldermere were indebted to keeper Tom Shaw who pulled off a string of impressive saves to deny Village and keep his side 2-1 ahead to stay a point behind Hattersley.

Wythenshawe Wanderers were too hot for Hooley Bridge Celtic to handle as they cruised to a 6-0 win with goals from Eden Fallon (two), Henry Freeman, Warren Thompson, Jack Hoyland and Mark Lucas.

Division A

Moston Brook reserves were the hot shots in Division A with a 7-4 victory over Old Stretfordians seconds but they remain a point behind leaders AFC Stockport who won a close encounter with Parrs Wood Celtic by the odd goal in three.

Salford Storm won by the same margin at Chadderton Park and new boys Kartel were impressive in their first win of the season accounting for AFC Oldham reserves 5-2.

Division B

Division B leaders Aldermere reserves lost their 100 per cent record after being well beaten 4-0 by newcomers Salford Albion and local rivals Flixton JFC closed the gap on them to two points with a 3-1 win over Moston Brook thirds.

Bury Ams reserves were in the goals with a 5-3 win at Chadderton Cott reserves and Dukinfield Athletic reserves emerged with a 2-1 win in a close contest at Heaton Mersey.

Division C

The top two teams in Division C stay level on points after they both posted wins with Stockport Warriors on top by goal difference after a 4-1 win over Village Manchester reserves with Salford Storm reserves edging a 2-1 win over Oldham Vics reserves.

The other game in the division saw Staly Lions roaring as they kept their 100 per cent record with an emphatic 5-1 win over Stoconians thirds.

Division D

Greater Manchester FC continued their successful start in the league with a win but Deans reserves took them all the way before the leaders prevailed 2-1.

Irlam Tigers A dropped to vital points in a 3-3 deadlock with Moston Brook fourths to allow GMFC to overtake them, while Stoconians fourths and Rochdale Galaxy also shared the spoils in an entertaining six-goal encounter.

Urmston Town Vale are handily placed in third spot after a comfortable 4-1 win over Chadderton Park reserves.

A Tribute to Jim Edmundson

A Tribute to Jim Edmondson

By Keith Marsden

In the 1980’s we were frequently short of referees and so Jim, who was the League’s Referees Secretary, would often call on me to fill in at my club Bedians. The phone would go on Saturday morning, my daughter would answer it and then shout “It’s for you, Dad. It’s that man with the laugh” and I knew it was Jim. A very appropriate description of a lovely man.

His work as Referees Secretary was nothing short of amazing as there was no software to help him, no Internet, no email. He and his wife Margaret used to spend lots of hours on a Sunday assigning referees to matches and then handwriting postcards to all the referees and clubs informing them of the next Saturday’s appointments. His phone line was extremely busy too but there was never anything other than a cheerful answer, no matter what problem he was confronted with. Jim also kept huge ledgers recording the details of all the appointments and the marks awarded to referees for every game. These are now stored with the League’s historical records in Stockport Heritage Library.

Jim was my predecessor as League Chairman and once told me that he would be glad when I took over as he regarded himself as a “backroom boy”. That is a complete understatement and Stoconians know only too well of his immense contribution over so many years. His pots of tea at Hillcrest Road were legendary and he was a regular attendee at the Annual Dinner well into his nineties.  “The man with the laugh” will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Well known by all the current league committee and many club officials, Jim was an outstanding, dedicated servant to both club and league, and his legacy are the many successors following him to keep this wonderful game thriving.

Stoconians Announcement

We have posted this announcement this evening. The details have been made public in the Stockport Express today.

Jim Edmondson – R.I.P.

Stoconians FC are sad to announce the death of our Life President Jim Edmondson who passed away peacefully on 27th September 2020 aged 97.

Jim, affectionally known as “Mr Stoconian” has been involved with the club as a player, Secretary, Chairman, President and our first ever Life President. Jim is renowned for his famous after match cup of tea until his “retirement” at 90 years young.

Jim was involved with the L&C Committee as League President 1975-76, Vice Chairman 1990-95, Chairman 1995-97 and served around 20 seasons as Referee’s Secretary.

Jim’s funeral will be held at St Paul’s Church, Heaton Moor at 2.00pm on 12th October 2020 and is by invitation only. The family have asked for donations in Jim’s memory to The Alzheimer’s Society via https://www.memorygiving.com/jamesedmondson

The club wish to express our condolences to the family.

Rest In Peace Jim

Mark Cavanagh, Chairman, Stoconians FC

Goals galore in torrential conditions

Despite some horrendous weather, which fortunately came too late to cause many disruptions, this was a superb day for grassroots football with goals galore, some fantastic action and new teams in the league making an early impact in their respective divisions.

Premier Division

This was highlighted in the Premier Division which looks set to be an enthralling contest for the season ahead.

Irlam Tigers set the bar for the new teams in the division as they picked up their first win by 4-2 at Abacus Media.

They were inspired by a terrific solo opener from Jordan Byrne as he ran 60 yards with the ball then turned and clinically chipped the ball over the keeper.

Adding to this were strikes from Ben Christopher (two), and a penalty from Tyler Lee.

South Manchester also picked up their first win with an emphatic 5-1 cruise at Manchester Polonia.

The other two games were high-class thrillers with the honours shared as AFC Oldham drew 3-3 with an impressive Salford Vics and Milton shared eight goals with Dom Doyle in another great advert for the league.

Division One

New boys Stretford Paddock won their third successive game to move clear at the top of Division One as they accounted for Signol OB 3-1 in a tight encounter.

Their nearest challengers are the new-look Moston Brook who were comfortable 4-1 victors at Urmston Town JFC.

New team De La Salle are also in the mix with an excellent 5-3 win at high-flying Hadfield Athletic.

Picking up their first wins of the season were Trafford United, who had Rick Hulme, Aiden Bannon and Asad Kazim netting in a comfortable 5-1 win at Didsbury and Bury Ams had to work much harder for an exciting 4-3 win at Dukinfield Athletic.

Division Two

Old Stretfordians sit proudly at the top of Division Two as they kept up their 100 per cent record with a fine 6-3 win at Rochdalians reserves.

Chadderton Cott notched up their second win, scoring the only goal of their game with Bedians to stay in second spot with a game in hand on the leaders.

Mellor reserves enjoyed a 5-1 win over Salford Vics reserves to stay in touch with the top two but undoubtedly the game of the day saw Oldham Vics win by the odd goal in eleven hosting South Manchester reserves.

Division Three

It’s looking tight at the top of Division Three with leaders Elton Lib Hargreaves staying three points clear of four other teams after a comfortable 5-2 win over Stretford Paddock reserves.

Hattersley, another new addition to the L&C, look to be a big threat as they kept up their winning streak with a goals-filled 8-4 spectacular over Abacus Media reserves.

Joining them on six points are Sale Ams who flew out of the traps at Wythenshawe Wanderers with early strikes from David Sykes, Shinji Clements and hotshot Danny Harwood taking them through to a 6-1 win.

Aldermere beat Stoconians reserves 4-2 to join them on six points.

Hooley Bridge Celtic were celebrating after posting their first win of the season by 3-1 over Didsbury reserves and Woodhouses and Village Manchester ended locked on 1-1.

Division A

AFC Oldham reserves are on top of Division A after a hard-earned 3-2 win at title rivals AFC Stockport and they also have a game in hand over them.

Salford Storm also had to work hard for a 4-3 win over Milton reserves and Wilmslow-based Kartel opened their L&C account with a point in a very rare goalless draw at Old Stretfordians reserves.

Division B

In Division B the new Aldermere reserves continued their fine start to the season, posting their third win by 3-1 at Bury Ams reserves.

No problems for Hillgate who also have a 100 per cent record after cruising to a 5-0 win over Dukinfield Athletic reserves.

There was little between the teams in the other three games with Heaton Mersey having David Killilea and Warren Dawkins netting as they shared eight goals with Flixton.

Chadderton Cott reserves drew 1-1 with Irlam Tiger Rangers and Spurley scored the only goal of their game with Moston Brook thirds to stay in joint second spot with Hillgate.

Division C

Bury Ams thirds are clear leaders in Division C after running riot in a 5-1 win at Oldham Vics reserves.

There were 3-1 wins for Altrincham Hale against Govan Athletic and Didsbury thirds against Stockport Warriors.

Radclyffe reserves shared six goals with Salford Storm reserves and Stoconians thirds netted the only goal of their game with Village Manchester reserves.

Division D

Finally in the new Division D there was a real goalfest with new boys Greater Manchester AFC romping to an 11-0 win over Stoconians fourths and FC Bury Aces enjoying six of the best with a 6-0 win over Chadderton Park reserves.

But Irlam Tiger Rangers stay on top after picking up a gritty point in a 4-4 thriller against Urmston Town Vale.

Mellor Firsts and Stretford Paddock maintain their 100% starts

THE L&C AFL enjoyed a competitive second week which saw 33 fixtures completed across eight divisions, despite the postponement of 10 matches due to teams self-isolating. Malcolm Kershaw is doing an admirable job of rearranging fixtures at short notice, and the clubs are readily assisting.

Premier Division

In what looks like a highly competitive division, Mellor Firsts were made to work by Dom Doyle, edging a seven-goal thriller 4-3 to go top after two wins from two. Salford Vics are two points back in second place after a sensational individual performance from Joe Acton, who scored five in a 6-3 win at High Lane. Ben Rhodes netted a consolation brace for the hosts.

Abacus Media’s first game at their new home of Trinity HS ended in a 1-1 draw with South Manchester, who picked up their first point of the season, while Manchester Polonia and Irlam Tiger FC also couldn’t be separated, drawing 2-2.

Division One

Stretford Paddock lead the way in Division One after a fine comeback win against a very capable and lively De La Salle, who took the lead through Rob Cooke just after the half hour. The visitors to Stretford Paddock’s first ever home fixture had chances to extend their lead but were thwarted by goalkeeper Jonny Hart, who produced a string of fine saves in a man-of-the-match performance that gave the hosts the springboard to fight back through an equaliser from Cameron Watters just before the break.

Ronaldo Brown put Paddock ahead just after the restart and after and although they had to fight hard to preserve the slender advantage, Jacob Phillips struck in injury time to secure a 3-1 win.

Hadfield Athletic are hot on their heels, and maintained their 100% start to the season after a hard-fought 4-2 win over Trafford United, secured through an own goal and strikes from Billy Greenall, Dominic Wenner and Philip Whiteman.

Newton put last week’s narrow defeat behind them with a comprehensive 5-2 victory over Signol Old Boys, while Didsbury earned their first win of the season by thrashing Urmston Town 6-2.

The high-scoring afternoon in Division One was rounded off by Bury Amateurs and Moston Brook, who couldn’t be separated in a six-goal thriller.

Division Two

Old Stretfordians’ revival after relegation continued, as they cemented their place at the top of the table by hammering Oldham Vics 7-2. Chadderton Cott hit four without reply against Signol Athletic to move second, while Stoconians marked their first game this season with a 5-2 win over Shaw Athletic.

Mellor Seconds and South Manchester seconds opened their seasons with a 1-1 draw, while Bedians went down 2-1 at home to Salford Vics reserves.

Division Three

Hooley Bridge Celtic prop up the division after their second successive heavy defeat. They were sunk 6-0 by Stoconians reserves, who moved to the summit. Didsbury reserves and Stretford Paddock reserves shared the spoils in a highly entertaining eight-goal thriller, and Village Manchester opened their account for the season with an impressive 2-1 victory at Sale Amateurs.

Another new club Hattersley triumphed 3-2 away at Wythenshawe Wanderers in their first L&C game, and in the division’s other game, substitute Thomas Orr made the decisive contribution as Elton Lib Hargreaves edged out Aldermere 1-0 to move second.

Division A

There were only two games in Division A but Stockport Sats stay top after goals from Darren Walsh and Alex Dooley consigned Old Stretfordians reserves to a 2-1 defeat. In the other game, Deans Youth picked up their first win this term, beating Moston Brook reserves 4-2.

Division B

Aldermere’s newly-formed second team are enjoying their start in Division B, winning 5-0 over Moston Brook’s third team, taking them top with no goals against. Flixton Juniors follow in second place after their big 8-1 win at Dukinfield Athletic reserves. Salford Albion’s first match was another big away win – 7-3 at Bury Amateur reserves. Spurley Hey enjoyed their trip to AFC Oldham 3rds, with a 5-1 win taking them fourth in the table. Heaton Mersey and Chadderton Cott reserves cancelled each other out in their opening fixtures with a 2-2 draw in the other game.

Division C

AFC Stockport Warriors took the derby day spoils, hammering Stoconians third team 5-1 which leaves them rooted to the foot of the table, and in the division’s other game, Salford Storm reserves deservedly defeated Govan Athletic 3-0.

Division D

Greater Manchester FC recorded the L&C’s biggest win of the weekend by hitting double figures in a 10-1 win at Stoconians fourth team to mark the start of their season in style. All but one of the fixtures ended in an away win, with comprehensive victories for Irlam Tiger A, who triumphed 6-1 at Chadderton Park reserves, and Shaw Athletic reserves, who left FC Bury Aces with a 7-3 win.

Whalley Range A were narrowly defeated 2-1 by Moston Brook fourth team, and Deans Youth reserves are top of the league after their 5-1 rout of Rochdale Galaxy.

New L&C season gets underway

THE new amateur football season kicked off in the Lancashire & Cheshire AFL with a busy programme in their new setup of eight divisions.

Premier Division

The Premier Division now has five teams added from Division One and they had varied results with Manchester Polonia enjoying a close 2-1 win at last season’s title-hunters High Lane and AFC Oldham had a fine 4-2 win over South Manchester.

Mellor overcame Irlam Tigers 5-1 and Abacus Media had to work hard in a 2-1 win over Radclyffe AFC. Honours were even in a 1-1 deadlock between Lancashire Amateur Cup finalists Milton and Salford Vics.

Division One

Two new clubs making their debuts in Division One showed their qualities with Stretford Paddock winning 4-2 at Bury Ams and a thriller at Newton saw De La Salle emerge with a breathless 4-3 victory.

Hadfield Athletic were also in a close game with the restructured Didsbury FC winning by the odd goal in five.

Urmston Town began their season in style hosting Signol OB and after missing early chances they got their show on the road with a neat strike from Johnny Friel on 30 minutes to set up a comfortable 6-1 win.

Moston Brook’s new-look first team also began with a fine 6-3 win at Dukinfield Athletic.

Division Two

Old Stretfordians began life in Division Two, following relegation with a powerful 6-2 win over Santos and also in the goals were new team Shaw Athletic who trounced Oldham Vics 7-2. Bedians opened their campaign with an exciting 5-3 win at Signol Athletic JFC.

Division Three

Altrincham League champions Sale Amateurs began life in Division Three in an exciting game at their excellent facility hosting new team Woodhouses JFC and were inspired by a 25-yard grass cutter on 50 minutes from skipper David Sykes.

This was followed by clinical strikes from former Trafford FC record scorer Scott Barlow and Sale’s top scorer David Harwood to seal a 3-0 victory

Plenty of goals in the other games in the division with Abacus Media reserves beating Stretford Paddock reserves 4-1, Elton Lib Hargreaves triumphing 3-0 at Didsbury reserves, Aldermere sauntering to a 5-0 win at Hooley Bridge Celtic and Stoconians reserves defeating Wythenshawe Wanderers 4-2.

Division A

Plenty of thrills and spills in Division A led by a thrilling 6-5 victory for AFC Stockport over Chadderton Park. AFC Oldham reserves won 4-2 at Deans, a scoreline matched by Parrs Wood Celtic over Mellor thirds with the other game seeing a 1-0 win for Moston Brook reserves at Salford Storm.

Division B

There were some close encounters in Division B with wins for Moston Brook thirds by 1-0 at AFC Oldham thirds, Aldermere reserves by 2-1 in their local derby with Flixton juniors, Hillgate by 3-1 over Bury Ams reserves and Irlam Tiger Rangers by 4-2 at Spurley Hey.

Division C

In Division C, Village Manchester’s new reserve team put on a bright display against Govan with strikes from Rory McDonald, Nat O’Grady and Fernando Martens easing them home 5-0 with Radlyffe reserves also hitting five without reply against Stoconians thirds.

There were odd goal wins for Staly Lions by 2-1 at Oldham Vics reserves and Bury Ams A by 3-2 against Salford Storm reserves.

Division D

There were three games in the new Division D and they saw Deans reserves beat Shaw Athletic 4-2, Irlam Tigers thirds defeat Rochdale Galaxy 3-2 and Urmston Town Vale triumph 2-1 at Stoconians fourths.

Covid-19: important update for grassroots football

The CEO of Manchester FA, Colin Bridgford, has communicated this vital message to all clubs on the eve of the new L&C AFL season.

As you embark on a weekend of fixtures, I’m writing to you as CEO to inform you of local government updates that have been brought to my attention.  

With rising Covid-19 prevalence across Greater Manchester, the risk to the postponement of grassroots football is becoming increasingly prominent.  However, at this point in time there is a collective commitment locally to allow the game to continue in accordance with The FA’s guidance.

We must stress that in order for the game to continue for the benefit of the health and well-being of its participants, the relevant FA Return to Football Guidance must be strictly followed at all times; a comprehensive list of our guidance can be found here. Please be reminded that the FA guidance is only in place whilst in the football environment and as soon as this is finished local restrictions must be strictly adhered to. 

One of the key concerns being shared with me relates to Spectators; It is imperative that all Spectators maintain social distancing and government restrictions are always followed.  For absolute clarity, spectators must remain socially distanced and in discrete groups of no more than 6 and these groups must not mix under any circumstances.

Covid-19 legislation has been updated nationwide and should there be non-conformity to the governments restrictions then you will be subject to local enforcement orders and possible fines.

My plea to you is that leagues, clubs, parents, players, match officials and spectators all have a responsibility to keep our game safe. There is a significant threat and growing concern that football could be forced to suspend activity if we don’t play our part in adhering to the guidance.

We appreciate your ongoing support and ask that you remind all involved of their obligation to comply with the safety measures that are in place.  Please do view and share our short video that explains the guidance in place which can be found here.

Please enjoy your football and thank you for playing your part in keeping our communities safe.

Tireless planning ensures Lancashire & Cheshire AFL ready for new season

The new amateur football season is upon us, with the 2020/21 season in the Lancashire & Cheshire AFL set to begin on 19 September.

Optimism abounds, teams old and new ready to renew and begin rivalries across eight competitive divisions. New players, new tactics, new protocols and procedures, club committees and players allowing themselves to think of the possibilities of glory.

The smell of freshly-cut grass, the thud of a ball, the rattle of the goalpost, the ripple of the net, the ecstasy of a decisive strike, penalty save, goal-saving challenge, the agony of a mistake costing a goal, a missed gilt-edged chance, just or unjust dismissal and suspension.

All these emotions are taken for granted and, that we are in a position to experience – or suffer – them all again, is a testament to the herculean effort from the league and club organisers to ensure competitive football can take place.

Under normal circumstances, it takes a great deal of planning to get everything in place for the start of the season; but these are anything but normal circumstances. No precedent was in place to deal with the effects of a global pandemic, no amount of crisis management experience can begin to prepare for the challenges we the football community collectively have faced.

Yet here we are, on the eve of a new season, with football ready to be played. For the players, managers and clubs to be able to experience the highs and lows of the game, it has required an extensive amount of work to put everything in place. This work started the Monday after football was suspended way back in March, and continues now. The new experience of dealing with an unfinished season, holding general meetings online, writing risk assessments relative to the return of football, ensuring Covid-secure procedures in relation to contact, distancing and hygiene are ready, grounds without changing, but toilets available are all over and above the already onerous task list for the normal close season.

This year, with 20 potential clubs to be interviewed remotely, and 11 accepted, has been an ongoing task until well into August, due the enforced lateness of every aspect of preparation work.

Brian Davies, league secretary said “My busiest period of the year is normally the summer, and the work needs keeping on top of all the time. The extra work generated by making changes to the normal procedures due to Covid-19 has been phenomenal. There have been several key people on the league committee, and every club has its own heroes, who have worked very hard to be in a position to restart. Now we are finally there on the brink of the 112th L&C season, it is down to the efforts of all the unsung volunteers.”

In what has been a real boost to all existing clubs in the league, their fees have been waived for the forthcoming season, carried over from 2019/20, which is of real benefit.

The league committee and other officials had to juggle the extra challenges posed by Covid with the usual responsibilities, while ensuring everything was conducted in a safe way.

As usual, the L&C enjoyed lots of interest for the season. It has resulted in a number of clubs joining, and others adding extra teams. What was a seven-league, 82-team competition has become an eight-league, 94-team contest for the forthcoming season.

This process, understandably, takes time. Brian explained: “We go through a process of getting applications in, doing various background checks on the clubs and the people involved, interview them if we want to take it forward at that point, and then the results of the interview decide if we want to recommend them to members for them to vote the clubs in. It takes a lot of time up.”

Covid also meant delays to the structure of the league. This is because of “lack of clarity” regarding the number of teams for each club, as well as who would be playing and whether pitches were available.

A process that usually takes six weeks had to be compressed into a week, but thanks to the hard work of the fixtures secretary, Malc Kershaw, clubs were informed of league structure on 23rd August and fixtures by 10th September. This included a one week delay due to the FA systems being overloaded – every club and league official trying to complete their preparation work.

Making sure all clubs and facilities are Covid-ready has been a significant undertaking. This has involved Keith Marsden making sure all clubs appointed a Covid-19 Officer.

In terms of facilities, Brian added: “We had to gather far more information than normal on facility availability. With changing rooms being closed, we had to ensure toilets were available, this was collated by Graham Ellis. This process continues and will do so well into October.”

The diligence and organisation of the committee in the most trying of circumstances means the beautiful game is ready to resume in the L&C.