Upon writing to wish you all a very Happy Christmas, I want to take the opportunity to sincerely thank everyone involved with our football club for the support, dedication, hard work, and commitment shown during 2022. From Coaches, Committee, fantastic sponsors, loyal parents, and every one of our amazing youth footballers – we are one incredible football family.
Coming out of lockdown and getting our football club ready to make it through 2022 and a new season, whilst facing new challenges on how we were able to deliver all that we wanted to, was a difficult and complicated task. We are incredibly lucky to have such a focused and driven Coaching Team and Club Committee – each and every one of them is a volunteer. Without them, the existence of our football club and all that we have achieved this year would not have been possible. The hours upon hours poured into the running of our football club and the preparation that goes into delivering training sessions and matches go unseen, and often unmentioned, and for that, I just want to say thank you to everyone involved.
Early 2022 saw the closing stages of the 21/22 season with all of our teams developing and making progress. Without exception, all of our Players should be immensely proud of their achievements. Special mentions go to our (as they were then) U16 Red Team for making it to the final of the Mid-Sussex Youth Football League Plate Competition, to our U16 Black Team for winning the Horsham & District Youth Football League Plate Competition, to our U12s for winning the Mid-Sussex Youth Football League Plate Competition and to the U9 Red team who won the Crawley & District Youth Football League Knockout Cup Competition.
Off the pitch, we were awarded Grassroots Club of the Year in the England Football Grassroots Football Awards, with the award visiting each school in Maidenbower, and were nominated for a Community Engagement Award with Sussex Sports. We continued to deliver our sports nutrition programme, Player Pathway Initiative, ran a Careers in Sports workshop with Brighton & Hove Albion FC, held our first whole club Registration Day at Crawley Town Football Club, and hosted the first ‘open to all’ Sussex Goalkeeper Camp with Everton’s Asmir Begovic’s GK Academy. This was a fantastic success, seeing players join us from as far afield as Bristol! We hosted Henry Smith MP at a training session, and he is now helping to navigate the sourcing of future funding whilst he also made a personal donation to our club. We hosted Hunter Orrell, owner of Crawley Town FC, at one of our training sessions as we look to strengthen ties with the club. We have very proudly launched our first Pan Disability Youth Football Team, which will commence in January and will eventually enter into the Sussex Disability Football League. We are really very excited by this. It’s a brilliant opportunity to broaden our reach within our community and fits so well with our club’s ethos of ‘football for all’.
Whilst the last few weeks of the 22/23 season have been massively frustrating, first with waterlogged pitches and then frozen or snow-covered pitches, we are really looking forward to the second half of the season as we enter our football club’s 25th anniversary year. 2022 has seen a change within the operation of our football club whilst we have worked together to strengthen who we are, what we are about, and how we strive towards delivering the best grassroots football experience to our football family and our local community.
I am genuinely excited for our 25th anniversary year and beyond proud to be a part of this remarkable grassroots football club.
From everyone at Maidenbower Colts FC, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year.
Proud to be Colts