May 2017

My May Chairman’s newsletter, which is my last, brings with a brief round-up of events as a hectic season draws to a close.

National Finals

The National Finals, once again, have been a huge success.  They provided  a ‘shop window’ for finalists to demonstrate their skills in the safe,  well planned, unique environment that only the ESFA can provide for young players.  I would like to add my personal thanks, to many other similar comments, to members of the Competition’s Department in Stafford, for their hard work and continued attention to detail in the staging of these events.  I hope they have been a truly memorable occasion for all finalists?

Rain did stop play for the final two matches during the PlayStation Schools’  Cup Finals at Derby County however, with one rescheduled match (u15 boys) being played on 22nd May at West Bromwich Albion, where Sandwell Academy were 4-2 (AET) victors over Nene Park Academy.  The other affected match, Rossett School v St Ivo in the u14 Schools’ Cup for girls, will be rescheduled after half term.  A full round-up of finals will appear in the next edition of Membership Matters, whilst detailed match reports can be found on the Competitions section of the ESFA website.

International Success

Colleagues will be aware that the under 18 Boys’ International Team were joint winners of the Centenary Shield (SAFIB don’t recognise goal difference as a means of differentiation otherwise England would have been crowned outright champions as a result of their superior goal difference). I am delighted to inform you that to add to this success, one of the ESFA’s  under 18 goalkeepers in the squad,  Aidan Stone from Wolgarston School in Staffordshire, has signed a professional contract with Premier League Club Burnley.  Further information concerning International Team success/news can be found in a series of interviews, conducted by Andy Williams (Ex ESFA U18 Team Manager and North Regional Council Member) with International team managers, past and present, in the News section of the ESFA website.

In the Allen McKinstry Boys u14 Schools’ Cup, played at the University of Swansea Sports Ground, the competition was won by Scotland. Thomas Telford School, representing England, finished 3rd.

Long Service Awards

I recently had the honour of presenting colleagues with awards, recognising their service to Schools’ Football.  In three presentations held at Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City and Everton FC the total number of years of service recognised added up to 1,070 years.  The following are to be again congratulated for their contribution to Schools’ Football:



Royal Garden Party

Owen Aiston, Stuart Inger (accompanied by his wife Angie) and myself represented ESFA at the first Royal Garden Party of 2017, at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 16th May.  In an introduction to HRH, The Duke of Edinburgh, he was as witty as ever in recognising that all three of us had not played football for some time!

Annual General Meeting

The ESFA AGM this year will take place on Saturday 25th November at the Beacon Centre in Stafford with an indicative programme (TBC) of

Repton School Coaching Course

Places are still available for the Repton Summer Coaching Course.  Boys – 19th – 23rd August; Girls – 21st- 23rd August.  More details are available from the ESFA website and the last edition of Membership Matters.


Council vacancies still exist in the North, the Midlands and the South West. Although the deadline for nominations has passed, please contact a Council Member in your region if you feel you could fill one of these vacancies.

Pitch-side Medical Care

Pitch-side medical care is an extremely important issue.  Sadly though, it is one which, for many reasons is often overlooked.  It would seem appropriate therefore, to draw Colleague’s attention to the ESFA’s website article on Medical Care, found under the coaching tab of the resources section of the website. It gives some guidance on the importance of having the resources to deal with problems which may occur.  A reminder too that The FA has specific medical courses available, and details can be found here:

Owen Aiston

To-date the ESFA Vice Chairman has been formally introduced to the meeting/Membership as Chairman of the Association at the end of the AGM.  This year, as indicated, as the AGM will take place in November (after the start of the 2017-18 season) Owen Aiston will assume the role of Chairman following the Council meeting on 24th/25th June.  Many colleagues will know Owen from Prudhoe in Northumberland.

And finally……

It has been a great honour to represent the ESFA at various functions and events throughout the year. I hope that I have been able to continue the fine tradition of the Association.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank colleagues for the warm welcome I’ve received during my travels as Chairman during the season and again thank all teachers and adults, involved in Schools’ Football, for their continued hard work, allowing so many young people to enjoy ‘the beautiful game’.