UBFC COVID 19 UPDATE….AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF BIG PLANS FOR NEXT SEASON
It feels a bit like Boris preparing his Daily Briefing, except hopefully we won’t have Laura (when will lockdown end so I can buy more posh coats) Kuenssberg asking the same question every time, and Piers Morgan climbing all over us !
6 weeks into lockdown with no football action and our Leagues declared null and void. Regrettably, in the last week we have had to take the decision to also cancel 2 upcoming events.
The UBFC Annual Awards Evening planned for May has had to be cancelled, and the Club has decided with the Season ending prematurely with over a quarter of League fixtures and important Cup games not being played it will not be making Annual Awards for this season. While Leagues are null and void, the games that took place will count towards all Club Appearances and Goals player career stats.
In addition, this week we have had to make the decision to cancel the 6 a side Youth tournament scheduled for 13 June, and we will be refunding all the entry fees to Clubs that had entered. With the CMOs recent guidance on prolonged social distancing, there was simply no prospect of a gathering of nearly 500 people in UBMF anytime in 2020.
In the last month, the pitches have been verti-drained, fertilised, over seeded, and the goal areas repaired, and with this weeks rain it is already looking in exceptional condition ready for next season. Once again, our thanks to the Parish Council for their support and generosity in contributing towards the cost of the remedial work.
Everything is set for a start to pre season training on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 16 June at UBMF, with preseason friendlies scheduled from July. These are very provisional dates at this stage, and any resumption will be driven by Government, The FA, Sussex FA and UB Parish Council guidance as to when it is safe to do so. Personally, It is highly unlikely that 30/40 lads running around training at UBMF will be possible as soon as that, and we will prepare for preseason to be squeezed into a shorter time frame.
With this in mind, we have plans for hosting Preseason tournaments at UBMF for 4 invited Clubs over 3 weekends, involving our 1sts, Reserves and Under 18s, to provide a programme of intense friendlies over a short period in the build up to the date when League season’s for each are confirmed. At this stage, those dates of necessity have to be flexible. There will be other midweek friendlies scheduled, and under 13s friendlies at UBMF from mid August.
PLANS FOR NEXT SEASON
We will be running new teams to include Under 18s, a proper Vets set up and further Junior teams. We are pleased to confirm that Dan Fuller-Smith will be managing an Under 18s team playing in the highly competitive SCFL Youth League at UBMF on Sunday mornings, and he has been busy recruiting a management and coaching team and players, and putting together a programme of preseason training and friendlies. We see this as critical to sustaining a pathway of players into senior football. A very warm welcome to all involved.
Our Reserves are likely to be playing in the WSXFL Premier Division next season with Jamie Parsons again committing to managing the side , and our successful under 13s group under Matt Higgins and Jamie Plummer in the Horsham Youth League. They will be moving to play their matches on a Saturday morning on the main pitch. We will also be expanding our under 11s and under 10s teams following the excellent progress made under Andy and John. With all these teams playing at UBMF, the pressure on the pitch and facilities was becoming a real issue, and something had to give.
Our 1sts have become fully established in SCFL/ County League Div 2 over the last 5 seasons, and were Sussex Intermediate Cup Finalists in 2019. We were on target for our best ever position, top 2, and our best ever points tally when the season was curtailed. A mix of the League being declared null and void and the FA Ground Grading regulations meant any chance of promotion was fantasy. In the current climate, there is no prospect of us being able to upgrade with Floodlights and 50 seater stands anytime in the foreseeable future.
The Club has the ambition to go to the next level. We are confident we have in Jamie and Tom the management team and squad of players to be able to hold our own, and the structure to sustain that progress if we can achieve promotion in the next few seasons.
GROUNDSHARE AGREEMENT WITH STEYNING TOWN FC
We are pleased to confirm that we have put in place a Groundsharing Agreement with Steyning Town FC from the start of the season to play all our 1st team League and Cup home games at the excellent 3G facility at the Birchwood Ground, Shooting Field. This will position us to develop our performances, and attract and recruit the quality of players to be competitive with a view to securing promotion in the future. We will be making announcements about strengthening the management and coaching set up, and yes we want to recruit players who share our values and ambition to join us on what promises to be an exciting journey.
Steyning Town FC through their Chairman Ian Nicholls and Woody have been excellent in offering their full cooperation and support with this ground breaking initiative.
“Steyning Town Chairman Ian Nichols added “ on behalf of the club I am delighted to welcome Upper Beeding to the Birchwood Ground at Shooting Field. We are really pleased that we have been able to help our friends from over the river achieve their aim of promotion”
We have been made to feel like partners with a shared vision for developing football in our community, rather than a landlord/ tenant relationship. We will be working hard to maintain our own identity with a ‘Beeding match day experience’ in terms of banners, signage and hospitality. We are extremely grateful for their commitment and enthusiasm for this development. The Clubs are less than 2 miles a part, and for Councils, Funders and Planners to ever agree another facility was never likely to happen.
We have worked hard over the last month to secure grants, donors, sponsors to have a financial model that already has the cash reserves to cover the outlay of this development and so it will be all systems go to make the dream a reality.
Exciting times ahead.
C’MON BEEDING !!!
Dave Rowland, Secretary, UBFC