Welcome ladies and gentleman, fellow members and Life Members of the East Brighton Football Club and all of our sponsors, with special mention to our Major Sponsor again for 2016, Brighton Holden.
This report endeavours to provide a summary of activities and outcomes pertaining to the 2016 SFNL Season – Division 1 Senior Men’s Football and Div 4 Senior Women’s Netball.
This year has without doubt been the toughest year that the Club has endured in my 24 years at Senior Level. It has been widely discussed and reported throughout the year, the challenges that needed to be met. These include, but are not limited to:
- Facility redevelopment – no Home games or physical facility to call Home commencing in pre-season (pre-Christmas 2015)
- Training facilities or lack there-of
- Exodus of Senior Playing List (20+ players) due to better offers from other Clubs, disengagement due to not being paid, disengagement due to lack of facilities, retirement
- Lack of Player numbers to field 3 sides
- Limited revenue raising capabilities
This year saw the appointment of Peter Larsen as Senior Coach after a stellar career as a player, a Premiership player at that here at East Brighton. Ozzy’s ‘can-do’ attitude, working with extremely low numbers on the track and making something out of nothing at times, was more than commendable. Same can be said for Mark Backman (Senior Assistant Coach), and Jason Tickner (also a past Premiership Player 2002) who returned to East Brighton this year to head up the combined U19 side with Bentleigh.
Mike Paxman also displayed an incredible degree of flexibility and resilience as he tackled the role as a playing assistant coach with the EB Bentleigh Vampires. More on this.
By way of summary of this Bentleigh arrangement, In mid-March 2016, the SFNL alerted the Club that if we were unable to field a full Reserve Grade side each week, then the Club could not compete in the SFNL in 2016 at any level. What ensued was fast and collaborative, where a community based alliance with Bentleigh FNC was created. The EB Bentleigh Vampires was established, a Reserve Grade Team that would play curtain raisers to our Senior side each week. The reverse benefit for Bentleigh was that Jason Tickner agreed to take on a merged Under 19 outfit to ensure the kids at Bentleigh got a game of football on a Saturday as well.
I am extremely grateful to Mark Backman for that late night call which led me to being extremely grateful to Paul Dimmatina for helping facilitate what was a one-off win-win scenario. The EB Bentleigh Vampires played in a Final – the first Reserves appearance in 24 Years.
As the year progressed, new talent emerged with a significant number of Under 19 Players debuting in the Seniors, which meant the Seniors could list 22 starters, but often meant the Under 19’s were under done. This strategy could only have worked with willing participation, often some players playing 3 quarters in the Under 19’s then with the Seniors at 2.10pm.
The appointments of Larsen and Tickner supported our strategy of having qualified football operators, with exceptional Communication Skills and experience to take us forward. Having people who have more than tasted success in their playing careers, will drive high performance, cohesion, on-field and off-field results.
Widdop Reserve was offered as the preferred Home Game venue by BCC which in terms of physically playing football, served its’ purpose despite a less than optimal surface. Te conditions were viewed by many clubs an inferior and as such we opted, out of necessity on 4 occasions to sell our Home Games to our opposition. It didn’t prove too successful in Round 9 v Dingley at Dingley.
It’s fair to say that whilst supporter numbers have been on the slide for several years, game day support was at its’ lowest in 2016 at both Home and Away Games. A return to Hurlingham Park was always in our sights for July, however this never eventuated with continued delays in both the new pavilion construction and the state of the main oval.
From an on-field performance, 2016 was a learning curve and almost like a game of ‘Survivor’. Thankfully we weren’t ‘voted off the Island’, but we went through the Season without a win for the first time I can remember.
From a Junior perspective, my counterpart Ian Jensen-Muir ran a smooth ship in equally trying conditions, and he and the EBVJFC Committee are to be commended for their efforts.
With some 750 children participating each week, the challenge continues to retain footballers after their Under 16 season due to competing school football priorities and a clear pathway that is yet to be fully developed. This is an on-going priority for the Club that is required to ensure a solid Under 19’s for future seasons.
Whilst having only 1 Senior Netball team compete in our launch year, the ladies battled all season for some success in Div 4 (3 wins) but did so gallantly meaning the Vampires were represented each week.
The strategy moving forward will be to attract numbers through the football community we are a part of, have in place a Netball Operations Manager on the Committee and with a Home facility, generate interest in social functions moving forward.
In 2017, our focus is to have a minimum of 2 teams competing in the SFNL.
East Brighton is committed to fielding a Senior Women’s Football team in the SFNL Development League division in 2017. This is a big step for our Club, an exciting one that will see a whole new dimension on how we operate, and a new KPI as to how we perform both on and off the field.
With eyes wide open we see the inclusion of Women’s Footy as a positive move for the SFNL so far as inclusion and expanding Clubs like ours. With custom built facilities, our girls will be the envy of the competition.There is a significant amount of work to do, but we wouldn’t be in this position had it not been for the hours of work put in by Nicole Murphy, Damien Lynch and Greg Young.
Last week we announced the appointment of Don Angus as Senior Women’s Coach for Season 2017. Welcome Don.
Barry Hope will touch on the numbers in the Treasurer’s Report, however from an operational perspective, I’d like to thank all involved who helped keep the Club afloat in circumstances where raising funds was extremely difficult.
Whilst some new Sponsors were signed on, revenue overall from Sponsorship and Membership was hard to attract. The terse relationship between ‘No Home’ and ‘raising money’ was underestimated, as Barry will point out to the tune of at least $30,000.Fundraising in 2016 was disappointing from a Coterie perspective in a year where it would have been welcomed more than ever. Post season discussions have indicated that there is a renewed sense of urgency around network fundraising planned by the Coterie in 2017 which will be put to good use as we enter our consolidation phase in Division 2.
The Mid season Gala at The McKinnon was a huge success – the best club social function in the past 20 years and thank you to the McKinnon Hotel for the opportunity to partner with you in 2016.
Debt elimination is a major focus for the Club and we are committed to repaying creditors and getting back into the black. This includes 2015 Player Payments for personnel no longer with the Club. This is easier said than done which is why the 2017 Committee will be about ‘doing’, much like the Committee of 2016 but with a more stringent commercial focus:
- Utilise the new electronic Scoreboard to maximise Sponsor exposure (and special thanks to Ian Jensen-Muir, President EBVJFC for our junior counterparts footing our component of the shared deposit; thanks to Noel Pullen for coordinating the Federal Grant secured of $20,000)
- ‘Sell’ upgraded facility and what we offer as leverage for greater community support
- Men’s & Women’s Football
- Women’s Netball
- Junior Football
- Dedicated focus on accessing community and federal grants
- Focus on compliance to Player Subscriptions, Merchandise sales via direct debit facility
- Provide more ‘WIIFM’ by way of product and services access to existing and new Members and Sponsors
- Take control of media related to the Club to ensure professionalism
- Control and reduce spend
- Reconnect people, players, officials, supporters, members of the past to grow our local pool
- Take fundraising seriously and have ownership and buy-in of initiatives to generate much needed operational revenue
So where to from here?
In 2017 we will be competing in Division 2 SFNL. This will pose a new set of challenges that we will again confront head on. Looking forward Round 1, Saturday April 1st at Hurlingham Park v Skye.
The Committee for 2017, which will be decided at the AGM in November will be operate under a new improved portfolio management structure to ensure we leave no stone unturned.
2016 Season is over and our mindset as a Committee is all about 2017 – 2021.
2017 – Consolidation
2018 – 2021 – Growth & Sustainability
2017 Committee Priorities
- Resources to Integrate Senior Female Football Team including all support roles
- SFNL Netball focus – recruit players and grow Senior Netball footprint
- Reconnect Past Players, Officials and grow membership and participation
- Develop Junior Football Academy to drive sustainability
- Implement high value Fundraising strategy
- Eliminate debt