So the curtain has come down on the 2019/20 season, which will be both forgettable and unforgettable in equal measures. Bad weather (namely Biblical rain) meant that very few games were played at Lake Fairfield, and just as Mid Sussex started to dry out we were hit with the Coronavirus.
For the 1st Team and Reserves, league positions were decided by a points per game calculation. The 1st Team retained Intermediate status with a secure, if perhaps unspectacular, 1.17 points per game total landing us in a respectable lower-mid-table position (9th of 13), whilst the Reserves went 0.01 better with 1.18 points per game earning us 6th place of 10.
The Youth League took a slightly different approach, and just knocked it on the head completely, so we’ll ignore the unfavourable league position that we were sat in. We will however assume that our position at the top of Group 1 after the 1st round of the Futsal competition would have resulted in silverwear, so we’ll blame the terrible pitches for our league form.
So, with the season bought to an abrupt halt, the committee have decided not to proceed with End of Season Awards this year; after all, who wants an asterisk next to their name on the honours board. In lieu of this, the managers and committee would like to pay special recognition to some at the club, who would have earned our applause had an awards night have taken place.
Dan has been a changed man since retiring at the end of last season. He came back to the Reserves with a bang and, if we apply the ‘per game’ logic applied to the league table, scored 30+ goals this season. Dan is a very popular figure at the club, and hopefully there’s plenty of life in the old (blue) dog yet. We’re sure he’ll keep up his great form when we kick off again.
Village teams like us don’t survive without proper clubmen who step in to help out time and time again. Having taken a step back from coaching the Youth Team ahead of the 19/20 season, and with a newborn son at home, Olly stepped in to take on the running of the Reserves mid-season. So thank you to Olly ‘Paracetamol’ Lambert for solving a committee headache once again.
Pat the Cat is famous for two things, and we’re going to focus on his talents as one of the best goalkeepers in Sussex history for this part. Ask anybody for their list of top local goalkeepers, and Pat will be high up on their list. He now looks to wind down and hang up his magic gloves, but we’ve been very fortunate that he’s spent the last couple of years at Hurstpierpoint. We hope to see Pat down at some games in the future, and he’ll be massively missed by everyone.
“If there were more Mike Smith’s in the world, it’d be a much better place.” (John Lennon, probably)
Mike joined the club midway through the season to support Dudley and 1st Team, and we’d like to put on record our thanks to him. It makes such a difference having people like Mike around the place.
Remember those weeks when you knew on a Monday that the game probably wouldn’t be on the following Saturday? Well poor old Hayter still had to get the game confirmed and arrange a referee, knowing full well that he’d spending his Saturday morning frantically ringing around to let everyone know the game was off. Thank you Hayter.
Stu made his Hurst debut back in 1999, and played in the game when the ‘Bluedogs’ nickname was first used. Despite eloping to a few other clubs over the last 21 years, Boomerang Stu kept coming back to Fairfield, his spiritual home. Even after stepping into the role of Player/Assistant Manager, nobody really took his threats of retirement over the last couple of years seriously, until news of the imminent arrival of twins came to light. We are sure that we will see him back in some capacity in the future, and hope that the last ball hasn’t been kicked at Fairfield by that famous Ritchie-boot, but for now- thank you Stu for your commitment to the club over many, many years, and good luck ahead of the arrival of your twins.
More generally, thank you to all of the committee, volunteers (special mention to Celia and Lisa- thank you) coaches, managers and sponsors, who keep the club ticking. We’re very lucky to have the club that we do, and a lot of hard work and passion goes into things.
Thank you to all of the players for your commitment and efforts this season. Even if it wasn’t a great season, the club is still a fantastic place to be on a Saturday afternoon. Thank you for your patience when games were called off week-after-week-after-week, and for still turning up to training in your hundreds in the howling wind and rain.
We look forward to next season, with optimism and hope that 2020/21 will be far better. It can’t get much worse after all. Up the Bluedogs!