Are we nearly there yet?

Nick Anderson writes “The answer to the question is yes we are but for once I don’t want to get there quickly. It’s not news but many of our U18 players have turned 18 and others will do so in next few weeks. Inevitably, their time in youth football is fast reaching an end - by the month end our final season will be complete.

Some players have been with the Club from the start. Others have left and re-joined, while new additions have boosted the squad over years. Irrespective of how long players have been with us, all are part of the same team. The return of grassroots football has been very welcome. After the Covid-19 challenges of the last two seasons it would have been disappointing not to have the opportunity to play together again.

When the different sections of the Club merged to form One Club in 2015, the intention was to establish a smooth pathway from junior football into the youth game and then into our senior teams. Some of the U18s are already making regular appearances for the First Team or Reserves and we hope others will follow.

We are grateful to everyone who has supported the team. Managers and coaches, those who have sponsored kit, run the line or offered their support in other ways. Parents have played an important role. From being (often vocal) spectators to the hours spent driving to grounds scattered across north Essex. Lifting spirits when things haven’t gone as we had hoped and sharing in the our celebrations when they have.

Our time together hasn’t been about collecting silverware although there have been plenty of memorable games. The 6-5 victory against Little Oakley having been 2-5 down at half-time, the last-minute winner against Beacon Hill, winning the U16s end of season trophy event, overcoming Cornard on penalties in League Cup this season and the recent thriller against Frinton & Walton. The rewards have come in different forms. The strength of the team spirit that has grown, seeing players supporting each other and the friendships formed on the touchline. Whichever direction life takes our players next, remember you will always be welcome at School Lane.”