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Jun 4, 2014

AGM 2014

Minutes and Reports


Minutes of the AGM held on Monday 9 June at Canalside, Leeds Road, Huddersfield commencing 7.00pm

Those attending (20) were as follows:

  • Chairman: G Burn, Durham
  • Hon secretary: P Tracey
  • Hon treasurer: C Newman
  • Cheshire: J Clark, A Neeves, H Roberts
  • Cleveland: C. Smith, S Carey
  • Cumbria: D Prothero
  • Durham: G Wainwright, J Shippen, A Reed, A Johnson, J Robson
  • Gr Manchester: N Brown
  • Lancashire: M Timberlake, M Nadal
  • Merseyside: K Davies, B Downing
  • Northumberland: N Pont
  • North Yorkshire: R Davis
  • South Yorkshire: P Harper
  • West Yorkshire: T Walton

Apologies received:

  • Cheshire: G Reynolds, H Huxley
  • Lancashire: M Duffy
  • G Manchester: A Smith, M Shackleton
  • Northumberland: O Aiston
  • N Yorkshire: E Roberts
  • S. Yorkshire: G Jennet. S Metcalfe
  • Life member: S Green

Chairman’s welcome

Graeme Burn opened the meeting on the stroke of 7pm welcoming members from far and near. He commented on the excellent quality of the finals he had attended, not only from the playing point of view but also the organisational aspects as well. There had been a sense of occasion fitting to our aims as an association. He thanked all those who had given so selflessly of their time and efforts to ensure the continuance of high standards and opportunities for the students at schools and colleges throughout the Northern Counties.

Standing Orders, (as issued by ESFA) were adopted.

The Minutes of the AGM for 2013 were read and agreed to be a true record, and signed off by the chairman.

Matters arising

The word “unseemly” had been used to describe delays in the season 2012-13 and it was queried as the most appropriate word to use. It was agreed to delete it from the record. There were no other matters arising.

Hon Secretary Report on season 2013-14

The report had been circulated well in advance of the meeting.

A number of issues were raised in that report which is attached as an appendix to these minutes, and which included our playing programme and fixture schedule, the impact of ESFA competitions on NCSFA, pros and cons of extending our competitions, the problems of financing inter county football, comments on competitions for season 2013-14, the web site, personnel matters and an appreciation of great effort by members.

There was a discussion on the proposed fixtures programme and the secretary again urged all counties to be proactive in arranging fixtures to a timescale suggested on both East and west sides so that our competitions can have a momentum.

It was recognised that there are always going to be extenuating circumstances affecting the arranging and postponement of fixtures which can lead to unplanned delays.

A more detailed discussion centred on the issues raised in the secretary report and the meeting listened very sympathetically to the experiences of more than one county and the very real problems that were being faced and which do in fact threaten the future prospects of County football.

Financial report

The Treasurer presented his report, which is attached to these minutes as an appendix.

We have had to dip into reserves again, taking £300 to cover costs. The cost of medals was very high and will need to be looked at in future. And the grant to NCSFA was received but was £300 less than in the previous season. It was agreed to investigate this matter with ESFA.

Affiliation fees at £75 are unchanged.

The report was received by the meeting and endorsed by the auditor.

Auditor's Report

Dave Prothero was fulsome in his praise for the meticulous job done by our Treasurer and thanked him for making the job of auditing so straightforward. He too raised the matter of the decreased grant from ESFA, and of the cost of medals. His report is attached as an appendix to these minutes.

Election of Officers for 2014-15

  • Chairman: Nigel Brown, Greater Manchester
  • Vice Chairman: David Barker, Lancashire
  • Hon Secretary: Peter Tracey
  • Hon Treasurer: Chris Newman
  • Hon Auditor: Dave Prothero
  • CWO: Alan Johnston
  • ESFA Reps: Alan Johnston and Mark Shackleton


“All competitions are to be played within limit dates agreed at the AGM for the forthcoming season” was agreed almost unanimously.

  • Proposer Peter Tracey, Hon Secretary
  • Seconded Peter Harper, South Yorkshire

Limit dates for 2014-15 to be as follows

  • East and West side qualifying league matches: Saturday 14 February
  • Semi Final matches: Saturday 7 March
  • Finals: week beginning 28 March

The League positions and situation will be finalised and published on 15 February.

NB Subsequently to the meeting the East Side Counties agreed informally and almost unanimously that the East side fixtures be prepared in advance of the 2015 AGM by the secretary to take account of the Girls Football CofE dates and other ESFA dates, thus identifying 5 Saturdays common to all for the playing of NCSFA fixtures and which can also be seen by and observed by other stakeholders in youth football. Games involving the East side counties could of course be arranged at different times to suit both teams, but should not conflict with the fixture programme dates presented.

Extending NCSFA Competitions

Following the secretary’s paper earlier in the season concerning a possible extension of competition to Under 14 girls, there appeared to be real support for there to be an NCSFA Under 14 Trophy for Girls. Counties which were in support and would probably enter were as follows Cheshire, Cumbria, Durham, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and South Yorkshire.

The format is still to be developed and suggestions will be circulated at the start of the season 2014-15. A Festival style event might be possible at a central venue in an initial season, or a league, or other suggestions to be discussed.

It was recognised that ESFA might be able to support a Festival style event with funding and this could be investigated.

Football Forum Open Discussion

Financing football was prominent in the discussion. The very real difficulties facing some counties were heard, creating stress and struggle.

The need for additional funding was discussed. ESFA has a £100k Development Fund to which individual counties can apply in cases of real need.

Sponsorship: Some counties are more successful than others at raising additional funding in this way. This is a matter that needs much work or contacts.

The huge cost of running the ESFA national team was noted and considered by some to be disproportionate in these times when so many local, district and county associations were struggling.

ESFA had secured a very large sponsorship deal with Play Station.

Very little progress in developing Futsal especially significant in a Brazil World Cup year. Futsal is short for Futebol de Salao.

ESFA Matters

Merseyside will raise a matter of concern at the ESFA AGM to do with child welfare on long distance fixtures and the meeting agreed to fully support.

Cup Finals 2015

A draw determined the following venues for Cup Finals in 2015

  • Under 16 Girls hosted by winner of East v West semi Final
  • Under 16 Boys hosted by winner of West v East semi Final
  • Under 18 Boys hosted by winner of East v West semi Final

Any other business

It was thought that we should try to replace the Girls under 16 trophy, costs permitting, as the present one is no longer fit for purpose.

Sponsorship of NCSFA Comps is now a matter that needs attention in order to raise funds and status.

Introduction of The Chairman for season 2014-15

Graeme Burn, retiring chairman, wished his successor a happy year. Nigel Brown representing Greater Manchester took office, commenting that he hoped his experience in Schools football over many years would be of benefit to NCSFA in 2014-15.

Date and Venue for AGM 2015

It was agreed to hold the AGM 2015 on the second Monday of June and that Canalside, Huddersfield was a fine venue if available.

The meeting closed at 9.15pm

Hon Secretary's Report for Season 2013-14

This was a Northern Counties season when the alarm bells were ringing.

There are problems that we need to recognise, and address if we possibly can.


Here are some of the issues this season:

  • One of our County members was unable to continue with its fixtures and withdrew from the competition into which it had entered.
  • Another County is fearful for the future in the light of the withdrawal of funding support from its County Council.
  • Another County is very apprehensive about future participation unless the work load of running teams etc. is shared more widely among interested and committed personnel.
  • It may be a matter of regret, or common sense and cooperation, that another County feels it better to cede home advantage to the other Finalist in an NCSFA Competition because of the pressure of fixture pile ups as we get into the final weeks of the season.
  • In more than one County, administrators feel that there are problems in getting younger people to step forward to be able to go forward. The succession problem looms larger with each season.
  • The work load of running County teams at different age groups often falls on the shoulders of fewer and fewer people.
  • Team managers increasingly have major commitments elsewhere than Schools football, and may have to prioritise commitments not always in favour of a Schools FA competition.
  • Thus, the scheduling and arranging of Inter-County matches is sometimes seen to be dependent on the other, non- SFA commitments of team managers.
  • The lack of a recognisable, agreed and published timescaled fixture programme for our competitions means that momentum is lost, and this season there have been long intervals between fixtures thus reducing their import.
  • The running costs for teams is increasing year on year, and despite the ESFA grants and allocations from NCSFA several counties struggle with the costs of transport, kit, hiring suitable grounds, and paying for success in national competitions.
  • The sometimes difficult and protracted negotiations between Counties to arrange mutually convenient and acceptable dates and times, for semi finals especially, has impacted on the arrangements that could be made for the Finals.
  • Once upon a time the NCSFA competitions were used as qualifying competitions for the ESFA national Inter county Championships. Now that has changed and all our counties are involved directly in the ESFA national cups with a consequent increase in demands and commitments required.

ESFA Competitions

It is a matter of pride that some NCSFA members have been very successful this year especially at the Under 16 level for boys where all 4 semi finalists were from our Association. Congratulations to Greater Manchester who defeated neighbours Lancashire by 2-1 in the final at Coventry Ricoh Arena on 15 March This of course means that these finalist teams had 5 extra County fixtures, which may well go some way to explain, some of the problem points and concerns raised above.

For the record all 11 NCSFA members entered for the Boys U16 and U18 ESFA competitions. There were 3 Counties into the U16 Girls ESFA and 3 entered the U14 Competition. With Under 16 and 14 girls, only 3 Counties entered the ESFA Competitions. The situation there is complicated by the availability of dates caused by the Centres of Excellence.

Deadlines and limit dates

There is a strict set of deadline dates for ESFA Inter County Competitions all of which reached the Final date on March 15. However NCSFA does not and has not yet adopted such an agreed timetable of limit dates and your secretary believes that we should. And that we should do so in such a way that it can dovetail with ESFA over the season.

The limit dates for ESFA which were pretty fully observed right across the country were as follows:

Under 16 Boys
Limit date 2013-14 2014-15
30 November involved 11 NCSFA counties 29 November
11 January involved 6 counties 17 January
25 January involved 4 31 January
1 March involved 4 7 March
15 March 2 Finalists from NCSFA tbc

Under 18 Boys
Limit dates 2013-14 2014-15
9 November 11 NCSFA teams 8 November
23 November 5 teams 29 November
7 December 2 teams
25 January 1 team

In other words, beyond the end of November the involvement in ESFA competitions by NCSFA teams was relatively small….but important nevertheless for those still involved.

This raises an interesting point for discussion. To what extent should NCSFA teams concentrate on the ESFA and NCSFA competitions before the end of November and then transfer attention to NCSFA competition over a much shorter but more strictly defined period after end of January with semi finals and finals on pre ordained dates, hopefully before the end of April?

It is probable that the ESFA limit dates for season 2014-15 will be very similar to last season but they have not yet been finalised as I write this report.

Your secretary has tabled an AGM proposal for the better structuring of NCSFA competitions for the future, dove tailed with ESFA, with suggested limit dates for league, semi-finals and finals.


On the very positive side, it can be seen that some Counties are doing as much as they possibly can to offer Inter County Football for Boys and Girls over the 14-18 age range. Each County will have its own arrangements and its own peculiar problems and what works in one county may not work in another…but that is not to say that NCSFA members cannot learn from each other. Problems shared are problems lessened……Perhaps in the open Forum session at the AGM we can share concerns and successes with each other.

At Under 15 Boys there is a nice development along a NE Counties Festival line of approach in Cleveland which involves many young players.

We have a scheduled AGM agenda point to discuss extending competition for Under 14 and under 18 Girls.

Competitions 2013-14

Eventually Semi Finals were arranged. At under 16 boys, on 30 April and 3 May. However the last league match in the East was played on 9th January and in the West on 26th March. The time lag is not good for the competition.

At under 18 boys the leagues were completed on Feb 25th in the East and on 1st February in the West….but whilst one semi was played on 8th March the second was not possible until 28th April…again not a happy situation.

And with Under 16 Girls, Finalists were known on 29 January, but the Final not arranged until the first week in May.


The AGM will consider a proposal as below…

  • Proposer: Peter Tracey, Hon Secretary
  • Seconded: Peter Harper South Yorkshire

Proposal: “All competitions are to be played within limit dates agreed at the AGM for the forthcoming season”

Limit dates

The suggestion for season 2014-15 is that limit dates be agreed as follows

  • East and West side qualifying league matches: Saturday 14 February, (ESFA SF 07/03)
  • Semi Final matches: Saturday 7 March, (ESFA Final 21/03)
  • Finals week beginning 28 March


Without strict limit dates it is possible for delay to be endemic, leading to difficulties later in the season as has been the case in season 2013-14. Limit dates agreed at an AGM will help to focus attention on our competitions which are important and help to obviate the delays seen this year. These delays are not in the interests of the competition nor the players involved

It is of course recognised that there are other competing interests, such as

  • the ESFA individual school open competitions at under 16 and 18
  • the Girls commitments to Centres of Excellence
  • the calls by the England Under 18 international manager in mid-March to mid-April
  • involvement with County FA teams
  • involvement with Junior Leagues and Cup competitions, partners not rivals.
  • The School Examination season

Nevertheless it is not in the interests of our competitions to have a 3 month delay as this season between semi finals and final, as in the U16 Girls. Nor a 7 week delay in U18 boys. Nor 6 week delay in U16 boys.

Such limit dates will allow improved co-operation with other interested parties and will allow longer term planning of the season in the interests of all concerned.

Finals 2013-14

At Under 18 Boys level, a very good Final was played at Hebburn Town on May 2, when Durham were defeated 3-0 by a strong and well organised Cheshire side who thus take the Trophy for the second time in three years. The NCSFA was well represented in the ESFA Under 18 national team this season, and 4 players from these two counties were selected. However on the evening only one was in the starting line up.

At Under 16 Boys, finalists were known only on May 3 and the Final was played on 24 May, at Stockport. The match between Greater Manchester and Northumberland was played on a 3G pitch in very poor weather…but the match turned out to be one of the most pulsatingly exciting adverts for schools football that ever could be imagined. Northumberland came from behind three times, and then snatched the winner in the final seconds.

The Under 16 girls Final was played at Wren Rovers FC on Thursday 8 May when once again Lancashire were champions, playing very well to defeat Greater Manchester by 5-1. Lancashire has certainly had a lot of success recently and all credit to them and their team managers. Unfortunately the Final was played some full three months after the semi finals and it has to be said that this is not in the best interests of all concerned.

The Website

Thanks to Allan Reed our website is clean, fresh and current and a great source of information to all. However I do know that Allan gets very frustrated if the website is not as up to date as he would like it to be….and this is in part because he does not always get good information from counties. There have been instances this season when results are sent in from two teams….with different scores, or results are sent in some days after a match is played. All results should be sent within 24 hours if at all possible. The website can only be as good as the information received. Allan does a very good job and we owe him a sincere vote of thanks.

Nigel Brown

One of our stalwart members will be leaving us at the end of this season. Nigel Brown has served us well as an officer of Greater Manchester and as an ESFA Council member. He is moving to The West Midlands for family reasons and I am sure I speak for all concerned when I thank him sincerely for his interest, effort, energy enthusiasm and wisdom in all matters concerning Schools Football.

John Robson and Alan Smith

We learned also that this season two of our long serving colleagues and friends suffered through ill health. Both John Robson of Durham and Alan Smith of Greater Manchester had hospital stays. We hope that all is now well and send them best wishes.


There are many people who put in hours of work, voluntarily, for Schools Football. Some of those stalwarts are involved with our organisation, and they know who they are…and I do too, and I thank the County Secretaries, the treasurers, the match organisers, the team managers and assistants, the CWOs, those who wash the kit, fetch the balls, collect cash, do the raffles, make the tea, write the programmes, etc etc, Thank you all.

Hon Treasurer's Report for 2013-14

1. Statement of accounts


  • Affiliation fees were received from all 11 County Associations.
  • A welcome increase in ESFA Annual Grant by over £550 relative to 2012/13, allowed some increase in expenditure as below.


  • Items are generally self-explanatory, with Counties reaching the later stages of NCSFA Competitions being the major beneficiaries:
  • The increased ESFA Grant allowed an increased budget of £2550 (2012/13: £2175) [including a reduced amount, £300 from reserves (£430)] to subsidise the later stages of NCSFA competitions. The final sum paid out was actually £2493 (£2103).
  • Although the cash “pay-out” increased by 19%, the overall “pay out rate” showed a slight decrease to 36% (39%) of initial claims, mainly due to 8 of the 9 matches involving long journeys, hence large travel claims.
  • The cost of medals increased by almost £100.


The Total Funds at the year-end show a decrease of some £380, largely due to the use of £300 of reserves to support NCSFA competitions.

Clearly, all the ESFA Grant was used for the benefit of the Association and its members.

2. Prospects for 2014/15

  • With interest rates continuing at rock bottom, we must continue to use reserves if we are to maintain our level of activity and support for Counties. The Reserve Account is maintained for such a purpose and will continue to sustain the Association in the short term.
  • However, this assumes that no other developments are planned requiring funding – a subject which may be discussed at this meeting.
  • The ESFA Grant is set to fall next year, which will place an extra burden on finances.
  • If the Competition structure remains as at present, I propose to continue the general spending policy of the past five years. Clearly, any new developments may require restructuring of the budget.
  • The Affiliation Fee for 2014/15 is £75 per County and is due at the AGM.

3. Hon. Auditor

  • My thanks as ever, are due to Dave Prothero, for his close scrutiny of the accounts and helpful comments and suggestions.