by Steve Moon
Once again, it is my pleasure to report upon another season for the Annual General Meeting, one which Forest at least got through intact despite many adversaries.
Before reviewing the Branch season, I know you will all be aware that in late June last year, we very, very sadly, lost our co-founder and long serving member Ron Rulton.
Ron was a unique character, as all of you who have been around long enough to have had the pleasure of knowing him, will testify but his love for Forest, and specifically the Branch in which he was instrumental in founding and building, was beyond question.
But for Ron, we would not be functioning now. I feel we all lost not only a good colleague, but a really good friend who, through this Branch and how it networked out going forward, led us all to make, among ourselves, many lifelong friends.
Along the way, there were innumerable stories, usually amusing, some perhaps a bit exaggerated, and some of which, I was honoured to deliver as part of his eulogy at the funeral service, well those that I could relate in such a situation!
There will never be sufficient words that can be said about Ron and I know that prior to the beginning of the formal business at this AGM, you will join me in observing a minutes’ silence to commemorate what he did for all of us. Thank you Ron, for all you have done and for being a great friend. Rest in Peace mate.
Once again, I sincerely thank my Committee for their efforts but this is becoming more difficult for us as a Branch. For three years now, we have had no Secretary and in preparing this, I still cannot recollect who volunteered to take the Minutes of last year’s AGM.
I certainly would like to get this post filled next season, not just for minute taking duties but also to take other things forward within the Branch.
What I have pleasure in adding here is that, a couple of weeks after last year’s Meeting, Simon Bristow stepped forward and offered to help the Branch project its image better through the contacts he had by means of his job and John Payne also offered to become involved in this.
One thing this did bring was the availability of the Roxy, in Borough High Street for showing the live TV games on the big screen together with free food for our members which I know went down very well with a number of you and which, hopefully, will continue next season.
Mid-way through the season, Simon changed jobs and now works in Germany but has still promised to remain fully involved form us and already has a couple of projects that could occur this season. Many thanks Simon and to John as well.
Our relationship with the parent Supporters’ Club remains strong and I need to pass on my gratitude to Joan Bakewell who managed to accommodate our match ticket requirements for the season in just about all cases although sadly, there was no panic play-off details to deal with this year.
My only grouse on the tickets is that we have some members who still struggle with the concept of having to pay for them until I e-mail them with a “yellow card,” I do really need prompt action if only with the sae.
What I would like to ask everyone to bear in mind is that while I balance my finances with those paying by cheque, I have to take on trust those who pay for tickets electronically. Most of you do let me know when you have done this, which is something I would ask of everyone who pays this way.
The Branch still actively supports APFSCIL through attending its meetings and also competing in both Darts and Pool Leagues this year. The Darts team had a tremendous season by winning the League and Cup double again and had success in the individual and pairs competitions.
The Pool team managed to complete its fixtures on time and although only three of the ten matches were won, with a little bit of fortune, one or two others would have gone our way as well and we have gained a couple of good players towards the back end of the season which will set us up for the Cup and for next season.
Over the course of the season, I know a number of you often used the special Football travel tickets set up by East Midlands Trains and although developed from discussions with APFSCIL clubs, nevertheless is open to anyone and has been very beneficial. I believe I did circulate the prices for next season and these fares will hold for the full season and thus not be affected further by the increase that is usually affected every January.
Membership numbers finished the season on 87 which I think was a slight increase on last season and hopefully we will gain some more as next season progresses.
We wish our honorary members, Rita Kirk and Joan Bakewell from the parent SC well. Also, our best wishes to Barry Bramley, who, you may remember, was taken ill during the QPR match at Loftus Road during the early stages of last season and whose progress was followed not just by our members, but many from Nottingham included Eric Lichaj’s wife and I am pleased to report that he made a good recovery.
As I have mentioned before, September 2017 sees the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Branch and it is our intention to plan a few functions hopefully throughout the season, but definitely something around the time probably over the international weekend that always occurs during that month each year.
A full-scale dinner may be a bit too ambitious but maybe a luncheon somewhere in London where we can hopefully get some people down from Nottingham, being a blank football weekend, might work. This is certainly something I would like to obtain ideas from you people at the Meeting.
So, I think that just about summarises the season for the Branch, as always, your support has been much appreciated, and hopefully, with a potentially exciting European coaching set up, there will be something positive to look forward to and I hope to see you all next season.