Again, it was a season of two halves with a managerial change in the middle of the season (Aitor Karanka coming in for Mark Warburton) but at least we avoided the nail-biting on the final day even if we were involved in the game that allowed Bolton Wanderers to survive.
From the Branch point of view, I think this has been a season where we have built on the efforts put in place by Simon Bristow and John Payne but all the other functions have to continue so, as always, I sincerely thank my committee for their efforts in achieving that.
Sadly for us, but great for him, we have lost Simon’s services as he now heads up a marketing team at the City Ground and is doing very well. I would like to thank Simon for all he has done for us and wish him well in this excellent role.
We have developed the continuing relationship with the Horseshoe in Clerkenwell Close, also used by APFSCIL and some of its other member clubs.
We enjoyed our 40th anniversary function there and it is also the venue for our AGM.
While this progress speaks for itself, all the other functions in running the Branch have to continue smoothly and my thanks are also extended to the other Committee members for accomplishing this.
One of Simon’s last acts was to assist me putting together our 40th Anniversary function at the Horseshoe which I am sure all those who attended thoroughly enjoyed.
The final days leading up to it were rapidly becoming a nightmare in wondering what guests were arriving, but we were all thoroughly entertained by an in-form Garry Birtles and an honest Q&A with the chairman, Nicholas Randall QC. Sadly, another guest, Jonny Owen, the maker of “I Believe in Miracles” pulled out on the day.
It did leave us with a bit of profit out of it because we had budgeted for him, we would have incurred a bit of a hit had he showed but all we wanted to do is make it a good day for you guys and I think we achieved that.
Certainly, there’s one or two hangovers afterwards demonstrated that as, from what I heard, it finished at some Central London bar around 2.30am the following morning!!
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 all cases.
We do now have a number of members who pay for their match tickets electronically but can everyone please remember that, irrespective of the payment method, I still need the stamped addressed envelope to return your tickets to you. I’m afraid, there’s no electronic way of doing that at the moment.
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 in both the League and Cup yet again and had success in the individual and pairs competitions.
The Pool team had its most successful season so far, finishing joint second with Middlesbrough and only two points behind winners Newcastle upon whom we inflicted their first defeat at their home venue, the Dolphin in Kings Cross for three years.
Despite these successes, both teams are always interested in obtaining new members so anyone interested, please come forward.
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 don’t know the prices for next season yet but hopefully will have an idea by the start of the season.
For the first time in a few years, membership numbers finished just shy of 150 and it’s hoped that, especially if Forest are having a good season, we will build on that even more as next season progresses. The Twitter account certainly accelerated this but we also gained others from different sources as the season progressed.
Last season, I did spell out why we needed to increase subscription prices due to a cash flow situation that can occur if we have large ticket orders for the London and southern games.
Whilst we will keep these prices for next season, we will keep this under annual review to see how we progress financially. We do like to subsidise our young members and that is something I feel we should encourage.
So, I think that sums up everything for the season and I, for one, believe we can look forward to 2018/19 with a wave of optimism especially if we can keep all our existing players and add some more quality and the City Ground may well be a good place to be.
Certainly, the new set up at the club does exude that. I know I say this every year but I do have a little hope for this coming year with what could be looking at a strongly Portuguese-influenced line-up.
Finally, I think most of you know my health is not been too good during the past couple of weeks. It has discovered I have a sodium deficiency and further tests led to see some hormonal deficiencies. I do face future treatments in the next few weeks, hopefully much of it as an outpatient but will know more during next week.
I’m quite sure I will suitably recover in time and I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of you who have given me messages of support.