REPORT FOR SEASON 2004/05
The 2004/05 season has proven to be on the Club's most successful for several years. Following the disappointment of the previous campaign, culmination in the Second Team's demise, the Club was forced to make important decisions which have turned out to be prudent. Competing in Division 4 rather than 3 was a calculated gamble in terms of retaining First Team players from the previous season. For them, it meant a drop of two divisions. Fortunately, the majority stayed and the transition of blending First Team and Second Team players together into one squad proved to be, on the whole, trouble-free.
A new non-playing manager - David Summer - apprehensively took the helm and ultimately did very well in steering his new-look side to a creditable 3rd place in Division 4. The sole MSFL team also reached the final of the Barry Goldstein Minor Cup after qualifying as group winners from a controversial tough Group A. This was the Club's first Cup Final for 23 years and brought much credit to the name of Temple Fortune Football Club. The team also enjoyed a cup run of sorts in the CA Cup, winning through 2 rounds before losing to eventual Premier Division champions Faithfold in the last 16. Full marks to David Summer and Robert Botkai who both managed the First Team to a relatively successful season.
The Old Boys Team completed in an enlarged Masters League division which bizarrely provided more fixtures than any MSFL division! The envisaged 2-division split in January never materialised, much to the Club's disappointment, leaving the Old Boys with two sets of fixtures against the higher ranked teams rather than one. However, in most cases, Temple Fortune performed far better than in previous seasons against the so-called Big Boys. Games were much closer which was one pleasing aspect. Unfortunately, a dwindling squad in terms of actual numbers made the season progressively more difficult.
Looking back, the team did exceptionally well to fulfil all 20 fixtures and full credit must go to the management team of Nick Waitsman and David Goldberg for ensuring that the season was completed despite the worstening availability problems. The Old Boys finished 9th out of 11 teams. In comparison to the 2003/04 season when they were runners-up in the Masters Division 2, this represents a final position of 4th from 6 teams.
Administratively, the season has flowed by without too many headaches. Discipline improved, pitch usage improved thanks to a relatively decent winter, and even membership harmony improved with only two players appearing to be disgruntled, which is the lowest for years, albeit we were running 2 teams instead of 3. I will not steel the Treasurer's thunder other than to say that financially the Club performed vastly better, thanks to prudent decisions made at last year's AGM as a response to the previous season's considerable loss.
In January, Robert Botkai's initiative, together with the cooperation of our players and those of Faithfold at our CA Cup tie at Finchley & Wingate FC, helped raise a very meritable £250 for the Tsunami Fund Appeal.
The only major blot on the season was Barnet Council's 'pissed off' attitude towards what they referred to as "indecent behaviour" at Childs Hill Park. They cited various offences such as litter, footway obstruction and offensive foul language, as well as urinating in, I quote "full public view", unquote, as the reason for removing the Club from hiring Childs Hill Park next season.
The Club's assurances to the Council that we would ensure there wouldn't be a problem, after submitting our stringent disciplinary measures, together with an on-site report from Robert as one of the management team present at Childs Hill Park over the course of the season, fell on deaf ears, as did my subsequent appeal to the Head of Environmental Services. The hardline stance of the Council after the so-called ongoing problems all season has currently made our MSFL team homeless. I will read out Barnet Council's decision and report of our pitch search efforts to date under Any Other Business.
So overall, the Club's 2004/05 season has been enjoyable, only marred by Barnet Council's inept attitude. The usual efficiency of dedicated Management Committee officers all of whom I would like to sincerely thank mixed with mainly a decent bunch of committed players, gave us one of our more memorable campaigns in recent years. Fortunately, the changeover from 3 teams to 2 proved to be a generally smooth-running operation, thanks to some hard work and appreciated cooperation from all concerned.
If the previous season was a disaster, then 2004/05 must be recorded as being a vast improvement, so well done everybody!
NIGEL KYTE, June 2005