2017 was challenging year for all National Premier Leagues clubs following Football West’s decision to expand the competition a fourteen-team league, two more than we had in 2016. This decision added $20,000 in cost to Inglewood United.
For clubs to survive a fourteen-team league in 2017 and 2018, the NPL Standing Committee negotiated for Football West to pay an assistance package of $12,000 per season to each club that participated in 2016 season. That presented a ‘real cost’ shortfall of $8,000.
The challenges have continued. Changing attitudes in the community dictated we review how we engage all our coaches. We have been paying our NPL coaches since the introduction of that league, however, we have not paid Development or Miniroos coaches. A modest fee increase for these grades has guaranteed the quality of our juniors coaching team and that the Club grows at junior level.
The wider game faces ongoing challenges when it comes to game day spectator attendance. In the last three years, whilst our product has improved, costs have increased across a league that has been attracting fewer spectators on game day, thus placing further pressure on resources.
With all this occurring we have been able to continue the improvement programs we initiated at the end of 2015. I am happy to report these programs are now 80 % complete -
- Connection to deep sewer
- New clubroom amenities
- Disabled access and amenities
- Reticulation upgrades
- New ground signage and Club livery
- Senior change room upgrade
We can proudly say that improvements have turned our facilities into the best in NPL.
The Executive Committee (Board) has a clear goal and focus on improving Inglewood United as a Business and as a Football Club which is respected in the community.
In order to improve as a Football Club in 2017 we engaged the services of Alex Stanojevic as Technical Director on a two-year contract. This has been a fruitful relationship which has brought stability and quality to our coaching ranks, and whilst results in our 12-16 age groups may not reflect improvement I am confident we will see benefits in the years to come.
Our senior teams performed well again in 2017. The Under-18’s won the League for the first time in the clubs history, which is a fantastic achievement. The Under-20s finished the season in fifth place, narrowly missing the finals series.
The First team had a disappointing start to the season when you consider the player quality and ability at our disposal. At Round Nine of the league we were sixth on the ladder, had been eliminated from the FFA Cup, were in peril of losing players in the transfer window and at risk of not qualifying for the Top 4 Cup.
This was one of several factors in our decision to replace our head coach. That decision was vindicated as we ended the season in second place after leading for much of the second half of the season. We retained our required players and we improved the working environment between coaches and management. These are all key components in attaining team success.
Our success has not only occurred on the park. 2017 was a success for us in attracting new sponsors to the club. Perth Plasterboard Centre joined as Stadium Sponsor and G-Tek Plasterboard as Major Shirt sponsor. Both companies are major players in the building and construction industry have two-year agreements in place. They have also embraced the club as supporters, which is the ultimate recognition that we are providing them value.
Another key goal we set ourselves was to engage more volunteers. Whilst this is a work in progress, we have been successful in setting up key people in our Junior Action Group who are learning and understanding what it is to be a volunteer and how best they can share their skills. We see this program to be vital for the future growth of our Club and something we will be nurturing in 2018 and beyond.
I have mentioned that 2017 was a challenge financially. In order to balance the books we engaged in as many ventures/activities as possible to add income to the Club. These included hosting the State Cup Final, Christmas in July, Car Raffle and the hiring of the Clubhouse for private functions. The latter is an area we need to further develop in order to control our financial well-being into the future.
Along with sponsorship and a firm control on our expenses, we have been able to return a positive financial result for 2017 whilst achieving our goals of continuous improvement in facilities and the football programs we have set goals to deliver.
At this point I feel it is important to acknowledge all our coaches, who are vital in the continuous growth of our Club. Is it due to this team of talented individuals that we are able to deliver the football program set out in the FFA Curriculum and to meet our expectations as a Club.
It is also worthy to note the contribution of our staff who have grown with the Club in the last four years and have been active participants in implementing the changes required to have a successful business.
Special mention must go to all our wonderful volunteers who are the life blood of our Club. They do a great job every week, always willing to offer a helping hand. Without these people the Club would find it difficult to exist.
Last but definitely not least, I must thank my fellow board members for the time and effort they continue to devote for our Club, and in particular for the support they have shown me in my last two years as President. It is greatly appreciated and I thank you.
Finally, I thank you for placing your trust in me for the last two years as your President. I have enjoyed the experience, challenge and working with you all in making our Club the best club.
Inglewood United FC