Life in the Lower Leagues: Life at Binfield FC is 'frustrating, rewarding and always time consuming'By Bob Bacon
February 11, 2013
Bob Bacon, chairman of Binfield FC, explains how the club chairman must be prepared for anything - including being bin-man.
Len Shackleton, the famous footballer who played for Bradford Park Avenue, Sunderland and Newcastle United, wrote his autobiography on his retirement and entitled a chapter “The Average
Director’s Knowledge of Football” and it consisted of a single, blank page. I’d like to think that things have changed somewhat now, but as chairman of an FA Community Club.
I’m surprised at how much you need to know and do – not just about the football, but the administration, finance, and sometimes the need to take on the role of an agony aunt, lost property clerk, part time cleaner and tea bar attendant.
When I was appointed as chairman, it was a bit of a voyage of discovery.
My predecessor gave me a few valuable tips, but as with most things in life, you have to throw yourself into it to really appreciate it.
What I wasn’t told was though, that pretty much each week I’d get emails from around the globe (Brazil, Poland, Singapore, Canada and South Africa) asking for Binfield FC pin badges, or “can you please send the last ten first team programmes”, or “please a collection of first team team sheets”.
Also, I naively thought that come the close season, it would be on with the flip flops and feet up.
How wrong was I – various league meetings and dinners to attend, all in another county, consumed the time and then it’s time to start the season again.
Life in a junior football club such as Binfield is often frustrating, frequently rewarding and always time consuming, and it takes an army of volunteers to make it run well.
We have four hundred players at the club and provide a safe environment for girls, boys and men to enjoy their football.
Every club at my level depends on a huge amount of goodwill, volunteers and sheer hard work to make the facility work, and we are very lucky to have some great characters involved.
Our coaches devote so much time which comes to fruition on their match day, but every once in a while, you get the odd curve ball thrown.
I was driving to the ground one Saturday for a first team game, when I took a call from one of our coaches.
His game had just finished, and his opening line was “I’ve just left the ground and I wanted to let you know that you’ll need to empty some of the dustbins before kick off today, they are over flowing!”
Needless to say, I didn’t even respond and hung up in disgust.
Thankfully, this is a rarity, and I can smile about it now, but at the time...........