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9th tier club apply for voluntary relegation in hope to help financial future

9th tier club Staveley Miners Welfare have decided to apply for voluntary relegation in the hope to help their financial future.

Chairman and owner Terry Damms has announced that he is asking the Football Association to move them into the Northern Counties East League Division One for the 2022/23 campaign.

The decision has left a lot of supporters with questions, with the statement needing to be read back a few times to understand how this would be better for the club going forward.

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The club said in a lengthy statement: “In 2007 when I took over Staveley MWFC, we started with a team in the NCEL Division 1 with 90% of the squad being U19 and who also played for our U19 team and where we had average crowds of 45 in the NCEL.

“In 2010 we formed our new Juniors Section.

“In 2011 we won promotion to the NCEL Premier and in March 2012 we reached the semi-finals of the FA Vase in which 5 of the starting 11 had played U19 football here and/or for our then appointed manager Billy Fox.

“Losing the clubs sponsorship in 2013 we cut back all expenditure to a bare minimum.

“Brett Marshall managed the team superbly well from 2015 on a budget that was bottom 6 in the NCEL Premiership and under his management tenure this allowed us to continually better the facilities off the pitch.

“When Brett left us in December Jon Froggatt and Pat Lindley were thrown in at the deep end to manage the club.

“The two lads have done remarkably well given when Brett left there were players that immediately jumped ship plus the injuries to key players in recent weeks and months have hampered team selection.

“We now average over 200 at NCEL home games and we have 24 Juniors teams with boys and girls playing football here.

“We have over 300 children using the 3G facility each week. We are a Community Football Club where it isn’t all about the first team but all of the 26-teams we have.

“In July 2019, we put a master plan in place to transform our ground at Inkersall Rd.

“In early 2021 we added plans to better our Juniors Chantry pitches and car park opposite. We have been successful in securing just shy of £1.4M of Grants towards the total construction costs of £1.65M on these projects.

“In order to transform the ground and facilities I had to arrange a series of loans of some £1/4M.

“We also have to accrue £20,000 each year for the next 10 years to replace the 3G pitch.

“We have targeted clearing the loans in 5 years that will then leave the club free of all debt.

“The Granting of the build of the new Educational Facility. This will take some more funding by the Club to get it to the standards we expect.

“The facility should be built out in 22/23 and will provide a pathway for 16-18 year olds on a “life learning” basis as they enter adulthood.

“I see this as a major addition to our club’s plans for the future. Our BTEC Education course will come on line latest September 2023.

“We hope to see a number of these local teenager players representing our club in the CMFL/NCEL.

“Each non-league club committee/financial benefactor, will set their own aims and objectives.

“I am at times appalled when I visit grounds that have had little or no fan facilities improvements in years yet I hear players budgets of £1,500 or £2,000 a week.

“It is for me immoral where fans suffer with no ground toilets or where changing rooms are filthy and dangerous.

“We even have at Step 7 clubs paying budgets 3 times our own budget for Step 5, My primary target here is to provide the best possible facilities for our fans, for those using and visiting the ground 7-days a week whilst also providing a modest playing budget and where the football club is financially self-sufficient and not reliant on any one person or company’s monies.

“It is where the clubs future is secured for decades to come.

“I foresee here a 5-year short term plan to coincide with the gradual erosion of the clubs indebtedness.

“A period of time where we can focus on getting youth players from the Community and those being released from local football academies to represent our club.

“These youngsters at our U21’s, hopefully the 16-18 year olds, can progress to doing well at Step 7 and then to the physical challenges of the NCEL at Step 6.

“I do look back at the early days when our first team was littered with teenagers/younger players but where we had a solid backbone of experience to help the youngsters along.

“I wish to see this strategy again. This gives us time to get players representing the club to be like a number of our current players who have been loyal to the club and to Jon and Pat.

“Getting players to play for the club and not chasing the cash is an art, one that Brett Marshall was a master at it and as a club is at the base of our principles.

“We see some NCEL managers only bother about “what’s the budget/money” and where the mercenaries don’t see people/volunteers/clubs but only sniff the money out and don’t care about anything else just “pounds max.”

“Not here. Managers have to buy in to our Community Club ethos and work within the financial restraints set.

“I could increase the players budget and forget about funding the building works and bettering the facilities. Well that ain’t happening under my stewardship.

“I am committed to continue to build and better these facilities whilst ever I hold the Chairmanship here.

“Only the other week when in our NCEL losing streak one person said “Terry will have to get his wallet out and increase the budget to get some better players.”

“That regrettably is how some football people think but where does the money come from/stop ?

“If anyone fancies joining me on the Board here and pumping some cash in to the club to assist, I am always open to discussions with such like-minded people.

“Considering all of the above, I have therefore written to the FA National League and asked in readiness for the 2022/23 season to reposition Staveley MWFC at Step 6 Division 1 in the NCEL.

“As always football opinions will be many and some will be supportive and others destructive.

“I am always open to questions from our people on our club on any matter and certainly on its chosen direction/plans.

“I believe that by 2026/27, our club will with our well known ethos be free from indebtedness, will have a management structure united as one from U21 to Step7 and in to the NCEL hopefully back at Step 5.

“Off the field the building of the south stand behind the dug outs is perhaps my last major project at the club before I call time on my holding the Chairman and owners position here.

“At that point, the future of Staveley MWFC will be set, free from debt and financially self-sustainable with the best facilities for miles around.

“The Community and families of Staveley will know that their Community Football Club is here to stay for them.

“Until then and beyond Trojans onwards.”

Fans reacted as the 9th tier club apply for voluntary relegation in the hope to help their financial future…

@daniel_tortoise: I respect the ideals, but can’t see how any of that can’t be done while staying at Step 5. Voluntary relegation should only be approved when it’s genuinely necessary, not in cases like this. Would be an absolute farce if you drop down to NCEL 1 and then compete at the top end.

@billybadknees: Unsure what you feel the one division drop will achieve, as you mention even teams at step 7 are paying decent money? Genuine question, not trying to be funny! If you cut your cloth accordingly and get relegated to step 6, then surely you will build back naturally anyway.

@larafrances: Some places with little facilities for fans and the condition of their grounds have their hands tied by those who own the ground they play on. They aren’t eligible for the massive grants for improvements and do their best and work bloody hard to put the games on.

@josh14951078: Dropping a division will make no difference. Just use the lads that want to play with the budget you have and if you go down then you go down

@smilerhopper: Very much agree Terry, there are a number of Leeds based teams that would do well to learn from your wise financial planning & grow through strength in the youth of today for tomorrow, if the FA move the club to the ucl north division 1 would you consider the cml to lower costs

@TerryEspiner: Sad. Watched your NY game v Thackley as my team had no game. Best performance of an NCEL team I’ve seen this season – 6 matches. Blown away by standard of ground. 4G pitch was ace. Clubhouse was packed an hour before match. Hope that you find a way through your problems.

@MikeThompsonHU1: It literally makes ZERO sense to relegate yourselves and this statement doesn’t give a credible reason why. If you want to reduce the budget and play the young guns, great! If they aren’t good enough you get relegated, fine! Strange strange decision that. 🤷🏼‍♂️🤷🏼‍♂️

@matheryooooooo: agree that the professionalisation of players at this level is frustrating but I just don’t get how it links to voluntary relegation? you’ve got some of the best facilities in your division as well (thanks to your efforts) it just seems daft and a bit kneejerk?

@pembo90: Where in this letter is there any reasoning that what you are projecting can’t be achieved in the league you are in ?

@knightfunerals: Be the best you can in the highest league you can compete in, if that’s not good enough then so be it. It’s not junior football where you want it to be as equal as possible whilst kids learn. Pay what you can to get the players you need and let youth do the rest.

@2ndchancefootb: If its approved by ncel its a disgrace and a mockery of all the other clubs in league

@GavC87: So drop down a league, win more games, win the league and then what say no to promotion? Shambles. The league should laugh this out of town and if they allow all the div 1 clubs should revolt. Makes a mockery of a competition.

@steviepea58: It sounds like…if we are not in the top 5 pushing for promotion…lets go down a division so we can be in the running at the top..theres no tangible reason in that statement to take voluntary relegation.

@JennyFr59637959: This is an EGO trip by a club that NEEDS to be talked about. It’s arrogant and disrespectful to any form of competition- I’ve seen a few fans saying the will no longer support the club. Boycott – the remaining games. Damms cares for one person – HIMSELF

@briparkin136: What is the actual age of the squad at present?? From what I’ve seen they are a young bunch anyway and have competed very well since I’ve watched them. Surely every player no matter what wage will want to play In highest league possible. Your only charging £3 could that go to £5?

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