Pete Smurthwaite: It’s the end of a long season…

What a really good end to our league season last Saturday, a really good atmosphere very much helped by the large contingent of kids with their parents coming from Maltby for what is now hopefully a regular event with the weather being a lot better than the “Beast from the East” cold snap last year. I know the Bridlington and Maltby kids really enjoyed the penalty shoot-out competition at half-time with Bridlington winning the trophy back after last year’s defeat.

What a great advertisement the game was for Northern Counties East League with the quality of the goals and football from both teams and the victory ensured a third place finish for our team after a difficult spell in March we recovered really well. It has also given Maltby a very respectable finish in the league again this season which is a credit to their committee and Managers and prove they are a very well run club. We even had a “de-brief meeting” in the Revelstoke Hotel in Bridlington on Saturday night with some of their committee to discuss how well the game had gone over a few beers.

We held our end of season presentations after the game on Saturday which was well attended and also thanks to our match sponsors who also stayed to support the lads. It was also good to see every player stayed for the presentation and some well-deserved awards were handed out. I don’t envy Brett Agnew who had to drive the minibus back to Hull and the surrounding area with the players in a “merry state” having done the post presentation trip several times myself in the past.

All credit to Brett, Anthony Bowsley, the physios and all the players for their efforts this season in achieving that third position in what is a tough competition league. I understand there will be a re-organisation of the leagues at this level next season where the top three teams will be promoted. Continuity is important at this level of football so Brett and Anthony will continue to manage the team and despite the usual “cherry picking” of our best players I trust our players will stand by this club with us having looked after them so well again this season. I was disappointed that some of our players left at the end of the season last year with the promise of more money only to find that “all that glitters is not gold” then found themselves without a club and the “promised gold”.

This season has been the best ever whilst I have been at the club for match day sponsors and other sponsorship generally and people have already put their names down on the list for next season’s game and fans are already asking about season passes. I thank all our other fans for the support this season which has increased again and makes running this club a lot more satisfying for myself.

We now have the one remaining game on Wednesday 1st May 2019, the E.R.C.F.A Senior Cup final at the Roy West Centre, Inglemire Lane, Hull Kick Off 7.00pm. This used to be a really big occasion when the final was at the KCOM stadium but now it is just another game and I will continue my lone fight next year to see if it can return to the KCOM stadium for the good of local football. Every team that enters this competition does so in the hope they can get to the final and play at Hull City’s ground and this year there has been no reason given as to why it is not at the KCOM. Yet again we requested a later kick off as we did for the semi-final for a 7.45pm kick off but again this has been refused, we now have two players who are unable to make it because they work in Sheffield yet it is no problem for the Hull City squad who are all full time professionals and trainees and are actually playing at their home ground (Unusual for a final!!)

I have subsidised the cost of a coach from Bridlington to bring some of our fans who have difficulty in parking a mile from the ground and getting to the kick off on time. Imagine if the FA decided to hold the FA Cup Final at Leyton Orient because they could not afford to play at Wembley.

I am proud to be on the committee of the East Riding County Football League which is one of the best leagues in the country which has maintained most of its divisions and member teams despite losing teams to the Humber Premier League a few years ago when other leagues have reduced greatly or even gone out of existence.

One of the great attractions for this league is that their four Cup Finals are played at a stadium, Bridlington Town by coincidence!! Eight teams are looking forward to what they see as a great occasion (not just another game) and a day they will always remember on the 11th and 18th May this year. Even my own son Brendon runs a team, West Hull AFC in this league and they have been trying for several years to get to a final at this “Old Mans” ground. For a team such as “Souths FC” who are in Division 5 to play at Queensgate, Bridlington is great motivation for clubs to do well in County League and what a great “occasion” for them to end the league season. We have already had six cup finals from the East Riding Youth League in the past month and to see the response from those kids to playing at our ground brings a smile to everyone’s faces, winners or losers.

The governing body of football are here to facilitate the playing of the game and give all levels of football the chance to excel themselves to want to play at the highest level they can and not get bogged down with Laws, Rules and bloody red tape. See you all next season and remember never accept second best.

Yours in Sport
Peter Smurthwaite
Bridlington Town AFC

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