Men for all seasons

Men for all seasons

Cowboy
Cowboy

July 13th, 2010, 7:22 am #1

Here we are on the brink of what is arguably the biggest season in the town's footballing history. On one hand, Runcorn Linnets - the Ziggy Stardust-like alter ego to Runcorn FC's Bowie for some, the culmination of 4 years of graft, sweat and strife for others. Then Runcorn Town grown up as a back street urchin of a club that's just been given a suit for its first day at work.

So what will the next few months bring? For the Linnets, the hard work starts here. The excitement of the first match (Urkey is going to burst before Saturday) will be replaced by the more mundane "business as usual". The energy and adrenalin that has driven the move to Halton Sports may be hard to muster on a cold December evening. The usual suspects will be there but they're getting no younger and it's essential that new blood is found and retained. Clubs like both Town and Linnets know no other way of existing. A solid 130 crowd with potential for 150-200 if they do well. On the pitch, most would say that Steve Wilkes has this season to do something. Two years of underachievement if we're honest. If he's out of the FA competitions before November I'd expect to see the back of him. It made no sense to be looking for a new manager AND have the ground on the go during the summer. I suspect Steve is under no illusions about his task but his player retention through the summer has been healthier than past seasons. A couple of bloody good centre halves would help though. Prediction? Top 10 this time and potential for a shot at a cup.

For Town, the brave new world. Lads that performed week in week out at West Cheshire level are stepping up a notch. A few old heads in the side with experience at higher levels will be invaluable. That maturity that was missing at vital times in the Linnets first season and in all honesty cost them the title. A vibrant social set up means they aren't quite as reliant on the gate income as the Linnets but maintaining 50-70 must be the goal...100 would be great. The ground compares favouably with many at that level and plans exist for further redevelopment. After years of relative success it will be interesting to see the strength of commitment and resources should a couple of results go against them. Prediction? Top 6 with an outside shot at promotion.

Good Luck to both teams and that both clubs are in the mix next April.
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Tufty
Tufty

July 13th, 2010, 8:49 am #2

Great post that Barry and the best of luck goes out to both Linnets and Town over the next season and beyond.
Its a big journey now for both teams.
Runcorn as a Town is in need of facilities for sport and the set ups at both teams are great foundations for developing football in the area.
Runcorn Football Club often missed a trick in not developing a youth team and reserve set up earlier, whilst Mond Rangers used to have an excellent youth set up, where the towns better young players often ended up.
What we have now, is two clubs who want to develop a structure, not just for now, but for the future and that is onlya good thing for football and sport in the area.

We can all talk about the old club as much as we want, but its gone now and went with the Canal Street bulldozers, although some will argue that its demise came a long time before then.
Its almost 10 years since Runcorn Football Club existed and a lot of changes have occured in that time. The focus should be on attracting new support to Linnets with the emphasis on the future, rather than the mindset of the old Runcorn FC and trying to attract past fans, many of who'm have long deceased or moved onto pastures new. Even in the last days of Canal Street the crowds were down to 300.

Once Saturday is over with, Linnets objective and focus should then turn to the footballing side of the club. The emphasis has been on develping a ground in Runcorn and in some ways, has probably allowed for the complacency to set in on the playing side. As has always been the case, the results on the pitch are a big pulling factor in attracting more people through the gates. Linnets results over the last two years havent exactly been encouraging. The job of attracting players is that little bit harder now, given the more humble facilities that the Linnets Stadium has to offer compared to Witton. The geographical change might also see a shift in the emphasis on the player side as well, especially given the current managers links with rural Lancashire.
Linnets emphasis must be on gaining promotion to the Unibond League and in reality, should have been one of the main agendas to compliment the move to Runcorn, especially in light of Runcorn Towns Vodkat league status.
There also needs to be an emphasis in getting new, younger people onto the board, people with a vision for the future, rather than a very tired foot in the past, ambition and drive needs to be forthcoming in order to progress the club.

It will be interesting to see how Runcorn Town do at Vodkat level.
One thing that Town hold an advantage over Linnets, is that their seems to be an emphasis on football rather than money. The curse of the old Runcorn FC, is now the curse of the new club, with the constant appeal for money. Supporters are treated as the proverbial piggy bank, rather than as loyal supporters. Town dont have that emphasis and focus and their admission prices reflect that. From speaking to people from Runcorn Town, you get a lot more community feel than you do from the vibe from Linnets. Perhaps a move to Runcorn will allow Linnets to develop on that front.

Hopefully over the coming seasons, Runcorn as a town will develop as a footballing town and we can all look forward to the return of big Cup days out and the non league footballing spotlight once again shining on Runcorn.
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david dutton
david dutton

July 13th, 2010, 9:30 am #3

Here we are on the brink of what is arguably the biggest season in the town's footballing history. On one hand, Runcorn Linnets - the Ziggy Stardust-like alter ego to Runcorn FC's Bowie for some, the culmination of 4 years of graft, sweat and strife for others. Then Runcorn Town grown up as a back street urchin of a club that's just been given a suit for its first day at work.

So what will the next few months bring? For the Linnets, the hard work starts here. The excitement of the first match (Urkey is going to burst before Saturday) will be replaced by the more mundane "business as usual". The energy and adrenalin that has driven the move to Halton Sports may be hard to muster on a cold December evening. The usual suspects will be there but they're getting no younger and it's essential that new blood is found and retained. Clubs like both Town and Linnets know no other way of existing. A solid 130 crowd with potential for 150-200 if they do well. On the pitch, most would say that Steve Wilkes has this season to do something. Two years of underachievement if we're honest. If he's out of the FA competitions before November I'd expect to see the back of him. It made no sense to be looking for a new manager AND have the ground on the go during the summer. I suspect Steve is under no illusions about his task but his player retention through the summer has been healthier than past seasons. A couple of bloody good centre halves would help though. Prediction? Top 10 this time and potential for a shot at a cup.

For Town, the brave new world. Lads that performed week in week out at West Cheshire level are stepping up a notch. A few old heads in the side with experience at higher levels will be invaluable. That maturity that was missing at vital times in the Linnets first season and in all honesty cost them the title. A vibrant social set up means they aren't quite as reliant on the gate income as the Linnets but maintaining 50-70 must be the goal...100 would be great. The ground compares favouably with many at that level and plans exist for further redevelopment. After years of relative success it will be interesting to see the strength of commitment and resources should a couple of results go against them. Prediction? Top 6 with an outside shot at promotion.

Good Luck to both teams and that both clubs are in the mix next April.
Both Barry and Tufty make very good points, it should hopefully be an exciting time for both clubs

Runcorn Linnets best season to date was certainly the debut season in NWCL, to some extent they have under achieved in the following seasons unfortunately. if they wish to justify charging £5 at the gate the product on the field needs to be a great deal better to keep a regular good level of attendance.

Runcorn Town is setting its stall out to attempt to attract crowds a much lower gate charge, and a very nice hospitable set up. Town also has a committee that has a wealth of knowledge from a committee that has played football, they have run a football club/clubs for many years. Town busy themselves in raising their own funding and have done a great job in upgrading their facility without outside finance or annual handouts

At the end of the day one of these sides will become the senior side in the town, one hopefully will go on to the unibond and beyond and one will become the second fiddle. Linnets certainly need to source a younger fan base they need a younger energetic board to drive them forward.....the linnets are severly limited here currently by a low trust membership.....which is dominated by a few families thus ensuring basically that nothing changes. the linnets certainly need to up their income streams and get away from the ideas that sunk runcorn fc

I wish both clubs great success for the coming season and future seasons
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runnerglyn
runnerglyn

July 13th, 2010, 10:08 am #4

Here we are on the brink of what is arguably the biggest season in the town's footballing history. On one hand, Runcorn Linnets - the Ziggy Stardust-like alter ego to Runcorn FC's Bowie for some, the culmination of 4 years of graft, sweat and strife for others. Then Runcorn Town grown up as a back street urchin of a club that's just been given a suit for its first day at work.

So what will the next few months bring? For the Linnets, the hard work starts here. The excitement of the first match (Urkey is going to burst before Saturday) will be replaced by the more mundane "business as usual". The energy and adrenalin that has driven the move to Halton Sports may be hard to muster on a cold December evening. The usual suspects will be there but they're getting no younger and it's essential that new blood is found and retained. Clubs like both Town and Linnets know no other way of existing. A solid 130 crowd with potential for 150-200 if they do well. On the pitch, most would say that Steve Wilkes has this season to do something. Two years of underachievement if we're honest. If he's out of the FA competitions before November I'd expect to see the back of him. It made no sense to be looking for a new manager AND have the ground on the go during the summer. I suspect Steve is under no illusions about his task but his player retention through the summer has been healthier than past seasons. A couple of bloody good centre halves would help though. Prediction? Top 10 this time and potential for a shot at a cup.

For Town, the brave new world. Lads that performed week in week out at West Cheshire level are stepping up a notch. A few old heads in the side with experience at higher levels will be invaluable. That maturity that was missing at vital times in the Linnets first season and in all honesty cost them the title. A vibrant social set up means they aren't quite as reliant on the gate income as the Linnets but maintaining 50-70 must be the goal...100 would be great. The ground compares favouably with many at that level and plans exist for further redevelopment. After years of relative success it will be interesting to see the strength of commitment and resources should a couple of results go against them. Prediction? Top 6 with an outside shot at promotion.

Good Luck to both teams and that both clubs are in the mix next April.
It is about time Non League football at a decent level returned not only to Runcorn, but to the Borough as a whole, Runcorn as a town has grown since Runcorn FC left Canal St to begin the rollercoater ride into oblivion, it is vitally important both the Linnets and Town hit the ground running in the Vodkat League in a few weeks time, but it is also important that the borough as a whole are aware of what is happening, Halton is one of the biggest boroughs in the UK, (if not the biggest, pop wise) without a football league club, with the right infrastructure, continued investment there is nothing to stop the borough achieving this in the next period, results on the pitch dictate major issues in fans minds as too where each club is heading, Runcorn can sustain two teams, i'm certain of it, there is a lot of folk who will not "shell out" £100 a chuck at a Premier League game taking the kids week in, week out, so it's down to the local Non League clubs to provide a good enough product to attract these people to games, both Linnets and Town are in a really good position to get the name of Runcorn back on not only the Non League football fans in the loocal area, but nationally.

Good Luck to both teams, and lets hope success can once again come back to Runcorn one way or another on the football pitch, it won't be easy, but there is everything to gain, for one or both of the clubs in the next few years, patience is the watchword, especially with fans of both teams, it will not be a crash, bang, wallop, win, win, win situation as we are aware football doesnt work like that.

Simon Burton & Steve Wilkes it's over to you.
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Urkey
Urkey

July 13th, 2010, 10:48 am #5

Good points made in all posts on this thread (a rare sensible thread in the making perhaps?) And Id like to echo everyones thoughts on wishing both clubs the best of luck for the future.
Some points I dont agree with though are the Linnets been knocked for taking advantage of grants (hand outs) etc. Get serious, Im pretty sure as and when Town are cleared to apply for stadia improvement grants they will do so, and hopefully get them, and whos to say if there ground wasnt privately owned the councill wouldnt have assisted there improvements?
Also stating the club target the same fans week in week out for cash is wrong. Look at the revenues raised from the latest sponsorship deals (millbank and select security) for our chairman to come out and say the club can budget for this season with the cash in place shows the millbank deal alone is a very good deal for the club.
Sure there are half time draws, easter draws, golden goal etc for fans to buy, if they wish, (they arent forced too!) on a matchday but thats nothing other clubs dont do, hell even premier league clubs have half time draws! As for the tote this is another revenue for the club where ticket sales are divided between people who watch Runcorn and people who dont, for example out of 1 place where I collect 55 sales every week, I would say less then 6 of those tickets come from people who watch Runcorn.
Its also all very well saying we need younger blood serving on the board but unless these people put themselves forward then it aint going to happen.
As for the current board, well when the club was reformed in 06 the clubs main priority was to get a ground in Runcorn...This has been achieved in 4 years....4 years! Look at the likes of Dartford and Brighton to see just how remarkable that is.
I will end by saying the 2 clubs involvement in non league football is a good thing abd can only bring positives to the wider community of Halton.
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david dutton
david dutton

July 13th, 2010, 11:13 am #6

very interesting 4 ex board members speak, plus a guy (tufty) who makes more sense than most
of course John any club should take advantage of grants that are available.......but it is totally incorrect that when council staff are losing jobs, cuts are being made everywhere monies are handed out to certain clubs each year. the clubs should survive on their own fund raising, not be subsidised by council tax payers

the refreshed board can only come from the trust membership.....i rest my case

runcorn linnets need to bring in new ideas regarding fund raising, up their game plan, football has moved on since canal street, both on and off the playing field. runcorn linnets cannot afford to fail, in Derek's words they have one chance they need to grab with both hands and move forward energetically with vision and hope. i sincerely hope they do, i would like to see every sports team, football, cricket, rugby etc in this borough playing at that highest sustainable level
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urkey
urkey

July 13th, 2010, 11:38 am #7

It Depends how you look at it David..
"very interesting 4 ex board members speak"
True, and all bar one (me) share the same veiws. However the other 3 had a very different experience to serving on the board than I did.
"..but it is totally incorrect that when council staff are losing jobs, cuts are being made everywhere monies are handed out to certain clubs each year. the clubs should survive on their own fund raising, not be subsidised by council tax payers"
Why? Speaking as a council tax payer I would prefer my taxes going towards schemes which benefit the community, just like the Linnets having there own base in the town will do, than going towards paying the (high) salary of one individual. Look at the NVQ courses the club is currently running for local youths, the start of many things to come I hope. Also the cost of running the land where the stadium is, is no longer an issue for the council, (savings!) and 1 empty building on the site is now been used to its full potential, again at no cost to the council, and could be of use to the local community now ie youth club, community centre.
"the refreshed board can only come from the trust membership.....i rest my case."
Not sure what your argument is, David, but again I state unless people put themselves forward then there cant be a "refreshed board".
"runcorn linnets need to bring in new ideas regarding fund raising, up their game plan"
Again I reffer you to the sponsorship deal, you yourself with your dealings with one major company in Runcorn knows how hard it is to secure any funding, let alone funding over a number of years.
" i would like to see every sports team, football, cricket, rugby etc in this borough playing at that highest sustainable level at that highest sustainable level"
Agreed.

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Tufty
Tufty

July 13th, 2010, 11:47 am #8

very interesting 4 ex board members speak, plus a guy (tufty) who makes more sense than most
of course John any club should take advantage of grants that are available.......but it is totally incorrect that when council staff are losing jobs, cuts are being made everywhere monies are handed out to certain clubs each year. the clubs should survive on their own fund raising, not be subsidised by council tax payers

the refreshed board can only come from the trust membership.....i rest my case

runcorn linnets need to bring in new ideas regarding fund raising, up their game plan, football has moved on since canal street, both on and off the playing field. runcorn linnets cannot afford to fail, in Derek's words they have one chance they need to grab with both hands and move forward energetically with vision and hope. i sincerely hope they do, i would like to see every sports team, football, cricket, rugby etc in this borough playing at that highest sustainable level
I dont think you can compare the Linnets stadium with that of Brighton etc.
Brighton are looking/building a stadium that would be state of the art, costs several million pounds and would accomodate 20,000+ people.

Linnets facility is based on a large helping hand from Halton council, who have been very clever in utilising avaialable grants to turn a run down facility, into a Unibond Standard ground. The Football Foundation have given £93,000 and a lot of items have been donated, including man hours.
The Linnets themselves have put in a minimal investment of £30,000. I doubt any club in the country has achieved such a set up at such little cost to the club itself.
The 5 month development time, shows that its not comparable with Brighton and I doubt there stadium will roll off the back of a lorry as two stands and simply slot into place.
Halton Council now have a facility thats worth a lot more than their £100,000 investment and a lot more than a unused rundown old Gym and playing fields that bring in little revenue to the council.

Thats not knocking Linnets, but you have to look at the overall college plan to see that it would have been a better long term investment, espcially in terms of off field revenue streams. But that development wouldnt have happened given the small amount raised and the overall funding needed.
The council had nothing to gain by matching the funding on that site.

What you have to remember, this is the same council and in the whole, the same bunch of councillors who helped to destroy the old club, failed to give any support when Runcorn FC needed it and turned down vital planning permission that would have secured the old clubs future for many years to come. Take a look at the failed retail planning application and the councils reasoning for knocking it back, then compare that to the developments of supermarkets in Widnes and the plans to allow a 3rd supermarket to be built some 200 yards from 2 already existing ones.
All for the sake of protecting and justifying the expenditure on the Halton Stadium, where once Runcorn FC arrived, found themselves once more stung over the rent, forcing the club out of not only Runcorn, but out of the borough of Halton.
Whats the betting that these same "Cretins" (To paraphrase one councillor back in 2001), all turn up on Saturday at the new facility, happy to take their free lunch and I bet you that some of the idiots in the Runcorn crowd will actually clap them and backslap them for their help in the new facility, rather than booing them and giving them the cold shoulder they deserve for their help in the downfall of Runcorn FC.
Its like applauding a drink driver who killed your relative, for deciding to give you a lift home in his car.

As stated, the Linnets board needs to progress, bring in fresh faces and ideas, but the coruption that was publicly exposed at the last elections went unpunisheed and will only put off more people from throwing their hats into the ring.

Football in Runcorn is looking stronger than it has done for many a years, but its still a long way further back than it was 10 years ago.
Furthermore, during this period of time, the access to live football games has become even more accessable and whilst top flight prices might be high to many, free games via the internet or your local pub make them a lot more attractive venues than £5 to watch a NWCL game and that will be the hardest job in converting people from sitting on front of a screen to standing on a cold terrace on a December afternoon.
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urkey
urkey

July 13th, 2010, 12:32 pm #9

I never said compare it with Brightons stadium Tufty. What I was getting at was how long it has taken Brighton and Darttford. You would imagine that a club further up the ladder with uncomparable cash incomes and who have even had there plight discussed in the houses of parliment would have been ecstatic with acheiveing there dream of a homecomming within 4 years.
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