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  • Writer's pictureLuke Johnston

A Christmas message from our Chairman.

It’s the season for goodwill, joy, and spending time with loved ones. On behalf of Whitehaven AFC Committee, Directors, and staff I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2023.

The past year has been filled with ups and downs, as a football community and wider community. It’s been heart-warming to see how we have all stuck together, there’s a real family spirit in grassroots football and that has constantly shone through

It’s important, as much as we celebrate with loved ones to also remember those who we have sadly lost. We lost Darren Buchanan earlier in the year, the club and local community was shattered when Darren passed unexpectedly. In addition to being a clubman, community volunteer and coach, Darren was so much more than that. He was an inspirational person with a heart of gold, he was a friend, and he was a loving dad to Jack, Hannah & Sophie, and wife to Juliet. I’ll be raising a glass to Darren this Christmas and hope you will join me.

We also latterly lost a large supporter of the club and what we do in Cumberland FA Chairman Fred Conway. Fred was football mad, and a huge believer in grassroots football. His legacy lives on, I do hope his family take comfort in knowing just how much Fred was loved and how many hearts he warmed across our community.

We’ve seen numerous changes and improvements at the club this year. Our Ladies First Team entered the 11V11 Lancashire League. They have over performed and are currently sitting top of the league with 3 points clear. The commitment and devotion of the players and coaching staff has really put our ladies’ team on the map. Well done ladies, I can’t wait to see you go from strength to strength in the new year.

Our Mens first team are also performing fantastically, so much so that we have started to take steps towards our long-term plan of promotion. This isn’t something we want to rush but it’s important we bare it in mind and ensure we are ready when the time comes. We are currently mid table with top of the league team Poulton and several other teams playing around 3 more games than us. I am excited to see what the new year brings. Well done to the players, coaches, and support staff.

Our youth teams are busier and bigger than ever. With 550 players registered to play within our youth teams. We have no gaps now, all the way from U6 Football right through to open age. It’s an amazing achievement, a special mention to all the coaches that make it possible. Football development has taken a huge leap this year, with football development and progress pathways now in place. We have held CPD Coaches sessions and continued with our mentoring programmes. The next year we’ll continue to focus on this.

Inclusivity is a huge part of what we do at Whitehaven AFC. This year we have seen the introduction of a Whitehaven AFC affiliated Walking Football Team. I am told the numbers are promising, it’s great to see the team train. I may even join them!

We continued our improvements this year, building on the huge refurbishment project we carried out in 2021 we have this year refurbished our ladies’ toilets and away changing rooms in addition to the continuous maintenance and replacement of outdated assets. Further improvements to the bar, and the busiest programme of presentation nights at the club in years!

2023 won’t be easy. With our bills rising and costs increasing we have a tough challenge ahead. We are already seeing all our utility bills, equipment and bar stock constantly rising. However, I know with your continued support and the sense of community we have, we will be just fine.

So, I am wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, prosperous 2023.

Luke X

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