CleanSlate's 7th Season as a club has finally drawn to a close. It has felt like a long tough season with many positive and also disappointments to consider. I want to focus on the positives first of all and i have to start with the fact Downs Barn finally hosted ALL 6 CleanSlate FC teams. All 3 adult teams played their matches here as did 3 youth teams. We have experienced the problems of redecorating the pavilion ready for the new season, arranging a regular maintenance schedule to cope with the pitch usage, suffering from waterlogged & frozen pitches. However we enjoyed a cosy cafe to serve hot drinks and refreshments for parents and players, newly decorated changing rooms and pavilion to renew what was an abandoned facility, created a regular positive influence within Downs Barn as the local football club and attracted more local players. I've loved the fact Downs Barn feels more like home and although there is much work still to do, it is refreshing to know that 10 years down the line CleanSlate will still be at Downs Barn as an ever growing presence in the community.
Another Positive to 2016-2017 was the creation of our U8's team. It's always great to see young players developing and coming up through the ranks and despite CleanSlate only having a youth set up for 3 seasons, it's impressive to see how our younger youth section has grown tremendously. Our U9's experienced great improvements this season with the spring/summer season seeing only 2 losses in 11 games which is great to see in only their 2nd season as a team. We are expecting great things from our U8's & U9's next season with more positives, improvements and success to come. Our U14's saw manager Dave Evans step down after 7 years and Matt Parr take the reigns of the team. despite a Rocky season, The team has been able to end on a high winning All 4 of their last 4 games comfortably with Alf Sicorello and Darren Turney taking the helm. Next season they step up to U15's and i am confident Alf will do a great job steering a very talented team towards silverware and league titles.
For our reserves team 2016-2017 has seen them compete and play the best they have done in the team';s history. As we all know being reserves manager is a tough job and when you have players shining bright, the 1st team pinch them and step them up. Erind Hoxha managed his first season as a manager with great success and was able to solidify a core bunch of players early on and provide enough players to have 3-5 subs each week. The reserves have pulled together and ended the season with more wins and draws than ever before. Subject to a few anomalies, most games have been very close and they have competed and taken points off of so many teams regardless of league position. Erind is looking forward to managing again next season and sets his sights on a respectable top 5 finish with the players he has.
Our 1st team have suffered a long and tough season. The league has seen the addition of several new talented teams like St Neots, Enfield, Thame Rangers, MK Gallacticos and existing teams have also improved. On top of the added competition, we have experienced a general lack of commitment from most players every week due to work, life, injuries etc. This has made it hard to build a core 14 players to build a team unit upon and bring consistency into the games. This has resulted in playing over 58 players throughout the season and the team not being able to play the same team sheet twice. Despite the talent the team has we have learned throughout the season that it's easier to build a team upon committed average players week in week out than talented players that can't necessarily commit every week. This season has also seen Darren Turney manager of 7 years hand in notice that he will be stepping down at the End of the season. UEFA B Qualified duo Ade Olorunfemi and Sam Fatoba will be managing the team together from next season with pre-season trials starting on 17th June at Downs Barn.
The veterans experienced not as much success as their first ever season last year with a few of the core players from last year finding it hard to make all of the games. however Chris Ball plodded on and gathered more players to bolster the team and they ended the season on a high with a well earned point and a narrow defeat both to good teams. Chris is keen to make a statement next season by getting tougher with his players and challenging for the league once again like 2015-2016.
All in all it was a mixed bag for the club with plenty of positives off of the pitch with the Downs Barn Facility improvements but on the pitch not a lot of silverware to boast about. The club are still very please with how all teams have got on this season and are eager to see them all develop and improve next season. It's an exciting time at the club and i'm confident we will see more achievements and silverware next season.
Promoting Football, Trusting GOD,