Just over 4 seasons ago Jay Roper joined us at “his" local club, one that he had watched as a lad with his dad, played for as a student, and been keen to coach at for some time. Today I am saddened but also in a way content in the knowledge that Jay’s decision to leave us in his own words “to learn the game” is one which will no doubt benefit Jay and unselfishly he leaves us with our 100% blessing. Jay has slowly, surely and professionally navigated his way through a series of positions leading to the U21 manager’s role over the past 2 years, taking on 1st team assistant manager and caretaker manager duties when called upon. Jay has won both trophies in the NMFDL U21 winning the league and cup and also runners up in each competition in recent years. I know his ambitions and I also know this young man needs constant challenges to try and benefit and develop himself, and I for one along with Brett and others wish him well. Jay feels that there is now in the NMFDL U21 league no meaningful challenge at this time. He may in the near future or whenever have new challenges and when or wherever that may be we wish him as we do those that may join him, the very best of luck.
With such an educational background and experience with University and U19/21 coaching and management experience, the non-league football scene does bring a whole new concept and series of challenges much different to the experiences that Jay has gone through, and we are sure that given a different environment to that of his home community club, he will soon gather the experiences that he says he needs to “understand the game more” at all different levels. Jay has explained to me what a difficult decision it has been to leave Staveley MWFC as he loves the club and the people around the place dearly, but that he “wants to move out of his comfort zone and be exposed to new problems and challenges”. The club wishes him the best of luck whatever that journey looks like.
We will jointly remain in touch for there is a reciprocal and mutual appreciation of the achievements within the Group and the statistics for this season indicate that it has been a success relative to the aims and objectives we set pre-season.
I had known that at some point in time Jay would wish to “branch out” and “learn” this non-league football for that is what he is like, he is a person wanting to take on board challenges and educate and develop himself and I am sure that within the next 4 to 5 years he will do exactly what it is he is setting out to try and achieve. I rate the lad so highly but this is about Jay and both I and the club are 100% behind him and his decision. We will share a beer and laugh together at our presentation evening this Friday – we hope so many will turn up to share the memories and wish this young man all the best with his future and enjoy the culmination of a season that sees our first team achieve its second best ever NCEL league placing and of course our U21’s best ever season.
Many thanks Jay – top lad. So what for the club structure now?
At the start of last season, we tried to rapidly enter the CMFL Reserves League. We weren’t ready administratively or procedurally. Now we are ready. Our strategy of offering a clear pathway of player progression from kids football to men’s football will be able to be navigated by the 3 main teams of U21, CMFL Reserves League and the NCEL first team. The CMFL reserves league - our target? Win it - to then enable CMFL Step 7 football to be at Inkersall Rd as soon as is practically possible. This season we have seen 33% of our first team be U21. The Step 7 stepping stone will allow a high number of youngsters to progress quickly and take a more structured progression to Step 5 men’s football that brings with it a change of environment and transition that many young lads struggle with. Many scholars at 18 years old when they get released from professional clubs struggle with the style of Step 5 football, it’s tough. We are aiding that player transition.
Football sees managers, players Charimen, owners and helpers alike come and go but our SMWFC/Trojans aims and objectives will not change. Personnel may change yes but its about the SMWFC/Trojans Badge – getting managers, players, helpers and everyone to believe collectively in the badge and our beliefs.
We are looking to recruit a CMFL Reserves manager and assistant and also a U21 manager and assistant for the forthcoming season. We are accumulating the lists of those players that wish to stay and those that the club wishes to retain, something which Jay is helping us out with as we speak. This has already started and the sooner we get these personnel, lists and knowledge of our squads for next season are in place the better. So any CV’s at the ready please for players and managers wanting to join us - email them to email@example.com.
So as one door closes another one opens with the World of football for young Jay Roper and of course our club. We are sure both will be successful. In Jay’s words ‘it’s a fantastic community club with a rich history of youth development, something I’ve loved being a part of and long may that continue.’
“Up The Trojans”
Terry Damms – Chairman – Staveley MWFC