President’s Message: Welcome to a new season beckons!
A very warm welcome to our new and returning Ashy club members.
It’s great to see all our players back on the pitch for season 2023. All competitions are now under way and it’s terrific to see players from Kick Off to Masters all having a kick in the Ashy green.
Last weekend was the start of our community competitions and our women’s first team campaign in State League 2. They started with a first up home win under new coach Dele Sanusi and captain Claire Salmon, although this week they came up against much sterner opposition!
Our Men’s First team in State League 3 notched up a home win on Saturday, which it makes six wins in a row. This is the best start to a league season for a long time under coach Zoran Tudor and Captain Matt Rastocic.
I encourage all our members to get out and support our women’s and men’s first teams – they are the pinnacle of our club and the committee is very proud of the way these young adults go about themselves on and off the pitch.
Elsewhere, our three Sunday Metro teams are up and running, along with our seven Masters teams, our JNPL squads have started their season after the challenging grading rounds, while all our community teams have also started their seasons. It’s been busy!
The committee and volunteers together with our club staff continue to work hard for all our members to provide the best environment for everyone. We had a major challenge with pre-season ground quality and allocations, which I thank everyone for being patient and understanding. The journey to improve our facilities roll on, as we continue to fight for council budget allocations and recognition with the decision-makers. I encourage everyone to contact your local politicians at state and local (Boroondara) level as we ramp up the lobbying for a home for our club after 44 years! I would like to acknowledge Cr Victor Franco of the Gardiner Ward for coming to meet with us in February and table our needs at the March Council meeting. The clubs budget submission to Boroondara Council is available for all our members to see. Please contact me or the club if you would like us to send you a copy.
The committee is also hopeful on securing better facilities for season 24 pre-season, and we hope to make an official announcement soon. Unfortunately, the lack of grounds this preseason has required us to hire more venues than we have budgeted for so our finances are tight again. Sylvia Hrelja (U16 JBNPL Mum) is our new Treasurer and she and our team are doing a great job in managing this tricky period.
I also want to acknowledge our major sponsor Belle Property and all the other sponsors for signing up again and supporting our club. Without our sponsors’ support we just would not be able to put on all the programs the club offers, so as members it is important that we support our sponsors and thank them. Steve Burke just sold my house and I am very happy with the team at Belle Property! Any referrals for appraisals to Steve will be appreciated by him and the team.
As at the end of April, we are forecasting that the club will reach almost 950 players and 70 teams. Last year was the first season for many on the committee. We have all learned a lot, and plan to do a full operational review over the coming months with a view to continuing to improve our service to our members. This will rely on more volunteers, so as I do every “President’s Message” please contact me if you have an interest in helping the club in the areas of team management, communications, public relations, legal, canteen management – just about everything and anything!
Special mention to volunteers John Pappas (U13 boys), Steve Andrinos (U14 boys and U17 girls), Joe Hastie (Senior Women’s), Ross Ashman (U16 JBNPL), James Tan (Men’s O45s), Toby Billington (Metro Men’s) and Matt Calf (U13 boys) all of whom I needed to personally rely on at some stage this month! One final thanks to Paul Crisp our Vice President who did an amazing job while I was away for most of February. A doyen of our club and we are lucky to have him at Ashy.
There is a lot to be excited about this year at Ashy! Have a great start to the season and I hope to see you all out on the grounds.