Welcome to Winter! Whilst the spirit and performances of our teams remain strong, the quality of our pitches is not at the level that this fantastic club requires or deserves to create great experiences “on and off the pitch”.
I wanted to start and acknowledge all our members that have put up with the poor playing conditions, cancelled or rearranged training sessions, and probably a fair bit of ribbing from rival clubs!
The committee had decided early on to commit to alternative venues as far as practicable to provide as much opportunity as possible for our players to play. Our staff have worked hard trying to put our players on the park and we know this has sometimes been frustrating with late fixture and venue changes. While no comfort for season 2023, we are making some real progress with Council with respect to improving our facilities with some recent commitments as follows:
- Upgrade to Dorothy Laver West pitches to be ready for season 2024
- Upgrade to Ashburton Park oval to be ready for season 2024 and
- Lighting upgrade for Warner Reserve
We are also looking to secure preseason venues which we hope to make official announcements next month.
Council’s recent commitment to some of our venues has been the result of a lot of work by the club over many years. We are hopeful that a major renovation of Warner Reserve in line with our ground and facilities improvement plan will be committed to in time. This was the subject of our submission to Council as part of its budget process which I have attached a copy of our submission AUSC-Submission-to-Council-Budget-2023-24.pdf
A lot of this positive momentum was due to our members writing to their local (Boroondara) councillors and expressing concerns regarding our club’s grounds and facilities. I want to thank those members that took the time to do this and encourage others to do the same. It really helps.
I also want to make special mention of Cr Victor Franco and Cr Gary Thompson. They have listened to us and advocated on our behalf for improving our sporting facilities in their wards.
Despite the challenges, this year our club has registered over 1000 playing members for season 2023 with over half our players under 13. Importantly, our female cohort continues to grow and this year we have great representation across junior girls, senior women and our wonderful women’s Masters. Of note, we were very excited to announce the appointment of Patrycja Salwa who will oversee the development and growth of female football at our club. Patrycja holds a UEFA B license, has a Masters in Sports and was an accomplished player in the Polish Championship!
In fact, this is the highest number of members for quite a while, particularly since the Covid interruption. However, this growth has put pressure on us organisationally. Moreover, the state of the grounds has meant that we need to hire additional venues, which has also put financial pressure on this year’s accounts. Despite the challenges, we remain fully committed to doing all we can to help people play our great game. Looking ahead, the committee will undertake a review in coming weeks to determine what further improvements we can make for season 2024 and beyond. As always, we need as much help as possible and we will be “advertising” for volunteers in readiness for season 2024. So, if you think you might be able to help, please let me know!
Finally, Football Victoria released this message regarding the number of unsavoury incidents and altercations that are occurring at football matches in Melbourne. I want to support Football Victoria’s stance on this issue. There is no room for poor behaviour or insulting officials. We all have a duty to make sure we are creating good environments for all to enjoy the beautiful game. Let’s make sure Ashy remains on the right side of these incidents and that we continue to observe our mantra of ‘Winning with Grace, and losing with dignity’.