It was early August 2010 when my 2 boys asked if they could start playing for a football team, having previously been going to a football coaching set up.
I searched the net, and found a contact for Churchdown Panthers, and we got invited down to the ground for a training session, but there was no coach for the Under 8s. My youngest got under way with Dave Biddlecombe in the U7s, and my eldest joined in training with the U9s. At this point, Dave Gent introduced me to Lorne and Lana Plemel who were to take up the U8s for the coming season.
Lorne gave me a few flyers and asked if I would help out with training in the coming weeks. We duly took some flyers around the local schools.
One week later, I arrived at training. Lana told me that Lorne had been called away for work, and.................... 20 kids turned up!!!!!
My thanks are to Dave Gent at this point, who helped me out with some training routines, and we were up and running.
Our first friendly was at home against Leckhampton and we won 4-2, from being 2-0 down... all going well!! We kept up training through to December time, when Lorne was advised of his posting to Afghanistan, starting January 2011.
We have continued to grow, since starting together as a brand new team. A few players have come and gone, yet we have sustained 20+ players all season, and have 23 registered right now. We have had some ups and downs this season. Moments spring to mind like being invited to Cheltenham Town and being well beaten, to the "total football" goal scored away at Highnam, to the hammering at home by Abbeymead, to the 6-1 win at home against Swindon Village etc.
It has been quite a season, yet really enjoyable. It is remarkable the support that we have had this season. I would like to thank every parent that has stood out in the wind and rain, collected cones, constructed and destructed goals and above all supported the kids. However, special thanks need to go to Lorne and Lana Plemel (without whom we may not have got started), Dave Hunt, Dave Carter, Richard Fernandes, Lee Hanman, Gary Barnes and James Leathem-Pugh, who all have pulled on a pair of shorts at some point to help out. Thanks everyone.
Next season presents a different challenge!! At Under 9 age group, we now enter the Cheltenham Youth Football League, and play football for real :).
We have registered 2 teams for the league:
Churchdown Panthers - To be managed by me.
Churchdown Panthers Colts - To be managed by Dave Carter.
Thanks to Dave for taking up the challenge of managing a team next year, and we will both need all the coaching support as we have had this year.