Departing Sec says: 'You've not seen the last of us'
- Saturday, 07 July 2012
- Written by Mick Cork
Somewhat later than I’d intended, largely due to my recent, very enjoyable holiday, I’ve got round to passing on our retiring – but never shy – secretary Neil Pilcher’s comments on the Ryman League Annual Meeting which took place at Brighton early in June (writes Mick Cork).
It was, of course, one of his final duties on behalf of the club.
Pilch, as most of us know, of course, has decided to stand down after many years service to Invicta with his wife, Sally, also giving up her role as head of boardroom hospitality.
In their respective roles Neil and Sally have become among the best known faces connected with Folkestone Invicta FC – especially so far as other clubs, in our league and beyond, are concerned
Pilch said: “It was probably one of the most straightforward AGMs that I’ve been to with most of the proposals accepted without too much discussion.
“As you will have guessed, probably the biggest news was that each division will be increased to 24 clubs (from 22) for the 2013/14 season.
“To do that, the Premier Division will this coming season (2012/13) only see two clubs relegated but with two teams promoted from the North and South Divisions, so four up, two down will cover the requirement there.
“In the North and South sections there was a little bit of surprise as the bottom clubs in each will still be relegated with the shortfall made up by promoted clubs - which means eight clubs being promoted from the feeder leagues.
“It wasn’t actually made clear how that will be done but I guess it will be a natural selection process once the teams are known.”
One of Neil’s very pleasant duties at the Ryman get-together was to pick up the Southern Division Golden Boot on behalf of our top goalscorer Stuart King.
That was awarded jointly to Stuart and Bognor’s highly prolific former marksman Jason Prior who joined Conference National outfit (and our old adversaries) AFC Wimbledon midway through the 2011/12 campaign.
Pilch commented: “We thought that Kingy did well scoring the number of goals he did despite missing quite a bit of the season due to injury, but Prior had actually played two fewer games!!”
He added: “Stuart was also voted into the South Division Team of the Season, so I picked up a medal on his behalf for that too.
“This is a new, and I believe welcome, initiative from the Ryman League where they asked the respective club managers to vote for their Team of the Season much as the Premier and Football Leagues do.
“They had to name a goalkeeper, four defenders, four midfielders and two forwards without using any from their own club.”
(Full details of the ‘chosen ones’ for all three divisions can be found on the Ryman League website.)
On a personal note, Pilch says he was surprised and humbled by the number of rival clubs’ officials and managers who spoke to him during the evening having heard that he and his wife were stepping down.
Neil said: “A few even asked if Sally and I would be interested in helping at their respective clubs, but as I explained, we haven’t fallen out with anyone, we just need to take a bit of a break.
“We will still go to as many games as possible - to be honest I think they wanted Sally’s catering skills rather than my secretarial ones!!”
Many a true word spoken in……….!
Neil’s successor is our long-time programme editor Richard Murrill who should not be short of advice as Pilch promises to be available to pass on one or two nuggets from his vast experience if called on.
He said: “I have offered to help Richard if he gets stuck with anything.
“I certainly wouldn’t want him floundering and getting worried that he has done something wrong.
“I know that Elaine Orsborne has also been great in helping him already.”
(Ms Orsbourne, also has considerable experience of football club admin, having been secretary of the old Ashford Town Football Club for many years as well as providing back up for Pilch at Cheriton Road in the past couple of seasons).
Neil continued: “The Ryman League themselves have also said they will help with any questions if necessary, though I’d be surprised if Elaine or I can’t provide the answers, so I think all bases will be covered one way or another.”
After once again stressing that no behind-the-scenes fall-out led to either his or Sally’s decision to take a richly deserved, and possibly even overdue, break, Neil concluded by promising that neither he nor his long-suffering wife will become strangers at Cheriton Road.
He insisted: “I’ve told everyone at the club that although I’m no longer secretary I’m not just going to walk away and leave them in the lurch.
“Sal and I are still hoping to see all the games if possible so that will be as supporters who want to see the club do well.
“But I must say that it will be nice to arrive at games just before three and leave straightaway afterwards if necessary - though Cugs says we’ve got to stay behind sometimes and have a beer!!”
Or several, we’ve no doubt.
Last Updated on Sunday, 08 July 2012 08:16