South Sefton College Student, Jennifer Cunliffe in conjunction with the Clubs Media Programme has interviewed Club Chairman Don Rimmer.
South Sefton College Student, Jennifer Cunliffe in conjunction with the Litherland Media Programme has interviewed Litherland Remyca Chairman Don Rimmer. Don, who has not given too many interviews as yet letting the club itself do the talking, spent a couple of hours with Jennifer at South Sefton Sixth Form College to discuss wide ranging subjects ranging from the clubs origins, to the clubs current form and long-term future.
So, it’s over to Jenny……….
What do you see as the core values of the Club?
“I think at the moment it’s important to take stock and look at the amount of kids playing football, there have been a lot of changes culturally and socially and the amount of young people, and older for that matter taking part in sport has changed dramatically. That’s because there are a lot of other things on offer, new technology seems to occupy more attention and numbers participating in the national game has dropped, as have the facilities in which to take part as such. We want to be there as part of the community to offer football to people of all ages, all abilities and both genders. We want people to look at us as an access point to sport.”
What are your expectation for the club off and on the pitch? Do you think they’ve been met in your opinion?
“My expectations for the club are for it to develop. Whether this be through growing numbers of teams, or the ability to offer sports in the community, development is a key. I also want to make the community aware of the fundraising events we have here at REMYCA. We’ve recently held a charity match for Shae Preston to help raise money to get him a new physiotherapy vest, Shae, the son of one of our strikers, Andrew Murphy, suffers from a severe form of Cystic Fibrosis. The Physiotherapy vest gives him a better quality of life and the players, supporters and the community really came through for the lad. At REMYCA we support the worthy courses and aim to help the community where we can. As for on the pitch, we are comfortable at non-league level, and have high hopes for our mid table postion. We’ve made good progress in the year so far.”
How has the season gone for you on the park so far?
“It’s been good with our current position of mid table consolidation but we are heading into the last quarter of the season with ourselves still just about in the mix in the league. As a first team though directly on the park we are doing well, it is our first season in the non-league pyramid, we got off to a slightly disappointing start and it was something that we as a club looked at and addressed with a managerial change and we have settled and moved on. We are more than holding our own in the division and we have assembled a good squad, good playing ethos and have cause for continued optimism. On other pitches our number of teams have grown, and with the 18 coaches in our club REMYCA is viable option for parents if there child wanted to join a team. The intake so far this year with South Sefton College has grown rapidly, giving us a community/college link which is very important to us. Some people have come to the club from South Sefton College because of this link, which is just an example of how we are getting ourselves out and known in the community. ”
Has the weather situation in the recent weeks been frustrating? Has it effected the clubs results in anyway?
“The bad weather has meant that the season is constantly stopping and starting. Matches are being cancelled and rescheduled often, and this has affected the results of team. The cancellation of matches and training has affected us profit wise too, as arranged transport and food we had prepared wouldn’t sell, so we’ve lost profit here. I think a mid-season break should be brought in during the winter months to prevent the troubles us and other clubs have been having.”
What do you think of the introduction of the playoffs?
“The introduction of the playoffs have been a big success for the team. Any club ranked 1st to 14th has a chance of taking control of the board. If we do well, mid-term teams could have a chance at winning. We are definitely the dark horses of the league”
What have you got in place for the summer gap to keep the clubs momentum going?
“The club is very much about development, during the summer weeks we are determined to develop our place in the community by opening up workshops for lads and girls from the development group stage ages 7+ up to under 21 to get some experience in playing and young people active in coaching groups. The workshops will run for about 3-4 weeks before we invite for pre-season training. This gives us the opportunity to improve our community voice by inviting member of the community to get involved with the club, as well as spreading awareness and to help develop the skills of the under 21’s for next season. We will also be offering coaching groups for girls and ladies. We are developing squads throughout the club as well as bringing coaches on board and gaining them coaching qualifications. Although it’s off season it doesn’t really end for us, we will be active throughout in one way or another as well as building up to the new campaign. We have developed a commercial brochure which we will be sending out to a lot of companies, that is a first for us at this level but we are offering that as well as developing business relationships. There are other commercial avenues available to us, we are looking at a Sportsmans dinner as well as community events so lots will be going on.”
Are you happy with the clubs facilities? For example do you see the Sports Park as a long term residence?
“It’s our first season in the non-league set-up for us although not our first at the Sports Park, it’s our fourth season here. We have a rolling deal with the facility at the moment and as things stand it is working well for us both but as a community club and a development society we are determined to build our own facility, sooner rather than later. The park is a local authority facility so other sports do have a claim on it as well so in some respects we can have our hands tied with what we can and cannot do here. We are committed to supporting it though, we have built facilities there which will remain after we have gone but at the moment these are signs of our commitment and support and we hope that at some point we will get some support too when it comes to the process of finding land and getting a stadium up. There are other benefits too, we are known at the ground and we’ve had a recent raise in the number of ground hoppers since we’ve came to our new ground with our status. People from places as far as Scotland and Devon have travelled to come and see what REMYCA has to offer. This is great for promoting the club and getting our name out there.”
Has the Litherland community bought into the fact that it has a team on it’s doorstep?
“Yes and no, some are familiar with us from when we played at the lower level but the numbers that we have attracted have varied greatly. We average 58 at the moment but we have had gates that range from 20-odd to 140+, but there are factors that greatly affect this. The weather being one that I have already touched on, other clubs are already established in the local area so we are competing with them. Saturday afternoons are good but when the weather is unpredictable and there could be as many as three clubs looking for the local fans at the same time so we have to look at other initiatives. Friday night football is something that has been successful for not just us but for other clubs and this is something that we are looking at. We also have scope for leaflet drops and promotions within local community groups, so we will get there, we have Litherland proudly displayed on our badge and on our shirt and we think when local people get wind of that they will back us even more than they do now.”
What about the future?
There is good cause for optimism on many fronts, we are new to non-league and the pyramid but we are a club that have been around since 1959, we are now in a position though where our exposure has mushroomed, we have a much higher profile and people are starting to know about us, fans, media and journalists alike. We are in constant communication with Sefton Council, Liverpool County FA are aware of us and our intentions in conjunction with our development plan and we are pushing forward with our plans to look for land and develop in conjunction with our business partners, The FA and other agencies a new Community facility stadium to carry the name of Litherland Remyca into the next 50 years. It is not easy, no-one said it would be but for us it is something that we will be doing all that we can to bring to fruition. We are a club that want to continue to provide community football from the development ages to the vets, when we have our stadium we can do it under our own terms.”