What a weird and yet in some ways wonderful year it has been.
Going back to the January 2020, when we were successfully running the academy games programme and also the Friday night PDC tournaments, it was great to see the pitch full and also the quality of football on display in some very testing winter conditions. It was a credit to all involved.
The club received some great feedback from parents, players and coaches, not only from our club but also from the clubs that we invited to take part.
We had continued to plan these games and tournaments but along came the pandemic, the lock down and the uncertainty of what was happening…
The success of the senior team with the fantastic history making promotion to the Football League was well needed to put smiles back on faces in difficult circumstances.
With the promotion came a big change with the removal of the 3G surface which was replaced by the new grass surface. It meant we needed to find a new home for the PDC and the staff at the club worked tirelessly behind the scenes to secure St. John Fishers as our new venue.
We had a few teething problems at first but once everyone got into a routine, we soon sorted things out.
Covid meant we were unable to run the PDC for a few months and when we finally got the go ahead, I was told that I could no longer attend or continue with my other coaching duties with the club due to EFL and COVID guidelines regarding group bubbles.
I can't describe to you how much I have missed the juniors this past year but also speaking to parents about football or just a general chat.
In my absence, Josh Walsh took over as temporary head and with the help from all the other coaches, continued to keep the development centre running successfully. I'd like to thank Josh and the coaching team for the fantastic job they've done this season to get boys and girls playing the beautiful game and putting smiles back on faces.
We recently restarted the games programme and had some great matches against Darlington and Rotherham, and we'll also be looking to resurrect the PDC tournaments for next season.
Finally, I'd like to say to all you guys whether you're a player, parent, carer or dropper offer, a massive THANK YOU for your patience and amazing support in these testing times.
I can't wait to see you all in September but until then stay safe and take care.
Head of PDC, Phil Priestley