Friday, 8 November 2013


News has reached The Cold End that Recreativo Romford FC of the Essex Sunday Football Combination Division One have folded after just a few months of the 2013/14 season. I spoke with Matt Dilworth who was the manager and goalkeeper of the side about the situation and the state of Sunday football at present. Matt has also played for Clapton and Sporting Bengal United in the Essex Senior League in the past.

Why has the team folded?
Ultimately we've folded due to commitment issues and organisational farce when I wasn't about.
During the summer we lost 6/7 regulars and just didn't replace them adequately. We even had to place adverts on the Internet for players just to have enough to start the season. The main reason though in my opinion is because it was no longer a "mates" team. When we started it was all mates, we socialised together, played cricket in the summer etc. We were all crying out for a football team and that's how it came about. When you're enjoying it and it's all you mates then the hassle that goes with running a team doesn't really bother you. However we lost that and ended up with half the team made up of people nobody knew. We had lads just not showing up at games, getting replies for availability back was like getting blood out of a stone, signing on fees didn't come and match day subs started to become "oh next week Matt". Then when I'd got teams together but wasn't there on a match day I'd just be hearing about what a farce it was with no team sheets and the 5/6 regulars started to get the hump putting themselves out for lads just not to show and I lost a bit of interest in putting myself out each week for those that couldn't care less. In addition our league lost a division and as a result we were "promoted" in to a division we were never going to be good enough for. It was a great shame it really was but when the enjoyment goes, there's no hope
When was the club formed? Best ever result? worst ever result?
It started in 2008. So we've not had a bad run. I'd say the best result would be our cup final win, 3-0 in front of a big crowd and we all went out afterwards. It was a great day. However there is one that always sticks in my mind... We played against an U21 side in the Essex Cup it was 1-1 and we had a man ridiculously sent off. Against a load of teenagers who thought they were a bit handy you'd have been forgiven for thinking we'd have been up against it. But we played out of our skin and scored two goals very soon after the sending off with great scenes of celebrations then a fourth near the death to win 4-1.
Worst result was when we got stuffed in a cup final 6-1, that wasn't great but we lost 7-1 a couple of weeks ago and that for me was when I knew we were struggling so it wasn't a great feeling.
What the most difficult thing about running a Sunday team?
Just organisation. You'd think that with 18-20 grown adults a quick reply to a text, being able to turn up on time or a call or text to say you're running late/can't make it wouldn't be too much to ask. I'm sure countless Sunday managers have the same problem. It's laughable really but that's how it was. Blokes needing 2/3 chasers a week for a reply, still chasing for money when grounds, leagues, FA's are chasing you... Time consuming to say the least.
What is the best thing?
The satisfaction of seeing people, your mates, enjoying themselves and being together. Be it a great performance or just that dressing room banter that you get when your with your mates. It was great at times, like the games mentioned above. When it went well there's nothing better.
How would you improve the game at this level?
Tough question this. Ultimately most will say costs. Pitches, kit, balls, water bottles, affiliations, fines, referee fees... It's not cheap and most forget or don't realise that. But I can't see how that'll ever change. Unless things can become more practical/cheaper then, I fear,  it's just a sign of the times. I do occasionally have gripes with the local FA. They're so far from reality sometimes in boggles the mind. Even down to small things like paying a caution fine turned in to hassle and threats of suspension all because of an innocent mistake.
I must say the league we were in, the Essex Sunday Football Combination, is excellently run so I have no issues with that side of things. In fact the support I've had from the committee was great and I've been left in no doubt that we'd be more than welcome back
Any chance of a Receativo Romford revival in the future?
I'm hopeful of starting again next season. I've already had a good response from my regulars as well as 5 or 6 of "old guard" who have all shown an interest. Just get the mates back together, regardless of age or ability, get in a lower standard league and just enjoy it, win or lose. None of us are going to play for England so It's about having a laugh and getting a run out. If we can get that enjoyment and enthusiasm back then maybe there is a future, but we'll see in the new year.
The Cold End's hopes to see 'Tivo return for the 2014/15 season. You can find the fixtures and results for the Essex Sunday Football Combination on the Football Association's Full Time page here - Essex Sunday Football Combination

No comments:

Post a Comment