Monday, 20 July 2015

OPINION: Northern NSW Football's struggle to keep things in order

I've been waiting to write this piece for a few weeks now and it seems it has a strong backing to be written. I've heard numourous complaints from NPL club, New-FM clubs, Zone league clubs, everybody! This isn't just something someone has said to me; this is mutineers coaches, players, club committee members, you name it. They've all given Northern NSW Football a downvote of approval.

Yes I was offered to do some temporary work with NNSWF and I enjoyed working alongside them at the recent FFA Cup qualifying weekend. However since then, I've turned down an offer to work for them in a prolonged temporary role that would have been a paid offer as well. 

I know I'm risking the chance to work alongside the federation by writing this but honestly it has to be done. I could write a long list (a very long list) of all the complaints I've had to listen to over the recent months but to be quiet honest, unless I had them all written in a notepad, I can't remember them all.

Number one would be the nature that Northern NSW oversee the New-FM competition. In their eyes I think they see the NPL and then see nothing else at all. Controversial wash-outs, a severe lack of communication and other issues plague Newcastle's second-tier football competition.

Just recently there was a fiasco of sorts surrounding the scheduled wash-out fixture between Wallsend F.C and Lake Macquaire City. I've heard a few accounts from both sides and the blame for what happened with that is resting firmly with Northern. One club member was forced to dial the personal mobile or a Northern NSW higher-up because they weren't returning calls from their Speers Point base.

Talking about the Speers Point base, what exactly is it that they do there. I've been told they've got more employees than ever before but the problems since they've moved to Speers Point have become greater. This isn't me rambling, this is direct from a senior club member at a prominent New-FM 1st Division club. I'm not naming names by the way.

I'd call you a liar if you told me Northern treated the New-FM 19's in the same regard they treat the NPL 19's. They simply don't. Unless you're one of the richer NPL clubs, you'll be forced to wait in line with everybody else, waiting for far too long for a result that just isn't good enough.

How about the NPL Youth competition? How about the double point games? How about Charlestown and Adamstown being declared a 0-0 draw and then a month later being re-scheduled and the ladders being changed constantly. It's the reason you don't see the coverage I give for New-FM and NPL given for the elite junior competition in Northern NSW Football. I can't keep up with it and I just grew sick of the various problems plaguing the fixtures in that comp.

I actually recalled yesterday at Lakes the time last season when Broadmeadow Magic came within a hair's breadth of being relegated to New-FM. Would Norther change the rules if someone like Magic or Hamilton went down. Would their juniors go back to Interdistrict football or would they be allowed to stay in the NPL Youth on a technicality. You know which one it'd be.

Don't get me wrong, Northern NSW Football do great community work.  Their Football5's competition is superb and some of the work they do for junior football is admirable. Once you hit the age of 18 though, forget about any cheap rego or any attention. 

At my club (Cooks Hill), Under 18's fees are around $180 or so. Turn 19 no move into the All Age competition and you'll be looking at $400+. I know junior football is highly important but it's the All Age guys who keep football ticking over. Park football is as important if not more important that the higher grades.

Let's talk quickly about the NPL. I support and technically work for Broadmeadow Magic but of course running this site I have to maintain some sort of independence. I can say with certainty that the rules Magic, Lambton and Hamilton follow are different to the rules enforced on South Cardiff and the likes. It's well-known facts.

A few times this season, Northern NSW have allowed teams to dictate when they a game to played in the New-FM. I'm not naming teams but I am saying that one New-FM team were accused of cancelling a fixture due to the Sydney FC v Chelsea game and a separate club were accused of trying to move a fixture due to Origin. If teams want to do this, then they should forfeit the fixtures...simple!

The number of wash outs this season has been unprecedented and I understand the struggles with dealing with re-scheduling fixtures and the likes but NNSWF's job has simply not been good enough. Of course the Emerging Jets would never be washed out and they play by a different rulebook to the rest but teams like Adamstown and Maitland have been constantly frustrated with the way the NPL Youth has played out.

I remember one fixture a few months back where an NPL Youth game scheduled for a Saturdday was washed out. The two teams agreed to play it on the Monday (being a public holiday) and the referees agreed to it. All was set to play it and then Northern didn't get back to the request. All those employees and yet no one could reply?

Just yesterday I received several complaints from a New-FM club about another team verbally harassing a 15 year old goalkeeper. This included parents, committee members and canteen staff, along with opposition players. I can't say if it was true or not as I wasn't there but I do know that if a complain was made to Northern, nothing would be done. Guarantee.

Northern have failed to get the job done and instead of keeping constant communication with New-FM clubs, they'd rather sit high and mighty at their new headquarters. 

I believe all NPL and New-FM goal scorers should be written onto a database where clubs can see it, where pundits like myself can see who's doing what in the competition. How hard would it be to go through the team sheets and do that? I'd do it if clubs sent me a team sheet for each game. It's something that the local Black Diamond AFL competition does very well. Every goal scorer for every game and that's in AFL where there's a tonne of goals every game.

How about the New-FM sponsorship of 1st Division. What does New-FM do to promote the game apart from a fifthteen second ad every now and then. It's not good enough. The publicity of the New-FM 1st Division isn't enough and that's why I put it ahead of the NPL on this site. My New-FM articles constantly get 300 views wheras my NPL stuff struggles to make 100 views. The demand is there.

I could go on all day but I'm on a lunch break at TAFE. I may add to this when I get home and go through some emails and what not but for now I think I've gotten a point. There's frustration around at a few clubs so I'm making a stand and saying, it's not good enough. Northern need to step up there game. 

I know Northern have some decent footballing people but the job they're doing isn't reaching the standards people expect. Step it up Northern!


  1. I was one of many spectators who witnessed that young goalkeeper get abused by parents, officials, canteen staff and players. It was an absolute disgrace to the club involved. And they did not stop at the goalkeeper others were abused as well. Shame on the club and shame on Northern for not stepping up their game and dealing with these bullies.

    1. Would you happen to be a neutral or were there for one of the clubs? I've been told Westy's side of the story and it differs a fair bit. At the end of the day, regardless of club, verbal abuse needs to stop in the lower grades.

    2. What was westys side of the story we had no reason to get abused they acted out of spite and hatred and also with the verbal abuse no only shoud it stop on lower grades it should stop full stop but well said ty

    3. There's a fair bit on it in the Facebook comments on the Newysports FB page but apparently they think your goalie faked an injury or took a dive, something like that. 1st Grade will generally have the crowd up in arms a bit more, that's what I meant by that. Yelling out 'you're ****' or something like that to a 1st grade keeper is fine in my opinion but yelling it out to a 15 year old isn't really needed.

  2. well said Ty, it has been a debarcle for 30 years, and will continue to be whilst incompetence exists.
    Football in NNSW is disgraceful, and well behind all other states, and organisations. As for the 12 million $ black hole, witnessing stick tape holding roof fascia, and gutters hanging off the grandstand roof, all metal used at facility rusting, 1 match ball at NPL games, and to top it off emerging jets plays injured, and the opposition team officials carrying the EJets player off, whilst the incompetent coaching panel sit and watch.

    1. There's just countless things that aren't done right. There's a lot more than what I said in the write up.

  3. well said young fella, pity you wont be working with these clowns in the future. On the Speers Point facility, it is a joke, no parking, shed built on the wrong side, $$$ as all F*^k I could go on about that one. I spoke with a director about why they didn't build on the other side into the hill that goes around lakes ground, that could have been stage one of a great complex with room to move, not now, hope they don't get any bigger no offices left now. cheers keep up the good work...

  4. Was given a tour of the facility and wondered the same thing. They should have taken a page out of Football NSW's book and look at what they've done with the Valentine Sports Complex in Sydney. NNSW Football are behind the times.

  5. I heard about your forum Ty and thought I would check it out. I more than most know exactly what goes on at NNSWF. From the nespotism to the arrogance of senior staff. What exactly does Alan Nisbet bring to the role? Why do they have a financial controller and a CFP to manage 17 staff and pay bills? When was the last time Peter Haynes attended a community football game on a Sat monring? That facility is a white elephant and they ran out of money. They had no forecasted projections to make it sustainable and now they look to cut costs by cutting back canteen hours and making one junior staff person redundant whilst they pay a marketing manager to run the same ads 3 years running. You are spot on the mark. Go for it.

    1. Thanks for the support and for coming on here and giving an opinion. I don't need to add any of that to the article as it's right here in the comments to see. There's much more to it than even I know. I will disagree with one thing and say that Peter Haynes does a decent job as community manager. I know he goes out to clubs a bit and gives awards to volunteers and stuff like that. It's one of the rare things they do right in my opinion. I don't like naming people but I've heard a few complaints about Mr. Nisbet and his staff. I'm not in a position where I want to take personal shots though so I'll stay out of that. The whole NNSWF need to improve across the board.

  6. brilliant article like usual,hope you continue to write for newysports as i very much enjoy reading your match reviews,previews and opinion pieces. i am a player in newfm and i played npl last year and i have to say the amount of talent in newfm that noone knows about is amazing. in the 17s and 19s especially, except for maybe magic,hamilton and the other big clubs the standard is no different. if you put south cardiff or charlestown into newfm i would be very surprised if they came top half in any grades. i am very much looking forward to next season newfm and watching either southy or charlestown losing every 2nd game in newfm

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