Fantastic news from the management trio has come through. Ben Oakman has signed from Bexhill. Tony says 'Tonight we’re delighted to announce the signing of Ben Oakman who was with Bexhill United FC last season, Ben will provide competition for our number 1 Matt Cruttwell (who incidentally has advised us he’ll be rejecting an approach from Bexhill to go in the opposite direction). We’re obviously very pleased with the addition of Ben to the squad he will provide excellent competition for Matt although in the short term he’s focussing on work. Having 2 young keepers of the quality of Matt and Ben will give us a massive boost for the coming season and we’re looking forward to seeing them push one another for the number 1 shirt.
As you can imagine we’re very pleased with how things are shaping up, not only on the pitch, with all of last season’s squad putting pen to paper and a number of lads rejecting overtures from other local clubs but also with our overall structure and are extremely pleased that again despite approaches from other local clubs both John Holland and Mason Ponti have decided to remain with us this season and continue their excellent work at the club.
The addition of Ben and Chris Sanderson along with Joe White, Lee Wood and Gordon Cuddington to last season’s squad and the exciting blend of U18’s we have means that we’re well placed going into our pre season friendlies
That's the entire squad from last season and 5 fantastic additions. NOt a bad start to pre-season people.
Westfield FC are delighted to confirm the continuation of the sponsorship from nationally renowned Christmas Tree specialists Little Down Christmas Tree Farm who are based in Westfield for the 2011-12 season, this is the second full season that the two parties have been associated together and we are delighted at the prospects of continuing this relationship. In addition to sponsoring the first team home kit they will also sponsor the warm up tee shirts for the first, second and U18 teams.
First Team Joint Manager Tony Harris expressed his delight after concluding negotiations “finding a sponsor for a local football club in the current climate isn’t easy so to be boosted by the continuation of our relationship with Jon Baker and all at Little Down Farm is a great piece of news, I’m delighted at the prospect of the lads having a new kit for the coming season and also the fact that the sponsor is a local company located in the village”.
Discussions are ongoing with other interested parties for new kits for the Reserves and Under 18’s as well as club wear sponsorship for all 3 teams and advertising boards/programme adverts etc, interested parties should contact Tony Harris on 07545 813535.
Tony, Dunc and Mat are pleased to announce the signing of talented young midfielder Chris Sanderson from Bexhill. Dunc said ‘We’re absolutely over the moon about bringing Chris onboard. We tried to sign him last season when we brought across Jim (Gatcum) and Sam (Willett) but Chris opted to try his luck at Bexhill. He’s a very strong technical player and with Chris, Jim, Gordon and Sam we have four incredibly strong young midfielders, and when you complement them with Sam Winter and Josh Eaton you begin to see the depth in this team and how competitive the squad will be. We’re incredibly excited about working with this young group of players this season and trying to get them playing the kind of football we want to see at The Parish Field.’
The management trio are over the moon to welcome two superb local young talents to the youthful Westfield squad as well as the welcome return of experienced defender and member of the Westfield 'All Time' XI Lee Wood.
The management trio had this to say on the subject;
No sooner has the season finished than we’re back into pre season training and with a start date of 11 June this year it’s certainly come round a lot quicker than normal!!!
However, there’s a reason behind the early start date and that’s because we want to ensure that we’re fully organised and playing the game in a certain way, we plan to run team shape sessions throughout pre season and have been focussing on this throughout the early sessions.
Another plus point starting before everyone else is that it gives new players that are looking at new clubs for the coming season the chance to have a few sessions with us without the distraction of other teams chasing them. We want to ensure that our players are being coached in a certain way that delivers success this season and the lads have all enjoyed the sessions to date so much so that we’re delighted to confirm that the entire squad from last season has committed to the coming season and already put pen to paper.
We’re also delighted to confirm the additions of 3 high profile county league signings with Gordon Cuddington and Joe White joining from Bexhill United and Lee Wood returning from his season at Little Common, all 3 will be great additions to us as we look to challenge for trophies this coming season and bring a great deal of quality and competition to the squad. We’ve had a number of other new faces join us for pre season training and I’m hopeful that we’ll be announcing further signings in due course.
In addition to this we’ve a really exciting crop of youngsters that will compete in the Sussex County Youth League this coming season and I’m confident that our U18’s will do very well, this will also be evident in our reserve team where these youngsters will be blooded and then push on to compete for places within the front side, early evidence of this was seen at the back end of last season with Ross Williams, Sam Winter, Jamie Ellis, Tom Watson and Brad Owens making their first team debuts.
In short our outlook at this stage is extremely positive and we’ll be working hard to deliver a very successful season as our on pitch restructuring of the football club continues to bear fruit.
Baldy, Beak & Bally
In a very close run race that went down to the wire we can now announce our midfield line up. We had a mass of late voting over the last few days, which in the end saw Hardy, Jones, Ringwood and Smith all with 56 votes and young Jim Gatcum just missing out with 54. I think if you look at the Westfield sides over the years that midfield is a pretty fair result. Gatcum is a player of huge potential but having not even played a full season (due to his love of yellow cards!), making the ‘All Time’ XI may have raised a few eyebrows. It will be interesting to see how he and Willett progress this season. My only surprise was the lack of voting for Garman and Brand who I would have expected to have seen closer in the race for the four spots.
So our line up to date:
Harris Lambert Wood Rea
Bench: Newstead, Miller, Drinkwater, Gatcum
Which leaves us with three spots to fill, two starting forwards and the final spot on the bench. Get your votes in now, we’ll leave the poll open and running until next Friday at 12pm.
Saturday saw our first pre-season session of the season take place. We caught up with Beaky over how he thought things went.
P: Morning Mr Jones.
DJ: Morning Phoenix.
P: Good to be back?
DJ: Fantastic buddy. We look forward to the break as the season draws to an end but no sooner than it’s here you want it gone. Far too many shopping trips with the wife!
P: I feel your pain Beak. So, why so early and is it too early?
DJ: I had a feeling you may ask that. If I’m frank, it’s boarding on being too early but I think after the lads saw the session we put on Saturday they’re starting to understand why we wanted them back when we did. It’s all ball-work and even though we didn’t manage to deliver the session we wanted, the lads still got a glimpse of why they’re back.
P: Which is?
DJ: In the league last year we scored 67 but conceded 70.
DJ: That’s one way of putting it. With the talent we have going forward we will never fail to score goals, the issue has always been that we leak to many.
P: So what’s the solution. New personnel?
DJ: We’re always looking for new players who fit in with the standards and demographic that we look for, players who can come in and add to the quality of the squad. Hopefully this year we’ve done that, as we’re looking to add two or three new faces to the squad. But, NO, in short, new personnel isn’t the answer.
P: So what is?
DJ: For me, the fault lies with Tone, Matt and I. The way you shut up shop in this or any league is by being organised. The system is irrelevant to some extent, be it a 4-5-1, 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, the issues remain the same, players have to understand the roles and responsibilities of not just their position but every position on the pitch and the unit as a whole. If you can nail that, if you can be fluid and organised, then the clean sheets will come. That’s why we’re back.
P: So will we see a new Westfield this year?
DJ: I don’t think the side from last year needs to change a lot. As I say, we have the quality, we’re looking to add a couple but the main area in which we need improvement now sits squarely with Tone, Matt and I. We now need to deliver as coaches. So, will you see a new Westfield this season? The personnel will not be a great deal different but hopefully you’ll see this young group develop, mature, play better football and be a tighter defensive unit.
P: Can you tell us anything about these new faces of which you speak?
P: You’re not going to tell us anything?
DJ: Nope. It wouldn’t be fair to the lads in question. When they’ve signed and they’re happy for us to realease their names, you’ll be the first to know.
P: Fair enough. So what of the squad from last year?
DJ: I’m glad to confirm, with one exception, everyone is back onboard.
P: That’s brilliant news. May I ask who the one is?
DJ: You can ask but don’t expect an answer. It’s the same as I said about the new signings, if and when they happen, you’ll be the first to know. What I will say is that after Saturday, Tone and I are incredibly happy and excited by where we are with things.
P: So, what does excite you this year. Anyone in particular stand out?
DJ: That’s a tough one as there’s a lot that excites me about this side. I’m really looking forward to working with the lads from last year, the likes of Sam Willett and Jim Gatcum, lads who came on leaps and bounds last season and rightly drew a lot of attention. They’ve signed and committed to the year and I’m really looking forward to watching them develop further this season. I think Joe Barham will be one to watch this year, we saw glimpses of what he was capable of last session like at Little Common where he was unplayable. We’ve got big plans for him this session and I’m really looking forward to working with him. But if you pushed me to pick one thing it would be that I’m excited about working with the new crop of youngsters we have coming through. In the likes of Sam Winter, Tom Watson, Josh Eaton and Jamie Eliis, to name just a few, we have an incredibly talented set of players who are technically very strong. They’ll be pushing for first team places from the start this year and I know Matt and Tony are as excited about having the opportunity to help them develop as I am?
P: It all sounds very promising? So as I’ve got you for a second, how do you think the season will go? Can you win it?
DJ: If Tone, Matt and I do our job then I’m sure we can give it a good go. But that isn’t what it’s about for us. It’s about constant progression, helping these lads develop as individuals and a unit - both on and off the pitch. Quietly, I hope and believe we can deliver a trophy or two but it’s not the only aim. The aim is to give these lads a good grounding in senior football and help them move up the footballing pyramid.
P: So how was Saturday, was it a good turn out?
DJ: With the exception of the confusion at the start that saw us needing to move venues quickly, it was fantastic. Even after all the palaver we had over 40 lads turned up and we put on a good session, albeit that we had to improvise a little due to the time at our disposal. They’re a great bunch and we’re really looking forward to working with them.
P: Brilliant, thanks Beak. One final question, any comment on the merry-go-round at Bexhill?
DJ: None at all. What’s happening elsewhere is of no interest to us. We just have to concentrate on our own shop. But I do think what’s happened down there is very harsh on the previous management set-up.
P: And nothing on new signings?
DJ: That’s two questions Phoenix. When there’s news you’ll be the first to know.
P: Cheers Beak
DJ: Always a pleasure.
In our closest poll to date Tony Harris and Chris Rea won out by a nose (excuse the pun Jonesy!) with David Miller having to settle for a spot on the bench. Harris in the end came out in first place to claim the rightback spot with 55 votes, Mr Rea in second to take the position on the opposite flank with 53 and Windy losing by one vote with 52. A cracking poll, the only surprise for me being that a bigger share of the voting didn’t go to Carl Morris.
So, our back line is complete;
Tony Harris John Lambert Lee Wood Chris Rea
Bench: Pete Newstead, Mark Drinkwater, David Miller,
Not a bad line-up if I do say so myself. Next up the midfield four, which is turning out to be a closer race than we first expected. We’ll leave the poll open until Friday at 12pm, so make sure to get your votes in if you haven’t already.
As for the couple of comments from Bazooka (whoever he may be) about Beaky, I'd say if you're picking a Westfield XI it would be hard to leave him out. In truth, I think you'd be more likely to see him as a forward. Maybe he didn't fancy the competition from Bakes, Parris, Clark and Pugh???? But then you'd run into the same issue with Mr Harris, he's made the side at fullback but I know for a fact he preferred life in the middle of the park.
Anyway, it's all a matter of opinion and your comments are all welcome. As for vote rigging, I'm not so sure about that, although I'm sure Beaky has been campaigning to get the entire Jones clan to vote!
The poll for centrebacks is now closed. I'm happy to announce that in an incredibly close race Lee Wood and John Lambert take their places at the heart of the defence in the Westfield 'All Time' XI. Mark Drinkwater wins a place on the bench finishing just behind Woody and John.
So far we have Fossie between the sticks with Pete Newstead winning a place on the bench. Woody and John as centrebacks with Drinky as sub.
Now for our fullbacks. It's a three way race as far as I can see with our very own Baldy duking it out with Chris Rea and present vice Captain David 'Windy' Miller. We'll leave it running over the weekend and announce the results on Monday morning.
On the midfield front Beaky, Ringers and Boz seem to be pulling clear with Shaun Hardy and Jim Gatcum not far behind.
As for the forwards Darroll Parris and present club captain Peter Baker have taken an early lead from old boy Clarkie.
I hope you’re all well?
Very excited about the coming weeks. Pre-season training starts Saturday and we’ll be bring you all the news from the camp along with news of a few very intriguing new signings. Clearly the lads have been busy in the off season.
As for the Westfield ‘All Time’ XI, we need to start bringing the polls to a close. So to start we’ll be closing the race for our two centrebacks this Friday at 12pm. So if you haven’t voted get you votes in now as it is a ridiculously close three way race between legends Wood, Drinkwater and Lambert!
With interest growing in the polls for the Westfield DreamTeam ‘All Time’ XI I thought I might as well start the poll, for what for me, is the most difficult to predict, the Forwards. We’re playing just two up front and as you’ll see from the list below it’s no easy choice. And if you haven’t already don’t forget to vote for the other positions. Fossie has already been selected in goal, but otherwise everything else is up for grabs.
I think the nominee's are about right but if you feel strongly that a name is missing from the list then drop me a line.