My first ever contact with this league goes back to c1994 when, having co-founded Wolverhampton & Perton CFC, I was looking for a league to join. At the time we decided against joining because of the cost. Next came an ill-fated attempt to set up an inter-league match between the Mercian Christian League and WMCFL…but I finally got involved with the WMCFL properly when, as a club secretary, my club (W&P) joined WMCFL in 1998. Within a short space of time I’d slipped onto the committee as an ex-officio member managing the pre-cursor to Ed’s brilliant website.
I can’t remember whether I went straight from unofficial ‘e-secretary’ to Fixtures Secretary, but however it happened it was my first official role on the committee and I loved it. There were difficult days (some of which Shawn knows all too well) but on the whole I loved it. I then came off after 2/3 seasons to get started on my degree (c2003 or 2004).
But the lure of helping out was too hard to resist and I came back on as Ref Sec (c2008?). Again it was a learning curve and although I had to come off in the end because of pressures of the role, my degree and going for promotion as a referee, I would say that broadly speaking it is probably the role that best demonstrated my potential.
Roll on a few more years and I’m back again, with the role that I did first – e-secretary!
Alongside my league officer roles I was also a player, club secretary, treasurer and eventually Chairman for Wolves & Perton. However, my involvement with the club started to end the day I became a referee – 7 April 2006. Initially I’d planned to remain a player one weekend a month, but that soon fizzled out because I found that I loved refereeing and so over a period of 5-6 years my involvement as a player and club officer tapered off, culminating with me stepping down as Club Chairman at the end of the 2011/12 season.
Church-wise I am a member of St Judes Wolverhampton, where I’m a member of the worship music group, but in the past I was also involved in the youth and children’s work and still help out in their annual summer holiday event.
I believe WMCFL is a good league for referees and players of all levels but particularly those individuals and teams who are just starting out. It’s not just the zero tolerance rule – its other things like the genuine friendliness that you see in the ‘top’ teams – yes they are competitors, but yet they also show genuine respect for each other. Moreover the league is packed with several godly non-Christian and Christian people who all have one thing in mind – to maintain WMCFL’s good name and to keep it shining as a beacon within the West Midlands’ footballing community.