Burnham FC Chairman To Stand Down - 28 March
With a tinge of sadness Gary Reeves announced in the Burnham FC programme last Saturday, that this would be my last home game as Chairman of Burnham Football Club, it’s been a very up and down last 4 years, even though there has been a couple of relegations it’s been a privilege being Chairman of this lovely club. When I first came on board I had a vision and a plan, there are some things that I have changed , and some that I had no chance of changing...
Looking back I wish there could have been more of a link up with Burnham Juniors and also more connection with the local community and the village, but these attempts always seemed to be very difficult to get the locals interested in the club even though we tried so hard, but there is something there and hopefully whoever comes in can make that grow and develop. Some people ask me would I have taken on the job if I had known the full history of the financial troubles the club were in!, Yes is the answer to that!, I would always like the chance to change things, and do not walk away from anything when the going gets tough and love a challenge and a fight to put things right. Myself, Rod and Malcolm took some stick ,and a lot of which was unwarranted and not justified but we stuck at it. The club has been here since 1878 and will always be here at the heart of Burnham.
The club is now better off financially than when I first took over and with myself working closely with Treasurer Rod Saunders we have slowly dragged the club back from the brink, people would be amazed at the juggling we had to do to remain intact. This was at a cost.... cutbacks affected playing strength, with players and Managers feeling the brunt of this , but the club is the most important item in all of this and many clubs even in Professional football will know what I mean. All the decisions I took along with Rod and Malcolm were in the best interests of the Club, some of these upset former players and managers but the cutbacks had to happen, the club paid heavily for the season we won the Central Division and we were promoted to step three which was the highest ever level the club had played at, expenses that achieved this were well above what the club could afford, but saying that there are many clubs out there in non-league and professional that are guilty of that. Yes many mistakes were made at the club years ago and this affected the progress of this club but they are well and truly behind us know, and as I said all non-league clubs know what i am on about on that subject.
I could honestly write a book on my experiences here, many ups and a few downs but my passion never left me, even though 2016 was a hard and very difficult year with my battle with Prostate Cancer and also the aftermath and recovery after surgery in June, which meant that I had to take a backwards step and recover and not being able to attend weekly games, I have only attended around 9 games this season even though I have been at every game via media , twitter etc. It’s certainly been an up and down 4 years and I leave my post knowing I have done everything I can to help the club ,and guide it through what was some rocky and sometimes very tricky periods. One thing I do know is that you have to have the skin of a Rhino to be a Chairman of any Non-League club, I can testify to that.... But I loved it.
The new Chairman will be announced in due course and I wish him well, I will be staying on for the handover and transition and will still be controlling the administration and all the relevant forms and governance that need to be in place for next season and see where we go from there. I will take my time and recover fully and will be popping in for a few games next season as well as getting to a few more Celtic games up in Glasgow as well. I have worked with some great people, managers and players & club volunteers, from Natalie and Sue and Alan and Sharon in the bar to previous managers Martin Stone, Luther Blissett, Byron Walton, Chris Abbott along with Robin Smith (God rest him, a true Burnham Legend) and Geoff Smith , Andy and Roxy at AM Print, some worked out and some didn’t but I enjoyed working with all of them. There are so many I do not have enough space. Been to a lot of away games, with some long journeys (particularly in the south west) and met some lovely people and we all share the same passion Football.
Lastly a massive thanks to Malcom, Carol, Rod and Margaret and to my mum Dorothy and our gateman and Steward Barry. People do not realise the work behind the scenes that goes on at clubs at this level, volunteers are in short supply so multitasking happens frequently. Many thanks to the many people who have texted and messaged me and shown their support for me.
Biggest thanks goes to my wife Shirley who has been my rock through all the difficult times at football and in my personal life.
All the best to the future for the Blues
Positives From Loss - 10 March
Burnham manager Mark Betts saw plenty of positives in the midweek Cup defeat by One West Penn & Tylers Green.
“We managed to get things right at the defensive end,” said Betts after the Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup game. “Penn are a good side, one of the best we’ve played this season, but we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”
“That competition wasn’t everything to us but it’s still disappointing to lose. All we can do is keep going. We never said we had a magic wand when we came here but the club is really pulling together now.”
Betts will have Charlie Samuel back from suspension for the trip to Ardley tomorrow and remains positive the Blues will dig themselves out of trouble. “We remain positive that with five games to go we can keep Burnham up by hook or by crook. No one is expecting us to go to Ardley and win but this is a cup final for us.”
Burnham Appointments - 11 January
Burnham announce the appointment of Mark Betts and Jon Palmer as joint managers.
Mark (pictured) comes from the management team of Slough Town with bags of experience at youth and First team level and has a great understanding of local talent amd has been Slough Town Academy manager for over seven years and produced a number of players for their first team and that will continue with this role and Slough Town's first team.
Jon Palmer will also bring a wealth of experience to this joint role with Mark Betts.
We at Burnham would like to thank Chairman Steve Easterbrook and all at Slough Town for their help and understanding with this appointment. "I speak on behalf of the board when I say that Mark and Jon's appointment as joint first team managers is not only a positive stride forward for the club, but also an very exciting one." says Gary Reeves, Chairman of Burnham Football Club. "This also enhances the close links with Slough Town and forms a solid base to build on with our near neighbours. They both bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in the non-league enviroment and also in the local area around the club, that will only benefit Burnham Football Club and Mark is relishing the challenge ahead."
"We at Burnham are very excited by this appointment and Mark and Jon fully understand what we are trying to achieve and this will fit perfectly into the structure and vision of the club, and we are confident that we can force our way back up the Hellenic Premier Division after what has been a disappointing campaign so far We are determined to put Burnham back on the football map in this area and its our aim to inspire the local community back into the club"
Battle For Survival - 6 January
Burnham players are said to be “raring to go” as they hot up their battle for survival in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division.
The Blues are once again facing relegation, this time from the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League. They are rock bottom with a miserly nine points from 23 games, which leaves just 11 fixtures remaining, and they will probably need to win more than half of them if they are to be safe from falling through the trap door. It is not yet known how many teams will go down this season and, with just 18 teams currently in the division, it could be only two, even just one.
That gives Burnham some hope, but, as it stands at present, just getting up to third bottom looks a tall order. Blues trail 17th place Henley Town by three points and the 16th club, Oxford City Nomads, by five points. But, with 102 conceded, their goal difference is vastly inferior to their fellow strugglers and that means they will need an extra point to climb above them.
An alarming 18 goals have flown into their net in their last three games, with 7-0 (away) and 5-0 (at home) defeats to new league leaders Bracknell Town and 6-1 at Brimscombe & Thrupp. Since the match at Bracknell, the Blues have held some important training sessions in a bid to tighten up their defending and turn their fortunes around.
On Saturday they make the short trip to third-placed Flackwell Heath, who were 9-0 winners at The Gore early in the season. Then a week later Blues face a crunch home game with Henley Town.
Coach Liban Omar, who was in charge of the team at Larges Lane on Boxing Day, admitted: “These are two big games coming up for us We all want to put some points on the board, especially in the Henley game, as that could well decide in what direction the club will go in the future.”
He added: “We are looking forward to these games. The players are raring to go and will be doing their best - that is all we can do at the moment.”
No Excuse - 30 December
Acting manager Liban Omar offered no excuses after seeing Burnham crash 7-0 at high-flying Bracknell Town on Boxing Day.
“It was a bad performance,” be admitted. “We started off on the back foot, made silly mistakes and gave away goals.”
Dave Wright pens, in front of a crowd of more than 160, Burnham could not have got off to a worse start, conceding two goals inside the opening five minutes. They needlessly gave away a free-kick and defended it badly, allowing Adam Cornell to sneak in at the near post to head home TJ Bohane's free-kick. Then in the fourth minute, they failed to stop Seb Bowerman making ground on the left and his cross was turned in by Bohane. Bowerman went on to make it 3-0 in the 39th minute from the penalty spot after Wayne Broadley had brought down Kensley Maloney. Winger Bowerman also set up the fourth goal for Jamie McClurg on 50 minutes and Bohane went on to complete his hat-trick before substitute Gavin Smith completed the scoring in the last minute. In the process, the Blues conceded their 100th goal in this, their 23rd Uhlsport Hellenic League game.
Commenting on his side's frailty in defence, Omar said: “Few of the goals came from our mistakes and players did own up they know they were in the wrong.” Playing on a new 3G surface did not help Burnham's cause with Omar saying: “It is a different type of pitch to what some of the players are used to and perhaps it took time for them to adjust to it. The aim was to try to move the ball and slow the game down to a nice tempo to suit us as we got used to the pitch.”
Omar added: “I thought we had a good finish to the game, but ultimately we just weren't good enough. We gave away too many sloppy goals and were too sloppy in the centre of the park.”
But Omar, taking charge of the team due to Luther Blissett having Watford FC commitments, felt there were a couple of positives to take away from the game. “Our left-back Alessandro Sancese was decent and left midfield player Monay Chandler also did well when he came on,” he commented. “They are two young decent players with good prospects. They are very good technically. They looked very positive when going forwards, and tried to create something. We did create a few chances, but we didn't take them. So, as I've said, it has been a disappointing day for us, and we will now move on.”
The Bracknell game was Burnham's last for 2016 – a year they will certainly want to forget. Their next fixture is on Saturday, January 7 when they make the short trip to Flackwell Heath, currently third in the table and 9-0 winners at The Gore early in the season.
Ex Villa Cartetaker Boss Joins Burnham - 9 December
Scott Marshall, who can boast a 100-per-cent record as a Premier League manager, has joined the coaching staff at Burnham FC.
The former Brentford and Arsenal full-back was the caretaker manager of Aston Villa when they defeated Leicester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup last season after the sacking of Paul Lambert. But days later he left following the appointment of Tim Sherwood. Since then the Berkshire-based Marshall has been scouting for the Scottish FA.
Recently he got to hear that Burnham's Director of Football, Luther Blissett, wanted a coach and so got in touch with him. Marshall said “I was at a game and bumped into a mutual friend of Luther and myself. I had not been out on the grass doing a bit of coaching for a while, so I came down, spoke to Luther and that is why I am here. I hope I can help out a bit.”
The 43-year-old former Scotland Under-21 player, who made three league appearances for Arsenal when they won the Premier League in 1998, has been joined at The Gore by Slough Town Academy coach Liban Omar.
He will continue at Slough, where he has been assistant manager of their under-18 team for the last two years, but said helping out at Burnham will be a “really good experience for me.”
Blissett was keen to add to his coaching staff as he has no intention of appointing a team manager. He explained: “Bringing in coaches is all part of what I am trying to do here, because too many times at this level (of football) managers come in, bring in a load of players, he then leaves and you lose players. So my thought is to try to do it differently. Lets have the players in place, and have coaches to prepare the team for games. If anything happens to them (coaches), whether it be illness or whatever, we have other coaches we can rotate. It means we are a collective, rather than just one man.”
Burnham's recent run of improved performances and close defeats came to a grinding end when they crashed 5-0 to high-flying Bracknell Town at The Gore on Saturday. After the match Director of Football Luther Blissett kept the dressing-room door shut for quite a time to discuss things with his players.
He emerged to tell the Slough Observer columnist Dave Wright: “It was always going to be a very difficult game. We started off a little bit unsure, but just when it started to look as though we were going to turn the tide from the pressure we were under, we conceded the first goal and gave them (Bracknell) a foothold on the game. The second goal came from another error from us and they went in at half-time with a two-goal lead.”
Blissett continued: “We knew then it was going to be difficult to get back in the game and even our players said the next goal was going to be crucial. Bracknell got it and confidence and belief went their way and we were up against it again.”
Blissett had two new coaches alongside him on the bench, with former Arsenal defender and Aston Villa coach Scott Marshall and Slough Academy coach Liban Omar having joined the club last week. All three will have been disappointed with what they saw as very few players showed their true form against one of the strongest sides in the Uhlsport Hellenic League.
It was the third time Bracknell had won at The Gore this season, having twice triumphed in two cup ties earlier in the season. And, after visiting Brimscombe & Thrupp on December 17, Blues have the return league fixture at Bracknell on Boxing Day.
By then they may have strengthened the squad as Blissett revealed he was hoping to see “two or three” new faces at training this week.” He has already boosted his coaching staff with the arrival of Marshall and Omar, saying: “These two guys are very good at what they do and will have a big influence here as we move forward.”
Third Time Lucky ? - 2 December
Director of football Luther Blissett is hoping it will be third time lucky when Burnham take on Bracknell Town in the Uhlsport Hellenic League at The Gore tomorrow.
Blues have twice lost to the Robins this season, 5-2 in the Bluefin Sport Hellenic Cup in early September and 2-0 in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup a month later. “We have certainly improved since we last played them,” said Blissett. “It's going to be another hard game for us, but hopefully, we can get at least a point, or even three, which would be fantastic.”
Blissett was waiting for fitness checks at last night's training sessions before naming his squad. “We have a couple of defenders nursing injuries, but the rest of the side should all be fit,” he added.
Since last visiting The Gore, Bracknell have gone from strength to strength and are risen to fourth in the table with games in hand over the top three, leaders Thatcham, Thame United and Flackwell Heath.
But Town manager, Mark Tallentire, will be taking nothing for granted. “The last time we went to their place they looked a much-improved side compared to early in the season and they've had some decent results recently, so we certainly won't be treating them lightly,” said the former Burnham boss.
Improvement Underlined - 24 November
Burnham underlined their recent improvement by giving an excellent account of themselves at Longlevens last Saturday and then at Uhlsport Hellenic League leaders Thatcham on Tuesday.
They lost both by the odd goal (1-0 and 2-1 respectively) but director of football Luther Blissett considered Blues were unlucky not to have earned at least one point on their travels. He said: “It was nice to see that both Longlevens and Thatcham took to Twitter to pay us compliments. In both games, I could not have asked for more from the players. We now have got the shape and the balance of the team right and performances are improving all the time. It was particularly good to see Cheyenne Cripps playing well against Thatcham, he is a good example of a local lad, working hard and developing into a very good player. Another local boy (Callum) Oscar Betts has added strength to a more confident defence which has talented pair 'Buster' Broadley and Danny Wilson at its heart."
Tyrese Corbin-Chandler, who skippers Burnham FC's youth team, has been training with League 1 club Peterborough United this week. Having been spotted by scouts a recent game, he was due to play for them in a youth game.
“We are absolutely delighted for him,” said Luther Blissett. "He has done well to be invited up there and he will learn from the experience, it is also a real incentive for all players at Burnham."
Blissett added: “Tyrese is a great example of the talent we now have here and what they can achieve with us. We are continuing to make progress and both the first and U18 teams are going from strength to strength.”
Tyrese, who plays in central midfielder, has previously had trials with QPR and Wycombe Wanderers. He is the son of ex-Chelsea Youth player Simon Chandler, who mentors Burnham's under-18s, working with Blissett and U18 head coach Sam Loades.
Time Put Too Good Use - 17 November
Burnham's home fixture with Royal Wootton Bassett last Saturday was called off an hour before the scheduled kick-off – despite having been passed fit earlier.
Although rain had left a few areas of water on the surface, there seemed no problem when the pitch was independently inspected at around 12.30pm. A club spokesperson said both the referees' assistants appeared happy with it, as were the visiting team. But the match referee thought differently and called the game off at 2pm despite requests from players to reconsider his decision.
Rather than send his men back home early, Blues' director of football Luther Blissett (pictured) took the opportunity to host a team-building afternoon. He also spoke about racism in the game, being an active member of Show Racism the Red Card campaign, in addition to answering questions from his players, particularly about his days with Watford and England, and his memories of walking out onto the field at Wembley.
his week the Blues make the long journey down to Gloucestershire to play Longlevens and striker Elliot Amadieu will be looking to add to his tally of five goals, two of them having come in the 4-2 win at Oxford City Nomads two weeks ago.Burnham's performance on that night in Oxford was described as “their best we've seen for four years” by the club's directors. Their squad that night included new signings Callum Betts, formerly with Slough, and Jacob Cook, a former Watford Academy player who had a short spell with Windsor.
Keeper Joe Broadley, who has been sidelined for several weeks with a knee injury, is back in light training, while defender Josh Perry is also returning to match fitness, Blissett is now working closely with Simon Chandler, who in his younger days spent six seasons on the books of Chelsea and captained their youth team, helping them to junior league and cup honours.
Over the years, spotting and nurturing young players have become his passion and he ran a highly successful youth set-up in the Reading area, going under the names of Wrightchoice. He is now monitoring Burnham's under-18 squad, whose head coach is Sam Loades.
Noel-Williams Stands Down As Blues Manager - 10 November
Gifton Noel-Williams, who was recently appointed Burnham FC's new manager, has left the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division club.
A statement said: “The club have parted company with Noel-Williams, whose existing coaching commitments proved too difficult to combine with the time and input required to lead this young first team and be part of Burnham’s football regeneration.”
Chairman Gary Reeves (pictured left) added: “Naturally we are disappointed that things have not worked out here for Gifton. We wish him every success with his coaching, which has been a great source of encouragement to young players.”
Former Watford striker Noel-Williams had only been appointed in late September, having replaced another ex-Football League professional, David Tuttle, who left early in the season. Blues have no current plans to appoint a new manager, instead the team will be run by the club's director of football, Luther Blissett (right), and the rest of his coaching staff.
And the coaches could not have been more delighted than what they have seen this week. On Monday the Blues defeated Oxford City 1-0 in an under-18 game at The Gore with centre-back Jack Howell blasting home a superb winner two minutes from time. Then 24 hours later the senior side defeated the same club in the Hellenic League at Court Place Farm.
Reeves commented: “ Luther has created two teams that have really inspired us in recent weeks and it is all to play for now here at Burnham once more.”
Blues remain bottom of the Premier Division on nine points, but have closed the gap on the side immediately above them, Henley Town, to only three points, while they are four points behind third-bottom Oxford City, but they do have a huge goal difference to make up. Eighth-placed Royal Wootton Bassett are the visitors to The Gore this Saturday.
Every Inch Of The Way - 28 October
Burnham manager Gifton Noel-Williams (pictured) says his players will fight every inch of the way to keep the club in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League.
“If they continue to have belief in themselves and in the way we are trying to play, then they will have a chance.” he said following their 3-2 win over Highmoor Ibis at The Gore on Tuesday night. Battling Blues came from 2-1 down thanks to two late goals from substitutes Cheyenne Cripps and Richmond Osei.
It was only their second win of the season and it came as they reached the mid-point of their league programme.
They trail fourth-bottom Brackley Town Saints by eight points and so still have a mountain to climb. “We are not under any illusions; we know we have a lot to do,” admitted Noel-Williams when speaking with Dave Wright of the Slough Observer. “It is going to take weeks, even months, to pick ourselves out of the position we are in – but it can be done. We are not walkovers any more, we are not the same team who were conceding 11 and nine like we were earlier in the season.”
He continued: “I and the boys will be here on every match day. We are going to stand up for ourselves and for this club. We have a good bunch of lads who are willing to work hard and do their best. If we keep that team spirit going, we can end up all right this season. We are not going to be walkovers. We are not the same team who were getting heavily beaten game after game.”
Burnham's never-say-die spirit was very much in evidence on Tuesday. Having gone ahead through an early Glenn Gabriel goal, they then went 2-1 down whilst losing midfielder Hayden Clack and right-back Sam Jones through injury, in addition to having keeper Tom Bryant limping badly. But Noel-Williams' choice of substitutes paid handsome dividends with Cheynne Cripps equalising from a Stephanne Akmel cross and Richmond Osei smashing home the winner in the last five minutes.
“All credit to the boys,” said the manager after the game. Last week we were talking about taking a two-nil lead and then losing (to Ardley); so tonight it's good to talk about the way we came back to win. When they went behind, they didn't drop their heads. They kept plugging away and kept on believing in what we are trying to do at the club. They kept a good shape, trying to do the right thing with the ball, and when they did get it, trying to be exciting as well. They were always trying to get behind their defence, not by launching the ball down the middle, but by knocking the ball about to try to find gaps to get behind them. That was shown in the two goals we scored in the second half. The first came from link-up play and a good cut back and finish; the winner was a good solo effort.”
Burnham's manager was also pleased with the way his side coped with the latest spate of injuries. “I don't see having players out injured as a negative,” he commented. “We have players who are keen to come into the side. There are players who haven't yet started for us on the pitch who are itching to be involved. They are ready to step up to the plate and show me what they can do. We have a good healthy squad at the moment and competition for places is good.”
Noel-Williams also admitted he nearly took off keeper Bryant, explaining: “I don't want my players staying on while being injured, but he gave me a signal to say he was all right and thank goodness he did, he was a hero in the end.”
Manager Signs Son - 18 October
Burnham manager Gifton Noel-Williams has signed his 18 year old son Dejon on a work experience agreement with Oxford United.
Dejon Noel-Williams is on a scholarship contract with SkyBet Division One side Oxford United, and is a goal scoring front man. He is likely be on the team sheet for Burham's game against Ardley United tonight.
New Man At The Gore - 1 October
Burnham's new manager Gifton Noel-Williams took his first look at his team this week and is convinced he can turn them into a winning side, writes Dave Wright.
The Blues have lost every league and cup game this season, but there has been considerable improvement in recent weeks. They led 2-0 before losing 3-2 in extra time to Highmoor Ibis in the FA Vase on Saturday and then on Tuesday battled hard against Oxford City Nomads, only to go down 2-1.
But Noel-Williams, 36, the former Watford, Stoke City and Burnley striker, believes his side can soon “start to produce some very good things.” He said: “They were lacking a little bit of quality here and there, but you could not knock their work rate. I thought they showed dedication to the shirt and showed that they want to be part of the club. They are young men who don't get paid to come and play, but they showed they really love the game and I want them to come every Saturday and Tuesday and give 100 percent.”
Noel-Williams will work with another Watford legend, Luther Blissett, who has been in charge of the team during the first two months of the season. The new manager added: “I believe we can make this squad really successful. Once I have settled in and the players are used to the words I say, then I believe that the team will start to do some really good things. Hopefully I can pass on some of the knowledge that was instilled into me by the various managers I have played under, and I can be a good manager and make the club successful.”
Despite their strong Watford connections, it wasn't Blissett who made the first move to bring him to The Gore.
Noel-Williams revealed: “I saw there was an opportunity at this club, so I contacted the chairman and we stayed in contact. I didn't really speak to Luther about it, but he then contacted me after seeing my CV. “He let me know a bit more about the club, what they are trying to do and what direction they want to go. Now I am happy to be part of it and hopefully, I can be a good manager and make the club successful.”
Blissett has also come to the defence of club chairman Gary Reeves, who has come in for some criticism from supporters in recent weeks.He said: "Nobody ever likes it when you have to pull the apron strings at a football club. Everybody likes to spend, spend spend and that was happening at Burnham FC for some years. But Gary came in and saved the club from going under. It is a disgrace what some people are saying about him. It is totally out of order. They just don't know the facts. Without Gary, I would not be here, Gifton would not be here, nor would the group of players that are playing for nothing and putting in 100% effort in every match. The players are doing it because of myself, Gifton, and what the chairman is doing to give the club a sound platform to go forward from. There are people who sadly appear to want to destroy the club. I wish they would come down to see what is going on and speak to us and see what Gary and others are doing for Burnham FC. Our fortunes will pick up and it would certainly help with the progress if more people supported the club."
Burnham Part Company With Manager - 22 August
Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division Burnham have today parted company with Manager Dave Tuttle
Chairman Gary Reeves released a statement earlier today. “We would like to thank Dave for all of his hard work during last season and also in the preparation of the current season and the first five games, we wish him every success in the future.”
“Luther Blissett and Paul Toms will be in temporary charge of the First Team and have the full support of the Board, whilst the CJub look at recruiting someone to take on the management role and work within the new Football Development structure.”
“Details of this role will be released in due course. The Club's priority is to focus on ensuring a period of stability and we are fortunate that we are able to call on Luther as our Football Development Manager to give us the time to recruit the right individual for the position.”
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