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The S’PORT is going up

What a week.  In its first ever Season in the elite, National Volleyball League, Stockport Volleyball Club has been promoted after final fixtures against Nottingham and Darlington.  Clinching promotion, away, against Darlington 3-0 was sweet, after losing 2-3 earlier in the Season.

Competing against high-profile clubs this Year including Manchester, Newcastle and York, Stockport’s own Team, nicknamed the S’PORT, clinched promotion alongside Doncaster.  Stockport will play in Division 2 in 2018-19 as a result of this success.  The Season has been truly memorable with the Team also getting to the semi-finals of the National Shield Competition, where the Final was  held this weekend at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering, and won by London Aces Volleyball Club.

Chairman, Adrian Stores, who set up the Club with Son, Kaya only two years ago, has had even more reasons to stand tall.  Adrian has just been awarded the prestigious accolade of being named ‘Volunteer of the Year’ by Volleyball England, the National Governing Body for the Sport.  It said:

 “Here at Volleyball England, we would like to thank you for your outstanding contribution to volleyball. Both we and the independent judging panel have taken great pleasure in reading the high-quality nominations that fellow members of the volleyball community have submitted in your favour. As a category winner, we have invited you to attend the National Cup Finals, hosted at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering, on Saturday 14th April, where you will be presented with your trophy.

After receiving your award in front of the Cup Finals crowd, you will also be given the opportunity to take part in the presentation for either the Men’s and Women’s Cup or Shield Final.

Once again, congratulations and thank you for your outstanding contribution to volleyball in England.”

 

Plans are already a foot for the next Season and the next part of Stockport’s journey.  Anyone interested in joining Stockport Volleyball can contact the Club through www.stockportvolleyballclub.com. Promotion naturally brings with it more expenses for sports hall hire, referees’ and scorers’ matchday fees, coaches and training equipment.  For a low investment compared to more established sports, the S’PORT seeks a local or national brand that might want to become main Club sponsor with an array of partner benefits for the next 12 months.  Informal contact from any interested parties to: adrian@stockportvolleyball.com.

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Pesky Ruskies

A terminology of disdain used in the past to describe the malignment or Russian hindrance or perpetration of ills.  In the current political warfare, the events of Salisbury 2018 portray a whole different light on inter-continental relationships.  Far be it from Ed. to claim to be ‘in the know’ with what’s going on, but an enlightened commentator could list doping, hooliganism, e-crime and alleged rigging of votes as some evidence to suggest not all is at is seems with the former USSR.

Earlier in S’PORT we have described the suggested State approved troubles in he Euros 2016, witnessed first hand by yours truly. This short ramble is one of debating ‘stay or go’ to the Finals.  The frequently referred political football that is association football or indeed sports as a whole raises its head again.  This time in discussing whether the National Team, that is England should frequent the World Cup.

With or without us it will still run and with possible slight knocks to marketing collateral or discretionary spend by those brave Brits that seek to face those Russian challenges (the Independent said: “Western governments warn of a range of hazards awaiting the unwitting football fan”) – the impact on the Country, in contrast to sanctions, will be minimal.

It seems that the England and FA hierarchy may leave decisions on opting in or opting out with the players.  The main losers it seems to me will be the supporters deprived of watching their Home team in what should be an Event which is often the pinnacle of the beautiful game.

Forecasts suggest that “FIFA set to make $5 billion World Cup sales target despite Italy, US absences”. But sponsorship sales have stumbled.  FIFA’s cash-cow of the World Cup Final is being hit harder than most.  The catalyst though hardly just Rusky in origin, but a result of the tarnished image of the Governing Body.

So should I stay or should I go now?  The latest advice from FCO states: “due to heightened political tensions between the UK and Russia, you should be aware of the possibility of anti-British sentiment or harassment at this time; you’re advised to remain vigilant, avoid any protests or demonstrations and avoid commenting publically on political developments.”  So County fans, you need to be somewhat anonymous and certainly don’t sing Arthur Brownlow too fiercely – though no doubt his ‘pork pie hat’ could be photo-shopped to blend in  (note from Ed. topical issue!).

The poll by media giants, Sky, has asked on whether attendance is prudent. Some surveys suggest a third of us say boycott.  Are these all football fans, I suspect not.  I’d favour going and whipping the World’s best in the Russian back yard.  Though realistically, will this happen.  I’ve had too many false dawns!

Apparently, “Stephen Kinnock MP has suggested in parliament that Theresa May should ask FIFA to postpone the World Cup until next year”.  Really, as if that’s going to happen!  We know we are not that great Nation, we were once were, in the footballing World or World at all.  Brexit doesn’t help matters (sorry, I shouldn’t climb back on my soap box!).  But we are all entitled to opinions – and I think as a spectacle and motivation, hopefully with longevity into the latter stages of World Cup 2018, England should show up.  There are two thirds that support this from that earlier Survey of 2,000.   That’s my view, admittedly from a long distance away in more ways than one.

But my major concerns are the safety and well-being of our supporters and Team entering hostile territory.  Stay safe boys and girls! What do you think?

 

 

 

Stockport slide away

Stockport slide away from promotion as Wembley beckons……..

Article courtesy of a fellow “County” Supporter,  from its impressive in-house newspaper, The Sedulo Times.

“After a heart-breaking end to the National North league season last year that saw the club miss out on the play offs by a late equaliser in the final game, expectations were high of a promotion push in the current campaign for Stockport County.

After star man Danny Lloyd earnt his big move into league football with Peterborough, early season optimisim quickly faded as the club found it difficult to replace his goal return. A poor start to the season saw the club off the play off pace, but as the clocks went back, the team only looked forward.

A run of 1 defeat in 13 in all competitions saw the club rise to the edge of the play off places, and barring a couple of late equalisers conceded over Christmas would have seen them sat in sixth. Jason Oswell is the new fans favourite with the 20 goal barrier broken before Christmas. Away form has been poor though in an increasingly tough league and back to back away defeats in January is making securing a play-off berth a tough ask, meaning a sixth season of regional football beckons – a far cry from the eighth place finish in the Championship just two decades ago. A league that has seen big spending clubs such as Harrogate and the Class of 92’s Salford go full-time suggests the Hatters must follow suit next season to boost their chances of delivering the promotion their large fan base crave. The dream of a return to Wembley – a second home in the 90’ – is still on for County, however, following a thrilling win against Conference National side Maidenhead. 

A battling draw away from home set up a replay back at Edgeley Park. And with Stockport two down with just 10 minutes left on the clock, a late comeback forced extra time with the momentum propelling County into scoring early to go 3-2 up and into the lead for the first time in the tie. A red card made for a nervous last 20 minutes, but the Hatters hung on to set up a home quarter final with fellow National North side Brackley at the end of February.”

Devils and Wolves

With ACROBAT | FCSM undertaking more and more work in rugby (both codes – RL and RU!), it is with great pleasure that we share, courtesy of leading accountants and business advisors, SEDULO, the following article related to two of its RL clientele. Interestingly the latter was introduced to them by us and former is a brand that we have pleasure in working for at the moment with its impressive ‘Club13’ sports and commerce forum.

“With the recent World Cup occupying the minds of rugby league fans over the close season, as well as England’s brave attempt to conquer the southern hemisphere just falling short in the final against the Aussies, attention now turns to the start of the domestic season.

Salford Red Devils had an impressive season last time out, in what proved to be the last under owner, Marwan Koukash. The season saw a run to the semi-final of the Challenge Cup, only to suffer a narrow defeat to Wigan and the club holding 4th place at the end of the regular season. Unfortunately, Salford ran out of steam and a disappointing Super 8 stage saw the club slide from the last play-off spot to finish 7th. Now under fan ownership, and numerous ins and outs, a transitional season is beckoning, though the signing of Jack Littlejohn from the NRL could prove shrewd business if preseason form is anything to go off.

Success this year is likely to be proving the bookmakers wrong though with a top 8 finish and avoiding the dreaded Qualifiers. That is exactly where the Toronto Wolfpack intend to be come September however. After expectedly sweeping all before them in their debut season in League 1, a sterner challenge awaits the Wolfpack in an increasingly international Championship. Their match against Toulouse has been added to the Super League magic weekend – the first time a Championship fixture has appeared at the annual rugby league extravaganza. Playing all 11 away games back to back in the first half of the season will be demanding, but anything other than a top 4 finish and a shot at promotion to Super League will be seen as a failure for the ambitious Canadian outfit.

With Leigh Centurions and London Broncos looking to bounce back to the top division and clubs such as Featherstone and Halifax eyeing another top 4 finish, they won’t have it all their own way. Could this be the year more than one club earn promotion in what is likely to be a very competitive round of end of season qualifiers? What odds on the ‘Million Pound’ game promotion shoot out being held in North America come October – the RFL certainly hope so for interest across the Atlantic. The Wolfpack have other ideas and will be aiming to secure promotion before then, with the opening game trip to Leigh will give us an early indication.”

Any one interested in sport and business would be most welcome to attend the ‘go to’ forum that is Club13. It promises to be the premier networking lunch and knowledge exchange . More information and booking form from adrian.stores@club13.biz