AFC Oldsmiths joined the SAL in 2012 looking for a better standard of football and organisation. According to Chairman and 1st Team Manager Luis Mackness, they found what they were looking for and they are now determined to put something back. To that end the club has teamed up with the award-winning charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) with whom they have developed the CALM Football Collective (CFC) and they are keen to spread the word.
CALM is dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male and, dealing as SAL clubs do with exactly this demographic, the League and its members are uniquely positions to help. It may also help reinvent the SAL social tradition for the 21st century.
One of my big aims since becoming Chairman of the club was to also work with a men’s mental health charity. This has now come to fruition in the shape of CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably). My proposal to them was that Oldsmiths could be a ready-made tool to help with their message. On the surface we do something ‘manly’ or ‘laddy’, week in week out competing on a patch of grass in London but we’re trying to be a bit more. I’ve found that players have been open in discussing issues. This could be regarding friendships, relationships, work life, how much they think they drink and many more. So by associating ourselves to institutions that recognise that ‘men’ need to be more open and not be afraid of discussing things, the hope is that players (current and new) know they don’t have to be afraid of talking about things.
Our code of conduct will reflect all the commitments the FA’s COC stipulates but I’m asking our players to be socially conscious too. We support FBB on our kits, I wear a captain’s armband that is a pride flag to support the homosexual community in football and soon we’ll be the founding team of CALM’s CALM Football Collective. These are simply badges, metaphorical and literal, that show people that we play football and that basically, we’re not idiots. It is in no way compulsory for any of our boys to partake in any effort we make with these charities but we will give them the chance to.
The CFC is a scheme we have devised with the CEO of CALM that will comprise of some apparel emblazoned with a specific mission statement that teams can apply for. The mission statement will succinctly state that the wearer is aware of the struggle men can have with mental health and that it doesn’t have to be hidden or ignored. If it helps one person come to terms with something they are struggling with or prevents someone sliding down a difficult path, then it’s worked. But this definitely affects many people. There is no other commitment. People that agree with the notion just have to buy whatever they want from the range and wear it when they want. At first we are going to start with some training t-shirts, bibs and hopefully a badge we can stitch on to kits if clubs wish to join.
One of my responsibilities is to get in touch with clubs to see if this would be of any interest. I have discussed it with one or two that I know well but it occurred to me that this is something the league may want to be a part of. It would be great if the SAL family could embrace a project like this, to help set the SAL apart from other types of football.
We are sad to report the passing of David ‘Taffy’ Evans of Old Finchleians. Taffy passed peacefully away on the morning of 26 October. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.
Taffy was twice President of the Old Finchleians Main Club, Chairman of the football committee and Secretary, former player and joint founder of mega-vets football along with a host of other active roles in AFC & amateur football for many decades he will be greatly missed by all at Southover but most fondly remembered.
Old Finchleians ask that for their next home games on 28 October and away, where host their hosts agree, games a minute's silence will be observed in honour of Taffy.
UPDATE 7 NOVEMBER 2017:
Taffy's family have released the following details for his funeral, which will take place on Friday 17 November 2017:
13:15 St Johns Church, Friern Barnet Road, London N11 3EQ
Afterwards from 15:00 Old Finchleians’ Club
Donations in lieu of flowers to North London Hospice who cared for David “Taffy” so compassionately. Please remember to gift aid.
We are sad to report the passing of Trevor Syms, past president of the Amateur Football Combination, Amateur Football Alliance vice-president and stalwart of Latymer Old Boys F.C. on19th October 2017, after suffering a long battle against illness. Our thoughts are with Trevor's wife and family at this time.
Trevor's funeral will take place on Wednesday 8th November 2017 at 11.30am at Enfield Crematorium, Great Cambridge Road, Enfield EN1 4DS and following the service all are welcome back to Botany Bay Cricket Club, East Lodge Lane, Enfield EN2 8AS. Anyone wishing to send a message of sympathy please address to Vivien Syms 18 Myddleton Gardens, Winchmore Hill N21.
We are saddened to report the passing of former League president Norman Bunton, aged 89. It has been a difficult couple of days for the AFA family with the news coming soon after that of Ian Charles' passing, yesterday.
"Bunny" was born in 1928 and joined Old Westminster Citizens in 1946 playing as goalkeeper in the 1st and 2nd XIs for many years. He joined the SAL Management Committee in 1972 and served as president from 2007-2010 overseeing the historic victory in the FA Inter-League Cup in 2008.
Norman Bunton was every bit the model clubman and league officer, dedicating the majority of his life to the running and promotion of amateur football. He will be sadly missed by all in the AFA family. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time.
UPDATE 11/10/2017: The Funeral will take place at 12.45 on Wednesday 25th. October, at:
Elmers End Road
Beckenham BR3 4TD
Afterwards, there will be a gathering at:
Bromley Court Hotel
Bromley BR1 4JD.
The family have decided on no flowers (other than family), but if anyone wants to make a donation, it should be made to the RAF Benevolent Fund, online, or by cheque at the crematorium or by post to RAF Benevolent Fund, Hyde Park Corner, Green Park, London, SW1X 7LY.
We are very saddened to have to report the passing of long-standing Norsemen stalwart Ian Charles, last night, at the age of 62. Our condolences go to Ian's family and friends at this sad time.
Ian joined Norsemen in 1980 and played as an attacking midfielder. He joined the club committee in 1988 and has carried out all roles in the intervening 25 years. In 2013 he was awarded the the Keith Busby Award for long service by the AFA, who he also assisted in the organisation of the AFA Youth Cup Finals at Norsemen F.C. for a number of years.
Ian has been a popular character in AFA football for several decades, carrying out his role as Match Secretary with a down-to-earth pragmatism and a calm demeanour, much appreciate by his opposite numbers around the Alliance. He will be missed by us all.
Funeral details will follow when they are finalised. Football was a huge part of Ian's life and his family would therefore like to give people the chance to pay their respects.
UPDATE 10/10/2017: We can now announce that Ian's funeral will take place on Friday 27 October at 2.30pm at Enfield Crematorium, Great Cambridge Road, Enfield EN1 4DS and afterwards back at Norsemen F.C., Church Street, Edmonton N9 9HL.
Following discussions over recent weeks the League can confirm that Tooting & Merton Wandsworth have withdrawn from the League with immediate effect. The club was ultimately unable to continue their project, which involved joining the SAL, and so decided it was in the best interests of the League and the club that they discontinue their SAL membership.
The SAL Senior Cup 1st Round tie between Cambridge Heath and Tooting & Merton Wandsworth has been awarded to Cambridge Heath, who progress to face Weirside Rangers.
We wish the club all the best for the future.
In a statement to full council this evening the Redbridge council Leader, Jas Athwal, has revealed that the Inspector's pre-advice on the local plan is that "we will be able to achieve our housing targets without the need to use the proposed site at Oakfield".
The draw for the SAL Senior Cup has been released with the two newest teams in the Senior Section meeting in Round 1. Cambridge Heath are due to host Tooting & Merton Wandsworth at Victoria Park on 7 October with the prize of a trip to Weirside Rangers at stake for the winner.
The Second Round is scheduled for 4 November with last season's finalists, Crouch End Vampires, visiting north London rivals Broomfield. A south-eastern derby pits HSBC against AFC Oldsmiths while Actonians vs Norsemen promises to b an interesting encounter between last season's run away Third Division champions (Norsemen) and an Acton side who have been knocking on the door of Division 1 for a couple of seasons now.
The Third Round takes place on 9 December and the draw for that round will be released on 5 November at midday.
The draw for the SAL Intermediate Cup has been released with 29 entrants from Intermediate Divisions 1, 2 and 3. The holders, Ibis Eagles Reserves, are exempt to Round 3 but new boys Hampstead Heathens travel to Northaw to face Old Owens Reserves in their very first SAL Cup tie. Another 1st XI - St. James' Old Boys - host Weirside Rangers Reserves in Round 1 while Tooting & Merton Wandsworth are down to travel to Edmonton to take on Norsemen Reserves.
The competition begins on 30 September with five First Round ties, followed by the Second Round on 11 November.