Important Notice regarding the Club's potential future

Proposed amalgamation between Forrest Hill Milford United and North Shore United Football Clubs

The Boards of both clubs, through a specially constituted joint committee, have spent several months assessing the merits of merging and consider the advantages of a larger more sustainable club out-weigh the disadvantages.  As such both Clubs will be putting the proposal to a member vote at a Special General Meeting to be held at 7pm on Tuesday 6th August 2019 at their respective clubrooms.

However, before that both Clubs will hold a members’ communications evening at 7pm on Tuesday 2nd July 2019 at their respective club rooms to present the proposal and debate its merits.

This proposed merger is in both Clubs’ best interests as it is increasingly more difficult to sustain small community clubs both in terms of the quality of the product offered, their operations and their financial sustainability.

Both Boards see the new Club having the scale to compete with not only other football clubs but other sports for members, employees and financial support.

The below summarises the proposal.

This is a significant milestone in the history of this Club and has not been proposed without due consideration.  We encourage you to assess its merits, to attend the communication evening and vote at the Special General Meeting.

If you have any questions that you want addressing at the communications evening on 2nd July please email these to fhmcgm@gmail.com  and we will ensure that they are covered off on the night.

 

Yours sincerely,

Dave Crombie

Club Chair

 

Proposed amalgamation between Forrest Hill Milford United and North Shore United Football Clubs

A committee made up of members of each of the Club Boards’, with the support of an independent Chair, have been working together for several months to consider the merits of merging the Clubs.  Early in the process it became clear that both Clubs operate in a similar way, with almost identical structures and similar challenges.

Those challenges include the ability to attract, retain and adequately remunerate talented staff, maintaining a strong volunteer base, access to and maintenance of quality facilities, securing sponsorship revenue, over reliance on scarce trust funding, locally developed players leaving for larger clubs to play in stronger teams, the overlapping demands of secondary school football, and the restricted youth male pathways to national league teams (with none on the North Shore).

The above, coupled with the compliance demands of NZ Football including the anticipated Youth Licencing changes which will see only licensed clubs being able to enter teams in top youth grades, make a larger club attractive.

The benefits of being a larger club with a greater geographic footprint can be summarised as follows:

High Performance pathways

  • At Junior and Youth level have the scale to offer pathways for talented boys and girls from Junior and Youth levels through to senior within the Club – Conference, Metro, Girls’ Premier
  • Much greater potential to obtain entry into proposed NRFL Youth League
  • Have the scale in high performance to attract and retain quality coaches
  • Greater potential for alliance with 3rd Parties to provide enhanced Academy and Talent Development Programme opportunities
  • Greater potential to create alliances with overseas Clubs and overseas Universities

Competitive at highest levels

  • Both Men’s and Women’s senior teams competing at the highest club levels
  • Have the financial and operational capability to support both teams and the player base required to compete consistently at this level
  • Playing and financial scale to enter ISPS Handa Premiership

Operational and Financial sustainability

  • Have the grounds to support the full player base for training and home games
  • Have the scale to support staffing levels that are operationally sustainable
  • Greater pool of personnel – Coaches, Administration, Board Members
  • Shared management experience
  • Reduced reliance on volunteers running the daily operations
  • Board governing, instead of Member Committees doing
  • The scale to manage financial ups and downs
  • The scale to maximise revenue opportunities (commercial, sponsors, grants)

Enhanced Community football offerings

  • Greater pool of resources and equipment
  • More flexibility of programmes – midweek, Friday nights, Saturday mornings
  • Ability to offer increased quality and quantity of services and programmes
  • Greater flexibility of location base for programmes and playing
  • More access to fields through freeing up underutilised capacity
  • Closer working relationships with Secondary, Intermediate and Primary schools in the catchment area

When combined these benefits provide a compelling case for a larger merged club.  However, the distance between the two Clubs main playing facilities and club rooms do create some challenges.  Therefore, it was critical to consider how the merged club would operate and still provide a quality local community club football experience.

To assess how a merged club would operate workshops, including committee members from both clubs, were held to look at each age group from first kicks to senior woman and men’s grades.  Including social and high-performance players, coaching structures and club operations.

First Kicks and social junior and youth boy’s and girl’s football will see little change from a location and participation point of view.  Devonport/Belmont/Bayswater based players will still play and train at Allen Hill or Bayswater likewise FHM’s current players will still play and train at Becroft, Greville or Sunnynook.

Senior social men’s and women’s teams will also see little change as they will also remain location based.  Pulling together their own teams as they do today.  However, the larger playing base may help with getting numbers together for teams and in helping when teams are short of players at points through the season.

It’s in the talent development and competitive grades that the merged club will be able to provide improved opportunities for those players who want to excel in the sport.  Currently, FHM provide an excellent Talent Development programme which can only improve with an increased player base, better resources for coaching and pathways through the top age group and senior competitions.  Without this merger both clubs will struggle to meet the criteria set by NZ Football for NRFL licensing and will then struggle to retain talented players.

Operationally both Clubs struggle to attract, retain and adequately remunerate staff.  Current staff are working more than they are being paid for and this is unsustainable.  Resulting in high staff turnover, operational issues, and inconsistent delivery of coaching and player development programmes.  A small number of volunteers increasingly are left to pick up the running of the Clubs and this is also unsustainable.  A merged club will have the scale to employee a General Manager and support staff to run the club on a day to day basis.

While both Clubs are run as not-for-profit charitable organisations and balance their books each year, they have limited ability to invest in staff, developing improved football programmes, funding high-performance teams and improving facilities.  The merged entity turnover will be close to $1m and this scale provides some financial flexibility.  It is also hoped that the size of the membership and wider community catchment will be more attractive to sponsors and increase the ability to attract Charitable Trust and Auckland Council investment funding.

In conclusion, we ask all members to give this proposal due consideration.  It is difficult to let go of the history and heritage that each Club has created.  The merged club Board will be tasked with maintaining the positives of that heritage and moving forward to create new history and a more sustainable future.