Corinthians' Club Vice-Chairman, Richard Brenkley, spoke to Club Media Officer, Daniel Mann about the current season and what the future holds for Corinthians FC. Have a read below to see what he had to say.
Midway through the season, how is the club doing so far?
I think you have to look at this from a number of angles, we continue to deal with COVID which sadly we’re well used to by now. We have had limited exposure within the club and not had to miss much football [since the restart] as a result so I think you have to applaud the measures put in place and how well everyone has respected the rules. In many ways this represents a great success for all clubs that we can continue playing safely.
If you consider the pure footballing side then it's been another great year for the club which you can only be proud of; we’ve grown again and all the new teams, with their players, management and supporters have fit wonderfully into the family. We’ve grown particularly in the youth section and have started to develop a clear pathway within ladies football, given we have an all girls youth team which can clearly be inspired by our newly formed ladies side.
Results will always be what they are and whilst we do not lack ambition, the club is in a development phase and progress on and off the field is my main focus. Our 1st team is still so young but continues to grow each season, this is great to see.
Is there any early preparation for the season ahead?
When you are a growing and maturing club, you always have to have an eye on the future. Clubs generally do not grow or survive if they do not have the right team and infrastructure in place, this will always be the our focus; do we have new, willing and qualified coaches to take the next youth in-take? Do we have sufficient facilities to play and train?
It's really important that we continue to grow the youth section of the club, to eventually feed a successful set of senior teams. Recruitment at the very bottom of grassroots is an absolute focus and it always starts early, every year! This is the first season where we can evidence this strategy is really working!
Is there anything exciting happening in the near future?
There are always a number of exciting plans that we’re working on but most take time to cultivate.
I think the moment we are in is the most exciting time, there are lots of new things that we’d spent the last year working on and for me personally, we are seeing our early investment in youth football begin to pay off, with the current U17s starting to represent the senior teams. This is extremely exciting in the sense that it clearly shows the pathway into competitive senior football for any young player in the club. It's a great example and should inspire, it's the reason we started an U11s team all those years ago and it gives us something compelling to showcase.
Now that we’re starting to see a change of COVID is there anything the club is looking to do which they couldn’t before?
I think we’ve been, like so many, on-hold. This might be that plans for summer tournaments or events at the club were held back but we can start to plan again. Such events help to build awareness of the club as well as assist with funds; for equipment, facilities and coaching courses. Returning to normal, wouldn’t that just be a great feeling.
I think as the situation eases, we’ll see a more social football club that can be more involved in the community.
Are you happy with the U17 management role and being able to prepare U17s for the senior teams?
I’ve enjoyed the journey and to see so many take the step into senior football, with the Essex Olympian 1st and Reserves is an extremely proud moment. The last few seasons have been fully focused on that really. I wanted to focus on getting them ready for that step, over and above winning junior trophies. We lost time during COVID but that’s true for all but I do think we have a great bunch and they’ve all really kicked on in the last 18 months.
Like so many things, it has been years in the making and it's been about working together as a club. Chris, the 1st team manager has probably been to more of our games than he hasn’t, home and away. It's testament to him really, as well as the boys but them knowing he was there has helped them to prepare and focus on the transition.
We’d started the season well too, with 5-6 of the U17s in the Reserve team, who are regulars now and we’ve had a debut for Finlay Grant in the 1st team too so the transition is well underway.