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New chairman wants revival

15:00 13 June 2015

Wayne Deller is the new chairman of the Essex FA (pic: essexfa.com)

Wayne Deller is the new chairman of the Essex FA (pic: essexfa.com)

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Resurrecting the fortunes of 11v11 football is one of the prime targets of new Essex FA chairman Wayne Deller, who was elected to the post following a recent Executive Council vote and Annual General Meeting.

Deller has stepped up from his previous role on the board, namely Director Responsible for Refereeing, to succeed the outgoing Alec Berry, who has completed his full term as chairman.

After the AGM in Chelmsford, the Rainham-based volunteer revealed he has a range of progressive ideas he’s looking forward to sharing with his colleagues.

“I’m very, very honoured and very, very pleased to have been elected to this position,” said Deller.

“My immediate predecessor, and certainly those that have gone before, is an illustrious list of names who have dedicated a lot of their lives to the Essex County Football Association and to grassroots football in Essex. All I can say is that I will do my best to fill those shoes to the best of my ability.

“Alec has been a very different chairman to the way I intend to be. That’s not to say he hasn’t been a great chairman, because he has. He’s very committed and passionate and has the gravitas that I, perhaps, don’t have in the same way as Alec.

“But I’ve been in the administration of grassroots football now for nearly 50 years, so I think I know quite a lot about grassroots football in the county and I look forward to bringing that knowledge to bear on my new position.”

Nationwide trends relating to the decay in 11-a-side football have been widely publicised. Attempting to arrest that decline is something which is high on Deller’s agenda.

He added: “I first became a club secretary in 1969 and joined a Sunday League where we had 96 teams. Now, if you added all the Sunday Leagues together in Group Four, you’d struggle to get to 96 teams.

“We used to have four or five very big Saturday Leagues in what we call Metropolitan Essex, and now we have two. Both on Saturdays and Sundays there have been mergers, and leagues have joined together, and I think that’s something that we’re going to see more of if leagues are going to survive.

“Football has some huge challenges. Local authorities have tremendous pressure on their budgets and an easy saving is football pitches. They’re putting the prices up, and the facilities down.

“I understand local authorities have budgets to meet, but personally I think it’s very short-sighted of them. I’ve just been speaking to somebody who’s had to fold a club that’s been running for nearly 30 years because they’ve lost their pitch and they can’t find another one in their area that they can afford.”

Deller first joined the Executive Council in 2005 with a great deal of experience in the field of refereeing. He has been a representative in Group Four - encompassing Essex’s five London Boroughs - ever since and he’s relishing the opportunity to “lead” the Association into a new era.

He said: “We have some new Board Members, and we have other Board Members who are going to step up into different roles.

“We have new Council Members who will be coming to see how it all works and how it all happens. I know from when I first joined the Board it’s quite eye-opening to find out the difference from being a Council Member, and one of the things I’m looking forward to is getting to know the staff better.”

Deller is keen to see the excellent equality work continue in Essex, adding: “One of my roles as a Director has been inclusion and I think that’s something that we have embraced. Essex has an incredibly diverse football-playing population which continues to grow.

“We now have a huge Eastern European demographic in certain parts of the county and we have to recognise that what works in one part of the county won’t necessarily work in another.

“We have to find ways and means of developing disabled football, and women’s football is an area where there seems to be growth nationally, but stagnation in Essex. That’s something we need to look at and develop.

“Youth football has peaks and troughs. The last couple of seasons seem to have been a little bit of a trough. But I’m very much looking forward to the next few years. I think it’s an exciting time for football at all levels, particularly in Essex.”

To find out more about the structure of the Essex FA’s Executive Council, or to find out how to contact your local Football Development Officer, visit essexfa.com.

Information is also shared on Twitter @EssexCountyFA and by searching for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.

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