President’s Report – AGM 2016

I would like to welcome everyone to the Annual General Meeting of Sydney Rangers Football Club. I thank you for attending, showing your support and for your continued interest in the future of our proud club.

The 2015/2016 year has been another successful one for SRFC with strong growth in new membership, the consolidation of our four winter comp teams, a new training-focused club ethic supported by the hiring of an external club trainer, successfully defending our Justin Fashanu Cup title in Melbourne, a leap forward in establishing the Pride Football Australia entity, and a successful 2016 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. This position has also been enriched by a healthy financial position as the club has embarked on partnering with new sponsorship agreements with St George Bank and The Beresford to realise our mutually beneficial goals and we have continued our commitment from members to fundraising within the wider LGBTI community.

The club’s achievements are due to a variety of factors but I would like to start by thanking the current committee for their commitment to the roles they have taken on and the support they have given me as President. We usually have a meeting of the full committee once per month as well as a range of other meetings to organise club events or deal with club issues as they arise. The elected members for 2015/2016 were current committee members; Vice President Paul Flynn; Treasurer Mark Robinson; Secretary Michael Healey; Sponsorship & Fundraising Officer Carl Austin; and former committee members Adam Rose & Joel Larsen.

Special thanks must be given to Public Officer Mitch Coidan for his valued contribution and expert legal counsel; Tom Dougherty for his expertise in designing the new SRFC website; Football Director Koji Niikura for a well organised and stress-free trial match program; Fitness & Conditioning Coach Nicholas Needs for his excellent preseason training sessions and Club Coach Ben Bagshaw for leading the club to three-in-a-row JF Cup titles last year. We also thank the tireless and often thankless work of our current and former winter comp coaches over the past year, in no particular order; Ben Bagshaw, Matthew Beal, Cristian Rodriguez, Mark Eagleson, Rob Lumb, Mark Robinson, Duncan Jones, Steven Tien, Gavin Mears and Joseph Roppolo.

Last season in 2015 was a year of many milestones including the formation of the latest Rangers team, the “Newbees”, largely due to the hard work and organisation of former President Gavin Mears. Our Rangers A and 35s both made semi-final and preliminary finals appearances respectively. The defining moment of winter comp 2015 was an historic first grand final appearance by Rangers B led by Coach Ben Bagshaw and this club’s incredible sideline support at that match.

Before the start of the current winter comp season, the SRFC Code of Conduct was once again sent to all players, coaches, officials and supporters to establish a minimum standard of performance, behaviour and professionalism for all members of our club.  We have asked all coaches and managers to report any incidents of conflict that do happen in our teams so we can have a better understanding of any issues that arise. The coaches and managers should take the first steps in dealing with conflict which could be a subtle reminder to players of their responsibilities under the Code or sending players a copy of the code to read. Incidents will only be escalated at the Club level after this is agreed with coaches and mangers. At all times common sense should prevail and conflict resolution is dealt with sensitively and also privately as much as possible.

We look forward to continued success in 2016 from our four winter comp teams, all playing for our umbrella club, Balmain DFC and we have set the challenge to win our club’s first premiership honours in 2016 for all teams. The committee is dedicated to achieving competitive success on the football field and has embarked on promoting a new training-focused culture. All players from our premier team have committed to a minimum of 60% training participation and the discussion going forward is how this is enforced fairly and if other Rangers teams should embrace a similar commitment next season. The committee has invested in an external club trainer for winter comp 2016 and we have seen unprecedented numbers to training by all teams with 31, 39 and 38 players to training so far on Wednesday Night at Birchgrove.

Twenty four months ago, the committee set out a clear mission and vision for the club going forward (http://sydneyrangersfc.com/2014/05/19/sydney-rangers-fc-mission-vision-goals/) with a number of ambitious short, medium and long term goals. It is important to reflect on the past year as many of these goals are well on their way to being successfully achieved.

The club has grown from 69 members in 2013/14 to 80 members in 2014/15 to 96 full, social and supporter members in the past 2015/16 year which is in line with our growth expectations.

Securing a high profile sponsor such as St George Bank has been pivotal to the committee’s plans to promote our club within our community and to a wider audience. We now have a major corporate sponsor who has tailored their brand image to the needs of our specific club and community and it’s with great pride, the St George rainbow-breathing dragon is on the front of our new SRFC jerseys. Having a household brand as sponsor helps SRFC to increase our visibility to new members as well as potential new sponsors and affiliates. In return, we are helping St George Bank to increase their presence in our local community and help attract pink customers to their business. We commend the excellent work of Joel Larsen has been pivotal to forging and managing this key relationship.

A sponsorship agreement with The Beresford as our venue specific sponsor has already proved a popular decision amongst our membership. We sincerely thank Vice President Paul Flynn for his instrumental work in managing this relationship with this iconic Surry Hills entertainment venue. We must ensure the arrangement is mutually beneficial and make sure all winter comp players are making the effort to attend after every game.

Lastly, our sponsorship with ACON has helped us to build stronger ties within our community and we are proud to help promote the excellent work they carry out on a daily basis promoting positive messages of tolerance, diversity, equality, health and wellness within our communities.

Our plan is to organise a ‘Sponsors Meet the Rangers’ at The Beresford on a Sunday afternoon to help build stronger ties with our sponsors and make sure we communicate the great work Rangers are doing in the community, whether it’s fundraising for charities such as Twenty 10, promoting men’s mental health issues with Mr. Perfect or baking cakes for The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation.

Fundraising continues to be one of our keystone social activities to generate revenue and for our members to engage and interact with our community and we have seen continued success on this front with our affiliation with the ‘I Remember House’ parties, the Harbour City Bears and Honey Productions.

With continued growth of the club’s online presence to 1009 likes on the Sydney Rangers Facebook group page and another 461 friends on our Facebook personal page, it is no wonder SRFC are boosting our attendance at all club social events such as our End of Season Awards, Fair Day, Mardi Gras Football Tournament and the Mardi Gras Parade. I would like to mention the fantastic effort, organisation and work put into the 2015 End of Season Awards night at The Beresford Hotel which was organised and hosted by Adam Rose, Daryn Vanstone, Carl Austin and Mikey Lovegrove. The boys kept everyone entertained and the event was once more a real highlight of the Rangers social calendar.

The club is proud to be formation members of the Pride Football Australia tournament and we were delighted to take a strong representative team to Melbourne last October to defend the JF Cup. Coached by Ben Bagshaw, the boys performed fantastically well with our four winter comp teams joining forces to become one & dramatically winning our third JF Cup in a row on penalties. The ‘weighted’ lottery selection system has served us well to this point but as always, things can be refined further to make the process even more equitable and this is something up for discussion.

The next step of creating a separate entity for PFA is close to being realised with this organisation set to provide the national impetus to achieve the following objectives: to promote participation in football within the LGBTI community; to be a leading national advocate on promoting the inclusion and acceptance of LGBTI identifying people in sport; to foster and provide assistance to newly emerging LGBTI football clubs around the country; and finally, to organise and promote the PFA tournament including fundraising and sponsorship activities. Mitch Coidan, Mark Robinson, Dan Lord and I have met with representatives of the Flying Bats and Melbourne Rovers to set up the very first PFA committee in the coming weeks. This is the next logical evolution to provide the strategic vision and implementation necessary to take PFA forward and Mitch in particular, has put in an enormous amount of work setting up the constitution which we kindly thank him for.

Later this year on 7-9 October, we have the PFA Tournament in Sydney so we need to start planning the last joint venture working group with the Flying Bats before the new committee takes over in 2017. We will be asking for 3 volunteers from our membership to continue the great Sydney tradition of putting on a first class weekend of events including the Friday ‘Launch’ night, Saturday ‘Match Day’ & the famous PFA ‘After Party’.

SRFC has a rich history of competing internationally and we plan to send a team in September 2016 on a 14-day USA Road Trip which will encompass San Fransisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. We will be sending details out shortly about the 7v7 tournament, flights, accommodation and other costs involved. We hope to send 10 players on this exciting trip and we thank Rob Nice for his work in helping to organise.

Looking ahead to 2017, we have quite a year coming up as our club’s 20th anniversary celebration year looms large. The committee is planning a number of important and worthwhile events to take place during the 2017 Mardi Gras calendar. We request all members to get involved and share the fun to make next year the most fabulous Rangers effort ever! We also plan to send a Rangers 11 aside team to the Miami Outgames (26 May – 4 June) next year as we have had many requests from members about this tournament.

It is with regret that I must inform the club we have an outgoing committee member who is calling time on his four year stint of service and dedication to Sydney Rangers. Paul Flynn joined the committee in 2012 as Sponsorship & Fundraising Officer and it’s no small coincidence this club would enter one of our most rewarding and exciting chapters. Paul brought many gifts with him; his professionalism and business acumen, a vast knowledge of the hospitality industry, a cheeky wit and smile, an ability to never shy away from telling it the way it is, and a vast array of community & business contacts that has helped transform this club and engage with sponsors, community partners and affiliates in new and exciting ways. Over the years, Paul was instrumental to building and maintaining relationships with The Midnight Shift, Manhunt, I Remember House, SX/GNN/Evomedia, and The Beresford. During his time, Paul would also occupy roles as Treasurer and Vice President and his many achievements are vast and endless. Paul, on behalf of this club we thank you!

There is much to be proud of over the last 12 months and the committee plans to continue driving SRFC forwards. There is always room for improvement and we ask our members to communicate your ideas and thoughts constructively and without hesitation. I encourage all members to get involved in the workings of the club for 2016/2017. This is an important year and the committee needs all the support, involvement and hard work our members can muster. We encourage all interested members to get involved on the working groups as preparation for possibly joining the committee if they are interested in doing so. Together we can continue to create a supportive club where being a Ranger and representing this proud club means so much more than just playing football.

Presented to AGM by Club President Joseph Roppolo on 19th April 2016

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