Dear Supporters of BPA,
I would like to wish a happy new year to all of those associated with our club. I have not been able to travel during this season, so I have not managed to see a real game. Hopefully I will be able to get over soon and see you all.
I want to thank all of those that make the club work day in and out through these difficult times. Despite the national problems we have made slow and steady progress on improving the ground while our first team continues to outperform our limited budget. The club Development Committee has helped tremendously in this area. We will continue our efforts to further improve the facilities at the ground in this coming year.
This past year Calum Cullen has taken on the responsibility of the stadium management and we are well on our way to reaching financial stability despite the effects of Covid-19. Thank you Calum. Thanks are also due to Neil and Ben for their help to keep the place running.
Thomas McStravick is the head of our Academy section and he has been successful in recruiting good youngsters. Please read his report below.
Our board currently consists of just three people, myself, Paul Armitage and David Little. In the coming year we intend to expand the board to include more local representation. We will be looking for candidates who love sport but also share our desire to build a club that serves the community that we are in. We would like to hear from potential candidates.
In addition, our board is studying various ways to involve our supporters in the management of the club in line with government recommendations. We hope to have a plan formulated at our next meeting in February.
Finally I would like to thank Keith Bonney for his invaluable help on keeping our finances straight.
With a bit of luck I will be able to attend a game in February and have a forum where we can talk about the plans for the future.
Report from the Academy.
The academy has seen significant growth over the last couple of years. We now have over 400 young people aged 5-18 in our juniors, performance centre and scholarship academy. We also have six full time staff working throughout our programme. This commitment from the club is a real reflection of our desire to build a long term sustainable and successful football club. The next generation of fans don’t just fall off trees so we need these young players coming through not only to produce the next first team superstar but also to produce the next Avenue diehard.
There are some key dates coming up over the next few months for the academy. First up on the 11th January we have a trial evening for our BPA Player Pathway, which has seen over 350 registrations in less than eight months. These are parents who want their children to be involved at the Avenue from our juniors through to scholars. Encouraging signs but there’s still a lot of work ahead and we are aiming to increase the number of young players involved in our club from 400 to 600 in twelve months. Increasing the number of players involved in the club increases the number of potential new fans and also our chances of producing a first team player in the years ahead. To produce a quality academy it takes ten years of hard work. Players coming into the club aged 7, if looked after properly, can potentially play in our first team at 17 and then who knows after that. That’s our aim and we have some quality young players involved in our juniors at the moment with our u7’s recently invited to play in a selective tournament at west riding county FA with the other top teams in West Yorkshire at that age. The future is bright and it’s green and white.
Another key date is the sponsors evening on 10th February. As a club we are focused on connecting with the local Bradford business community, this is an important aspect in our journey to becoming a sustainable football club. We will be inviting current academy player sponsors and also other potential sponsors to come along and enjoy an evening of entertainment at the Horsfall. We will have some food and entertainment on the night along with an auction to help us raise some funds.
In March and May we have our BPA Primary Schools Cup tournament with both boys and girls sections. Last year we have 24 teams participate. In 2023 we will have 48 teams taking part! Integra Insurance will once again be our sponsors for the event and we thank them for their support.
So in summary we have lots to look forward to in 2023 and we welcome all support from our fan base to help us build the club and progress.