Chairman's End of Season Statement
Dunston UTS FC Chairman Mr Malcolm James reflects on this season and pays gratitude to those who have kindly supported the club.
With our first full season in The Pitching-In Northern Premier League East now complete, I’d like to reflect on what we have achieved as a Club. Although we missed out on gaining promotion, there are a lot of positives to take from this season and points to reflect upon.
Achieving a final position of 6th in the table, in what proved to be a very competitive and entertaining division, is our highest finish within the non-league pyramid since the clubs humble beginnings. This illustrates the tremendous progress we have made and the positive direction in which, as a Football Club, we are moving towards.
Following the completion of the season we would like to congratulate Liversedge FC, who proved to be worthy winners of the division title. Three of the four clubs who secured a play-off spot are North East sides, which goes to show the strength of non-league football in the region. We wish both Marske United and Stockton Town the very best of luck in their play-off final.
At the start of this season we established a very talented squad of players, headed by Club Manager Chris Swailes. Swaz had strengthened his backroom staff, with the addition of Assistant Manager Jon McDonald, Ian Irving as Coach and Lewis Black as Club Physio.
We were optimistic for a successful season ahead and of continued growth off the pitch. With the re-structuring of divisions at Step-4 level, we knew this season would be a different challenge to previous seasons. The strength of the league has been evident throughout the season, with each side able to beat the other, something we may not have correctly anticipated.
With the season now complete, I would like to thank all of our players and staff for their superb efforts this season. Understandably there is disappointment within the team, but we must recognise the hard work made by all players and staff for their efforts in trying to deliver success, we wish them all a well-deserved rest.
It is with great regret that we say our goodbyes to two players who are leaving the club due to personal commitments.
A true servant to the club is Andrew Clark who joined us from Ashington in August 2009 and was an important member of our F.A. Vase winning side in 2012. Not only did we sign a great servant in Andy but his dad Tom became a popular member of the club and was our previous match-day announcer. Andy left the club in May 2017 but re-joined as goalkeeper coach in 2020.
The second player is Michael Hall. We pursued Michael for two seasons before we finally got our man for the 2017/18 season. That season we won the Northern League Cup, were runners up in the Durham Challenge Cup and Michael was voted Players Player of the 2017/18 season. He was also in the side that won the Northern League First Division title in 2018/19. A great signing and a true servant to the club.
We wish both these wonderful lads and exceptional players all the very best, whatever route they decide to take in the future.
A tremendous amount of hard work, time and effort had gone into various upgrades to The UTS Stadium, all in despite of the overhanging concerns from any further potential disruptions, due to an on-going global pandemic.
We have seen a significant rise in attendances this season, with an average attendance above 300, we have been encouraged to see new supporters now attending games, from various different age groups, as well as those who have continued to support us for decades. Our Supporters have followed and supported the team magnificently, both home and away, and they are a credit to the club.
We have formed strong relationships and links with local schools and charities this season, this is something we see as being hugely beneficial to the local community. We will continue to maintain and build upon these relationships further in the future.
Dunston UTS FC are eternally grateful for the phenomenal support we have received from our Main Club Sponsor UTS Engineering Limited. Our long standing relationship goes back to the 2009/10 season and the long-standing relationship which we have been afforded, through Shaun Sadler’s continued generosity, will be something which we shall be forever thankful for.
With the financial impacts caused by the effects of Covid-19, upon many clubs at our level and businesses alike, we understood fully how difficult a time the previous years have been. We have been fortunate to receive continued sponsorship from Dunston Van and Truck Hire, who proudly continue to sponsor our home shirt, as they have done since season 2008/2009. We are grateful to all the companies and individuals who have provided support throughout this season.
I would like to thank our committee, the volunteers and staff who have, as ever, made a massive contribution off the field.
Our Media Team have strived to create, and have consistently delivered outstanding content, and to a very high standard. To that end we would like to thank them all for their brilliant work.
We will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Dunston UTS FC’s proudest moment, namely our FA Vase win at Wembley Stadium in 2012. We are privileged to be able to welcome a Whitley Bay FC side comprised of players from their 3 times FA Vase winning squads on Saturday May 14th for a 2pm kick off. The gate proceeds on the day going to St Oswald’s Hospice.
We encourage as many people as possible to come along on the day and show their support, and more importantly, celebrate Dunston UTS FC’s proudest moment.
There is a great sense of optimism within the club, that next season will prove to see further progress, as has been the case season after season. Once again we would like to thank all those who have supported us during this season with a special thank you to those who have travelled far and wide in support of our club.
As our club grows both on and off the field we would be most grateful if anyone with the time available would like to join us as committee members as we strive to continue our progress both on and off the field.
I would like to express my own personal gratitude to the support given to our club by one and all and look forward to seeing you all in the future as we look forward to 22/23 season