The Big Interviews – End Of Year Review – Andy Bryant (SSMAFL)

Whenever there is a story emerging from the Strathclyde Saturday Morning Amateur Football League. you can put the kettle on for President/ Treasurer Andy Bryant immediately being in contact with myself at @Scottish Amateur Football News The Big Interview I staged with Andy some time ago still ranks as one of the highest- viewed on Twitter, and at the SAFN Website. I asked a series of questions and Andy came back with good, honest comments!

What roles do you occupy in the SSMAFL, and how long have you been involved in Scottish Amateur Football?

I am the President of the League, and also the Treasurer, and have been the Treasurer since joining the Executive Committee 15 years ago. My involvement in Amateur Football goes back quite a few years before that (not giving away my age), as a referee and also a coach at various different stages. I am also very honoured to have been awarded Life Membership of the League.

To what extent has the League grown over the past 3-5 years? Number of Clubs etc.

Our league has seen huge growth over the last 5 years especially, growing by some 40%, and we have gone from having 35 clubs to 53. This is a bit of a trend in the West especially, as Saturday Morning Football grows as a need of society it appears, and this has also been the case in the Tayside area Sponsorship appears to play a large part in your set-up. How many do you have, and does publicity feature when you speak with a potential backer?

We have fantastic support from several sponsors, and they are nearly all long-term sponsors. We have each tier in our divisions sponsored, Premiership by Sammy’s Italian Kitchen, The Championship with Cutting Edge Engravers, and our Development Section by Legends, Cambuslang. In particular, the owner of Legends has been a very long-term sponsor, in different businesses.

Our top cup competition is sponsored by Kastle Decor, with Cutting Edge also sponsoring 2 cups. We have 2 other cups at present without sponsors, although it is possible we may not be able to play these in 20-21, so have not sought out any potential sponsors.

We also have all our cup final match balls sponsored by Kelvin Smith. We try and feature all our sponsors on our webpage, and in any media posts we make, and take every opportunity we can to promote them, and we tell our backers that we will do everything possible, and often feature special offers they may be promoting at various times Clubs have had to deal with various problems and ever-changing Scottish Government restrictions since March 23.

Another one was confirmed from October 9 to 25. This has been a bit of a setback obviously, and the clubs have had to operate in a totally new way. It is not Football as we know it, but it is at least football. I have immense respect for the way clubs have gone about ensuring that they can operate in this pandemic era, following ever changing regulations and restrictions, and it has been hard constantly telling them the changes etc

How have you and your top-table officials coped with setting-up Divisions and Fixtures?

I have a fantastic Executive Committee, and our office bearers are on top of everything. As an example, the Match Secretary and myself discussed the potential changes before the announcement was made, so we had a plan, and all our fixtures on our website have been changed to new dates after the announcement. Our Registration Secretary has no doubt been the busiest over the last few weeks, and our Discipline Secretary feels as if he has had his holidays extended, whilst our League Secretary produces great graphics to feature events. Most of my guys even run their own teams, and the value they bring to amateur and youth football is immense, and we are lucky to have them.

Our divisions have all been amended a bit for this season, with of course the support of our clubs, but with the quality of people we have in our league, it’s usually a situation we all adapt to.

What are your aims and ambitions for the rest of this year, and well into 2021?

We as a league, I think, just want to achieve a completed season if I am honest. The disappointment for clubs, players and officials, and our referee’s group was huge, and we still hope to finish our outstanding cups from last season, so that there is some reward for them, in what has been a bit of a nightmare for society. I just want to get us back playing the game we all love, but in a safe and secure way, and am very mindful of the benefits to everyone’s mental health.

Other than that, we will stick with what we know has worked for us, and that is always trying to do what is right for our clubs and players, as after all, without them, I would not be writing this, and always trying to see what we can improve on. We will never rest on our laurels.

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