17 May 2021 : Talented newcomers will only enhance quality squad, says Linnets manager
BOSS Calum McIntyre has expressed his delight as Runcorn Linnets offer the warmest of welcomes and a fuller introduction to three new first-team signings.
Midfielders Joe Lynch and Rhain Hellawell join wide player Michael (MJ) Monaghan in bolstering the Runcorn ranks as we start to gear up for the long-awaited return of competitive
football in August.
The manager could not be more pleased with the captures and the qualities they will add to an already talented squad.
Joe Lynch is a tenacious 21-year-old midfielder, who most recently played for Lower Breck in the North West Counties League.
He joined the Liverpool club in September of last year after a spell with Morecambe.
Joe had signed for the Shrimps in July 2019, making his first-team debut within two months in the EFL Trophy.
He had previously been on contract at Crewe Alexandra, graduating from their Academy in summer 2018 and playing against Runcorn Linnets in the Cheshire Senior Cup.
For the manager, the signng was most certainly better late than never.
Calum said: "Joe is a really talented footballer and someone we were about to bring in when the 2020-21 season was curtailed.
"We were set to sign him on the day that the Northern Premier League suspended all fixtures shortly after Christmas and I'm pleased he has committed to us for the season ahead
"He can play in a number of positions and brings an enormous amount to the team. He has a tremendous attitude and I know will improve our group and fit well within our dressing room."
A right winger with pace and an eye for goal, 21-year-old Rhain Hellawell renews his association with Linnets manager Calum for whom he played successfully in the Chester FC Academy.
Rhain diverted to the Deva after starting out at his local club Stockport Town, making the first team in the NWCL Premier Division at 16 years old, and progressed through the Chester youth ranks into senior contention.
He represented Chester at Under 17 and U18 levels before graduating to the first-team squad in early 2018.
Rhain made his debut - the first of three senior outings - against Altrincham in the Cheshire Senior Cup and a maiden National League appearance followed in April 2018 versus Maidstone United.
2018-19 loan spells followed at Barnoldswick Town and Widnes but the player succumbed to a knee injury, which required surgery, in January 2019.
Rhain moved the following summer to FC United of Manchester and then onto Radcliffe FC, from where he landed at City of Liverpool on loan in September 2020.
The short-term deal with the Purps was ended by the Covid lockdown at the turn of the year.
Calum McIintyre commented: "Rhain is someone I have worked with before and I'm really pleased to be able to bring him to Runcorn Linnets.
"For someone of his age, he has played a lot of games around this level and he ticks a lot of boxes for us. He is a really hard-working wide player with a terrific engine and will add that to our group."
Highly-rated wide man Michael Monaghan (better known as MJ) arrives from Prescot Cables, where he proved himself a big fans favourite over two spells.
In between these stints the now 27-year-old spent time in Australia, the move Down Under in January 2019 seeing him play for tltle-winning Corio Soccer Club.
On returning to the UK, MJ signed for Witton Albion for the 2019-20 season. But a winter move promptly took him back to Prescot, who in awarding the player a rare contract in summer 2020 described him as a "huge asset".
MJ has had three spells at Marine, after starting in their youth set-up.
He has also served Northich Victoria, Burscough (22 goals helping them into the NPL First Division North play offs), AFC Telford United and Bradford Park Avenue.
Calum said: "MJ is a player that is well established at this level and someone we looked to bring in upon hearing he had left Prescot Cables.
"We feel he is the type of player that we need to improve, someone quite dynamic that makes things happen at the top end of the pitch.
"He had plenty of offers from elsewhere so he is someone we are really pleased to have got committed for the season ahead."
Calum has also made good progress with securing the services of influential players from last season.
Club captain Peter Wylie, fellow centre back Alex Downes, full backs Ally Brown and James Short plus midfield playmaker Iwan Murray have already pledged continuing allegiance to Linnets.
13 May 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 16
Summer Survival Fund
I submitted our application for a Summer Survival Fund grant to the Football Foundation before the deadline and it was for the maximum amount available of £10k.
I am confident the application will be successful and it will be used to cover the cost of the replacement water pump and other repairs, operating costs and to ensure the stadium is ready to welcome back fans in July.
Runcorn Linnets Ladies Team
The Ladies continued their good form under new Interim Manager Dave Todd, with a 2-0 win over West Kirby Ladies with goals from Chelsea Gillies and Ellie Dyson, although the game was abandoned after 75 minutes due to a bad injury to a West Kirby player. I wish the West Kirby player well and hope she returns to action soon.
The Ladies are currently looking to recruit a goalkeeper coach, if you are interested in the role, please get in touch.
Runcorn Linnets Under 21s Team
The Linnets Under 21s came away from an away cup game against Tranmere Under 21s with a great 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Sonny Dean. A massive well done to Ste Chaney and his team and their reward is a trip to Chorley in the quarter finals. Good luck guys, I am sure you will do us proud.
Runcorn Linnets Juniors Akidamey
I was at the Millbank on Sunday to take my sons to Akidamey and I have to say it was brilliant to see so many children there really enjoying their football. There seems to be more and more players there every week and it really is a credit to Nick Woods, Dan Flanagan and all the other coaches involved.
As we start preparations for the return of football, we have a number of match day volunteer opportunities available, including stewards, tea bar staff and bar staff (appropriate training will be provided, so experience is not necessary). These roles are both for the men's team and the Ladies as well as any Under 18s and Under 21s matches.
If you are interested in any of these roles, please click on the link below and let us know which roles you are interested in.
As always, stay safe and I'll see you soon.
Chairman - Runcorn Linnets FC
06 May 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 15
Runcorn Linnets Men's Team
The men's team are currently in what can be described as a pre pre-season where they are training once a week on a Tuesday and they won't return to full pre-season training until June. As part of that pre pre-season Calum arranged a training match against Radcliffe where he used 12 trialists and had two different outfield line ups for each half. Radcliffe won the game 2-0 but it was a good run out for the lads and I'm sure Calum and his management team learned a lot from it.
For me, it was just great to watch some live football, even if the weather had turned for the worse and the lads got absolutely soaked.
John Pickering and James Sidwell have stepped down from their roles with the Linnets Ladies but will both remain involved with the club. I would like to thank both John and James for their many years of service with the Ladies, the Linnets Ladies simply wouldn't be where they are today without them. I am delighted to announce that the Board supported my recommendation for John to be made an Honorary Life Vice President and that will be ratified at the next board meeting.
David Todd who is a coach in our Juniors Section and has been working with the Ladies over the last few weeks will be acting as Interim Manager. The Board and I will be supporting Toddy over the coming weeks as he builds his coaching team. We will announce a permanent replacement when that decision has been made.
Molly Cawley unfortunately suffered a nasty injury in the Ladies game away at Ellesmere Port Town Ladies on Sunday and will be out of action for some time. Molly will be supported by her Teammates and the club's Welfare Officer Grace Mantova during her recuperation. I wish Molly well.
Runcorn Linnets Under 18s Team
I witnessed the Under 18s progress in the cup with a very dominant 3-1 win on Saturday morning against Netherley Wood Lane on a difficult pitch. They played some really good football and probably should have won by more. There were a few players whose progress I'm really looking forward to watching.
We have assembled a Commercial Team and they have been working hard coming up with ideas and contacting potential sponsors. They have already closed a few deals and I'm sure there is lots more to come. If you would like to discuss a potential sponsorship opportunity or have any ideas you would like to put to the team, please use the link below.
Stay safe and I'll see you all soon.
Chairman - Runcorn Linnets FC
29 Apr 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 14
Sport Survival Grant
The Football Foundation have released details of the latest round of Sport Survival Grant funding and clubs at our step can apply for funding of up to £10,000. We will have a look at the criteria and if we qualify, I will put in an application before the 9th May deadline.
The FA Council approved plans to restructure the leagues at Steps 4 to 7 and 110 clubs in total will be moved upwards in the football pyramid.
As I have previously mentioned that means there will be an additional division introduced to the Northern Premier League in which we play. We should know the make up of our new division by week commencing 17th May. The FA have invited 1874 Northwich, Bootle and Warrington Rylands to apply for promotion based on their league performances in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, so it is fair to assume that they will be in the same division as us.
Social Media Boycott
You may have seen in the news that in response to the discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to the game, there is a planned social media boycott by football authorities and clubs taking place from 3pm on Friday 30th April to 11:59pm on Monday 3rd May.
I wanted to let you all know that Runcorn Linnets will be joining in with that boycott as we strongly believe there is no place for discriminatory abuse in football or in society as a whole.
We have had a little bit of a setback in the last week, as following the work done by Mallinsons on the pitch we attempted to water the pitch only to find that there was no water pressure to use either the pop-up sprinklers or the Speedy Rain. It was determined that the pump was not fitted correctly, and it has burnt itself out.
Fortunately, our Grounds and Maintenance Manager Jeff Jago, with help from Irrigation Control was able to rig the pump so the Speedy Rain could be used. With the help of the amazing volunteers in our Maintenance Team we were able to ensure the pitch was appropriately watered.
Jeff was then able to work his magic with Irrigation Control to get a new pump fitted on Wednesday morning, at a reasonable price. A massive thank you to Jeff, Irrigation Control and our Maintenance Team for sorting a problem that could have been much worse.
If you would like to join our amazing group of volunteers then please follow the link below.
Volunteer for the Club
Linnets in the Community
To continue our great relationship with the local police, our Community Engagement Manager Josh Christian will be representing the club at a community knife sweep. Knife crime has devastating consequences for communities and the club will do anything we can to help.
See you all soon.
22 Apr 2021 : Chairman's Update - Week 13
European Super League
You may think it unusual for me to open my latest update with the European Super League that has recently been announced but if this league were to go ahead, it would have implications for the whole of football. For example, we were given a substantial grant by the Football Foundation for the installation of our Hybrid Pitch. The Football Foundation is a partnership of the FA, Premier League, Sport England, and the UK Government and is funded by the money that is generated at the top of the game and this proposed "Super League" will put that in jeopardy.
Football is hugely popular in this country, so much so that another division is being added at our step in the football pyramid and that is only possible because of the fans. The teams that will be chosen to move up from step 5 to step 4 will be chosen on merit, on performances on the pitch and they will have to retain their places in the division on the pitch.
One of the fundamental principles of the football pyramid in this country is that it is possible, however unlikely, that a club can progress through the pyramid from the Northern Premier League to the Premier League and then to the pinnacle of European football which is the Champions League. This new league would put an end to that and it cannot be allowed to go ahead.
We were successful in receiving an £8000 restart grant from Halton Borough Council and we are grateful to them for processing our claim. The grant will be used to ensure we are ready to open for the first home preseason friendly by restocking the bar and tea bar, as all stock left over when the season was abandoned is out of date.
The end of season pitch work began on Monday and the pitch is expected to be out of action for no longer than 10 weeks. This extensive work is being funded by the Football Foundation and the pitch will be perfect when the work is completed.
I know many of you contributed to the Pitch Heroes scheme which was launched to raise funds to help towards the club's contribution to the pitch cost. We are very grateful to everyone who has contributed so far and I wanted to let you know that your Pitch Heroes badges will be available for you to collect when we are back playing at home and the pitch board commemorating all the Pitch Heroes will be in place shortly after the end of the scheme.
Our new Commercial Team are taking over the administration of the scheme and there is still time to become a Pitch Hero using the link below.
Join the Pitch Heroes scheme
Weekend Matches Round-up
The Linnets Ladies returned to action after their long lay off with a 4-4 draw against the Northwich Vixens, which does not tell the whole story. The Linnets were excellent early on and led 4-1 before an injury to their goalkeeper halted their progress and resulted in the Vixens coming back to seal a draw. The Ladies were disappointed not to hold on to the win but as manager, John Pickering remarked to me as we were walking off the pitch, they remain unbeaten in 2021.
The Under 21s had an away game on Sunday against Abbey Hey in the North West U21 Development League Supplemental Cup and came away with a convincing 6-0 win, so well done to Ste Chaney and his team.
The Under 18s played top of the table Mossley Hill at the Millbank and beat them 4-1 to replace them at the top of the league. Gibbo and his team have given themselves a real chance of finishing top of the league and lifting the trophy, so good luck to them for the rest of the season.
It feels good to talk to you about actual football matches and as a club official I am fortunate enough to be able to watch some of these games but it will not be the same until we are all allowed in to watch all our great Linnets teams.
Runcorn Linnets FC - Chairman
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