On Saturday 9th February, the Big Bang Fair’s AI football coach will make its debut in front of the world's media for Wingate & Finchley’s league match against Whitehawk FC. Before the game, from 1.30 to 2.30pm in the function room, children of all ages are encouraged to take part in the AI Masterclass, where they can learn directly from the developers about how it works and what it is set to become in the future. They can even ask it questions and have their photos taken!
Created by a team of AI experts, the AI provides bespoke pre-game and in-game football strategies for a team against specific opponents. What’s more, the AI coach learns the more it is used to become an even better coach. Here’s a link to view the video.
All Under 12's can enter the match for free and are encouraged to join in with the masterclass.
Masterclass: 1:30 - 2:30pm
Kick off: 3pm
The Tonbridge Angels home fixture has been scheduled for Wednesday 13th February, 7.45pm, and Hornchurch away will be Tues 5th March.
Blues' AI Coach in Partnership with Big Bang Fair
We are delighted to be joining forces with Big Bang Fair to encourage more students into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers, via appointing an AI football coach. It will assist our management team with tactical insights during our home match with Whitehawk next month. Take a look HERE on Youtube!
Glen Little Departure, David Norman Returns
Wingate & Finchley can announce the departure of Glen Little as first team coach. Glen joined the Blues alongside Nicky Shorey as assistant first team coach in October 2018 and was thrust into the manager’s role following Shorey’s sudden exit after three games.
Glen presided over last month’s historic win over Dulwich Hamlet to achieve our best ever FA Trophy run.
We would like to place on record our thanks to Glen for his hard work, dedication and professionalism throughout his tenure and wish him the very best for the future. He will always be welcomed back to Summers Lane.
Chairman Aron Sharpe stated 'Glen helped us hugely in our hour of need and I cannot talk highly enough about him, so I can only thank him. However a different approach was now needed to try and maintain our place in the division so a difficult decision had to be made.'
Former director of football Dave Norman will oversee football operations in the short term and we would like to welcome Dave back to the club.
Sharpe added 'we are thankful to Dave's current club Rhyl in the Welsh Premier for allowing us to work with Dave.'
Saturday v Dulwich Hamlet
On Saturday we are pleased to be supporting Save The Children's Christmas Jumper Day 2018. All fans and staff are encouraged to attend the game in a festive Christmas Jumper, and we will be taking donations during the game's second half for this wonderful charity. If everyone attending could aim to give just £1 we will raise an impressive total for them. You can also donate £2 automatically by texting TEAMWINFINCH to 70050 (100% of this goes to Save The Children).
Separately, the match is being featured by BT Sport who are sending Jeff Brazier to report on the day for BT Sport Score. They will want to carry out interviews with fans and the people behind the scenes so feel free to be accomodating and you might be covered on TV.
Regarding the match itself, the two clubs have agreed that the tie will finish on the day, with extra time and penalties if needed instead of a replay.
Lastly, please be aware of the roadworks near the stadium reducing Summers Lane to single file at the moment.
Wingate & Finchley FC Disabled Fans Forum by Tamia Padotan
Partnering up with Football Coach and Mental Health campaigner, Manisha Tailor, Wingate & Finchley strives to use the power of football to connect and change the lives of those within their community.
Over the past three years, Wingate & Finchley has facilitated and worked alongside Manisha to put into effect the ‘Wingate & Finchley FC Disabled Fans Forum.’ Manisha’s inspiration for the project, ‘Simply Being’ came to fruition from the experience of becoming the carer for her twin brother at the age of 18, who was diagnosed with mental illness as a result of bullying at school. “This real-life experience has taught me the value of early intervention and the impact football can have on mental health, overall well-being and the importance of supporting carers and adults alike,” said Tailor.
This initiative provides fans from the local community, who are disabled or have mental health issues, with the opportunity to come together in a safe environment, enjoy a matchday experience and participate in free weekly football sessions. The club profoundly supports projects which aim to provide a sense of identification and inclusion for those in their community whilst promoting an active, healthy and independent lifestyle. First-team Secretary at the club, Mark Felstein credited the work put into the inspirational partnership. “Mental Health projects with Manisha are always highly successful. She is a brilliant individual who dedicated a lot of time and effort to these projects and helping the club and the community.”
This program helps adults and young people take ownership of - and improve - their emotional and behavioural health whilst having fun participating in teamwork and confidence building exercises. A personal insight from Khalid Karimullah, a member of Wingate’s press team who has openly spoken out about his struggles with depression and anxiety commented on the community led-project.
He said: “It’s 2018 and it’s fair to say the stigma around mental health still exists and you need initiatives such as this to break down those barriers. For some it’s uncomfortable to speak of, but hopefully through the universal sport of football, there’s an opportunity to eradicate those thought-patterns.”
Free access to Wingate & Finchley FC games was also included where fans could come along and enjoy watching a live fixture of the Blues in action at the incredible, Maurice Rebak Stadium. “It is about making people feel they can comfortably express themselves,” concluded Khalid. “And through the help of a diverse family club like Wingate & Finchley, hopefully more projects around mental health can materialise within football clubs across the UK – at all levels - and show that mental health is what people have, but it’s not who they are.”
New Loan Signing
Wingate & Finchley have signed Reece Mitchell on loan from Wealdstone. The winger, aged 23, spent his youth career with Chelsea and then represented Chesterfield and Torquay Utd. He is set to feature in the match on Tuesday at Brightlingsea Regent.
FA Youth Cup
The Under 18's set a club record on Thursday night, progressing through to the FA Youth Cup 2nd Round Proper after beating Kings Langley 5-3. It is the first time the Blues have ever reached this stage, and they are now one win away from a potential draw with the biggest sides in the land.
Next up is a home tie with Andover, date TBC.
A match report can be found HERE
Wingate & Finchley can announce that Nicky Shorey has unfortunately stepped down from his role as joint manager at the club due to unforeseen other commitments.
Nicky goes with our best wishes, and we are able and delighted to confirm that Glen Little will continue in his role. During our efforts to find a solution with Nicky over the past week, Glen has managed the last two matches. His first game in charge was the Cockfosters 6-1 win, and he was also in charge for the 2-1 away win at Sittingbourne in the FA Trophy on Saturday.
Glen joined the club along with Nicky and quickly established himself as a key member of the Management Staff. He will continue alongside the Club's existing coaching structure that is already in place.
We wish Nicky well for the future.
Wingate & Finchley are pleased to announce the signing of striker Charlie Cole.
A natural in front of goal, Cole scored an impressive 59 goals for Essex Senior League side Takeley F.C. during the 2016/17 season.
That tally broke the league’s goalscoring record, set by current West Bromwich Albion striker Dwight Gayle in 2011.
Cole also turned out for Sawbridgeworth Town and Thurrock F.C. earlier in his career.
The 24 year-old joined Billericay Town last campaign and spent a month on loan at Canvey Island. He scored on his debut as Canvey beat Waltham Abbey 2-1.
The striker then joined Hertford Town on loan, before leaving Bostik League Champions Billericay at the end of the season.
He started this season back at Takeley F.C., netting 10 goals before his move to the Blues.
Welcome to Wingate & Finchley, Charlie!
Wingate & Finchley can announce that we have parted company with manager Keith Rowland.
The Northern Irishman has been in charge for close to three years, and in this time has presided over two record-high league finishes for the Blues. In the 2016-17 season he achieved a playoff place, finishing 5th in the Isthmian Premier Division with 75 points.
Chairman Aron Sharpe said “Keith felt that he had taken the team as far as he could; I have been absolutely delighted with the success we have had and the progress we have made with Keith as manager, and he leaves us on the best of terms. We both felt the time was right for a change, in particular as he continues his recovery from recent surgery. We wish him all the best in his next role and for the future, and he will always be welcome back at Summers Lane.”
The Club shall announce a new manager in due course.
FA Youth Cup
After a hard-fought 2-1 win at Haringey Borough in the previous round, Wingate & Finchley U18’s will host Uxbridge U18’s in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup on Thursday night 20th September. Goals from Shakur Farah and Ruben Carvalho gave the hosts a two goal lead at the Coles Park Stadium and, despite a consolation goal, the Blues were able to secure progression to this round of the tournament. Last season, the Blues were eliminated from the competition by Barnet FC U18’s, who ran out 4-0 winners at The Hive.
Wingate & Finchley vs Uxbridge
Maurice Rebak Stadium, Summers Lane, London N12 0PD
7:45pm kick off
We have three cup draws to announce, all of the fixture dates are TBC:
In the Velocity Trophy (League Cup) we will play away at Mildenhall Town.
In the London Senior Cup we will play at home to either Cockfosters or Redbridge.
In the Middlesex Charity Cup will be at home to Northwood.
The FA Cup draw will be held next week.
In celebration of Kick It Out's 25th anniversary, they launched a commemorative Wall of Football on Thursday. Wingate & Finchley donated a match shirt to the display, and we have been placed in a wonderful location between a Man Utd and Arsenal kit from the early 90's. See the video: HERE
Stadium Opening Ceremony
Wingate & Finchley held the official opening ceremony for the refurbished stadium on Saturday 18th August following the match against Folkestone Invicta. The event was led by Geoff Shreeves, a close personal friend of club Chairman Aron Sharpe (pictured left).
In a speech celebrating the occasion, Sharpe stated how proud he was of the journey he had started 14 years earlier when forming his first kids’ club. His intention was to provide a player pathway for young players into adult football, which would be facilitated by building a community club that was self-sustainable. He has now completed this following the opening last year of the Hadley Wood Sports Trust’s training centre in Barnet, and he in particular thanked the club’s Vice Chairman David Thrilling (pictured centre) for all his hard work and support over the years in achieving this.
Sharpe closed by thanking the Football Foundation, the Wingate Youth Trust and all of the supporters for their continued encouragement.
Image courtesy of Martin Addison
On all First Team matchdays the club will now be charging for parking within the stadium’s car park.
Car park entry passes are available for £5 on the day, or a full season pass is available for £75 (or £125 if combined with a player sponsorship).
In addition to this, the four spaces on the forecourt by the turnstiles are to be reserved for disabled persons only.
Please speak with firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to secure a parking season pass or have any queries.
Wingate & Finchley are seeking individual Player Sponsorships and we would greatly appreciate your support.
Sponsorship is only £75 per player.
In exchange for your generosity, your name or your company's name will be displayed in the programme and on the club's website for the entire year. You will also have the opportunity to present to your player should they win any club awards throughout the season.
Please do contact email@example.com quickly to secure your favourite player.
Watford U23 and Enfield Borough Groundshare
We are delighted to announce that two clubs will use the facilities of the Maurice Rebak Stadium for the coming season.
Watford's U23 side will play most of their home league games and FA Youth Cup matches at Summers Lane, which will typically be played on Friday afternoons at 3pm (ticket pricing is to be confirmed). Also sharing are Enfield Borough of the Spartan South Midlands League - they will play on Saturday afternoons and Tuesday evenings when the Blues are away.
Enfield Borough's first match at the stadium is on Saturday 4th August against Ampthill Town.
We would encourage all of our supporters and local residents to come and show their support for both clubs.
Club Shop Relaunched
The Club Shop will re-open at our first home match on 14th August, in its new home next to the main stand. We will stock the traditional bar scarves, bobble hats, replica shirts and pin badges, as well as brand new mugs. You can reserve items at this link on our site (or if you are unable to make it to our stadium for payment and collection soon, please submit the form and mention that you would like to make an online payment and have the items posted)
Sponsor the club
The Club are again on the lookout for sponsors via our extraordinarily cheap annual sponsors’ raffle. Please do contact everyone you know – if everyone attracts just one entrant it will make a world of difference to the club - the deadline is the end of June. Please click HERE to download and send round our latest sponsorship brochure
We are delighted to announce another summer signing, Lewis Putman. The striker joins us from Dorking Wanderers, having previously turned out for multiple clubs including Metropolitan Police, Oxhey Jets and Wealdstone.
Lewis has scored 165 goals in 153 career appearances, including an astounding 81-goal season for Oxhey Jets, and we hope to see this impressive record continue next season.
The Club have signed George Craddock from Canvey Island. The central midfielder has previously won promotion from our league with East Thurrock Utd, and was later signed by Braintree Town. Craddock completed his scholarship at Northampton Town.
We are pleased to confirm that Layne Eadie has joined the club on a permanent basis, following his successful loan with us last season from St Albans City
The Biggleswade Town friendly on 21st July will now be played at Barnet Lane.
We are pleased to announce another new signing; David Manu, aged 22, from Bedford Town.
Aron Sharpe said “David is a young quick winger who can play on the left or right, whom I have been monitoring since he was a young 16 year old at Interwood.”
He was previously at North Greenford Utd and Uxbridge. Welcome David!
Wingate & Finchley are delighted to announce two new signings, with the defensive spine of the side also committing to the club for next season.
Returning to the Club is a defender who needs no introduction; Marc Weatherstone returns from his 100-match stint at promoted Dulwich Hamlet. He re-joins with 434 appearances under his belt for the Blues, and will surely soon overhaul Daniel Nielsen’s record for the club of 451 (since the merger in 1991).
Chace O’Neill also joins the club – he is an attacking midfielder aged 24, who scored arguably the goal of the season last year in the Club’s defeat at Tooting & Mitcham Utd. He did his scholarship with Spurs and then the Nike Academy. He went on to Staines Town in the Conference South before joining Tooting.
Chairman Aron Sharpe said: “I am delighted to recapture Marc, who has proven ability and now a deserved play-off winner’s medal. With Shane Gore, Claudio Vilcu and Sean Cronin all now committed I don’t think you will find a stronger or more experienced defence at this level or above.
Chace O’Neill is a well-known talent and someone I have been aware of through my work with all of the boys from inner London. He will bring further flair to our midfield and provide a different dimension. He has obvious calibre having done his scholarship at Spurs.
I am also pleased that the majority of our squad have committed for next season; they are aware of the development and progress that is going on at the club hence why they have stayed. I have waited for our moment in time and shall look to push the club forwards over the coming years. The fans will be pleased to know that further signings are imminent and shall fit in with our policy of developing by youth coupled with wisdom.”
Wingate & Finchley are pleased to confirm a busy schedule for this summer's preseason. The fixtures are as follows
Full Pre-season fixture list: Summer 2018
Beaconsfield FC - Saturday 7th (Barnet Lane)
Kings Langley - Tuesday 10th (Barnet Lane)
Welwyn Garden City - Saturday 14th (Barnet Lane)
Barking - Tuesday 17th (Away)
Biggleswade Town - Saturday 21st (Away)
St Albans City - Tuesday 24th (Home)
Hayes & Yeading Utd - Saturday 28th (Away)
Royston Town - Tuesday 31st (Away)