Formed in 2014, Harchester Hawks play in the Thames Valley Premier League
Divisions 3 & 4
We caught up with Chris Berry, Secretary and Coach at the club to ask him some questions:
How is the club set up?
"We operate with a one club philosophy whereby everybody within the club in either of our teams trains together, socialises together and gets to know everyone. We believe this is the best way to create a unified club with different teams rather than have separate teams with different personnel and ambitions. Our setup allows players to move freely between the teams to suit their needs - for example, a player who has not played regular football for a few years may be more comfortable starting in our Development team to build up fitness and confidence but may after a few games, weeks or months realise they wish for the more competitive ambitious First Team. Similarly a player who has played in our first team may find that they can no longer make every week and find themselves down the pecking order - in which case our Development squad would provide that opportunity for game time when they can make it.
In terms of coaches and our committee, our First Team manager Alex Garraway, is an extremely dedicated personality who has certainly embraced his role since we invited him to become manager in 2014. Alex was unable to play due to health reasons but has more than made up for that in his time given up in his duel role of First Team Manager and Treasurer. He is assisted by our Chairman and no.1 goalkeeper Alan Galbraith who has good experience having played at a very good level during his studies at University. Our second team, as it is still quite new is being looked after by several of us including Scott Irving and Gray Lucking, two of our committee members, with myself helping with the organisation and tactical side. As the most experienced coach at the club (I am a professional coach by trade, working for Reading Football Community Trust) I try to help the others where I can to get their footballing knowledge into practice. A big goal for me is to up skill our volunteers with coaching qualifications to try to help them and the club as a whole. We are also very grateful to all those who put work in behind the Committee, with girlfriends, sisters, mums and dads all being very supportive to help us as we go."
Is there any good practice your club has done?
"We are very proud with the way we run the club, as everything is geared around trying to reduce the cost of football for our players, this year for example, despite doubling our costs with the additions of a second team, we have managed to reduce our signing on fees from £70 to £50 which we think is a great achievement."
What are your ambitions?
"Really we have two main ambitions as a club; footballing and non footballing.
From a football point of view we have played two seasons which have already resulted in a league title (division five winners 2014/15), we have moved up two divisions since we started (2014/15 - promoted as champions, 2015/16 - elevated as part of league restructuring) as well as a cup semi final (2015/16 Challenge Cup). Our aim from a footballing perspective revolves around continuing this upward trend with our First team and trying to compete as high as we can in the football pyramid. Along with this we wish to ensure that our second team maintains its status and continues to provide football to as many people as possible.
We do not envisage a third team in the immediate future but we would not rule anything out, particularly as we are actively searching and working on developing links with local youth teams in the area as well as exploring other avenues such as University and small sided football to (re)engage as many people in 11-a-side football as possible.
From a non-footballing perspective we wish to continue the good work we have done from a community development point of view, for example we have held several events at the Earley Radstock Social - another local volunteer ran organisation -, as well as continuing to run birthday parties for friends and family members of the club and running school fetes to help raise money for schools and the club. Another cause we have a great desire to continue is our fundraising for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. This is a cause very close to our hearts, we have the logo on our home and away kits to help to raise awareness for this wonderful charity and, spearheaded by Alex (Manager and treasurer) the club has helped to raise hundreds of pounds for this excellent cause and we fully intend to continue this."
What does the club need help with?
"As a small club we are run by a very small number of people, on a very limited budget so we are always looking out for people who are willing to volunteer in any aspect of the clubs running - whether that be from an admin point of view or the coaching/football side. We are also always on the lookout for partner organisations and sponsors - we currently have several local businesses who we have worked with and will continue to work with to help promote both the club and business."
We would like to thank Chris for taking time to answer our questions and giving you a great insight into Harchester Hawks.
For more information on the club you can find them on Facebook
If you would like your club profiled please email Matthew.Pill@berks-bucksfa.com