With the 21/22 season being our first full one in two years, we've had a lot to catch up on but far more to celebrate! Our Chairperson, Leigh Willis, takes a look back at some of the season's highlights below.
"It was great to get back to normality this season, however it wasn't without it's challenges with a few games being postponed due to Covid, a brief petrol crisis and some extreme weather, meaning that the season extended further in to May than expected.
The effect of the pandemic were apparent, with depleted numbers in quite a few of our squads early on in the season. However, the need for sociable activities and outdoor sports soon became clear as numbers joining the club grew throughout the months. This created a record number of players for us this year, over 1,100 players, 900 of which were youth players, but also a record number of teams 80 - to be precise - with our U10 age group being the biggest with 9 teams; three of which were created midway through the season due to demand!
Our Girls Teams came back with a bang, making Anchorians history by having two teams in the Kent FA County Cup Finals; Our U13 Halos and U15 Tigresses might not have bought the trophies home, but certainly made themselves known with some outstanding play - we can't wait to see what they bring next season!
These weren't our only cup finalists, as our Men’s Academicals made the Rochester and Districts leagues Sittingbourne and Milton cup final, the U7 Tigers & U11 Lions made the Challenge Shield final, U7 Tigers Burridge Cup in the North Kent League. The U15 Panthers managed to lift the cup in the Medway District Youth League John Leeds final, as did the U14 Hearts in the Kent Girls and Ladies Football League, League Cup Final.
On top of this we had teams vying for league titles and league runners up; well done to the U14 Tigresses, U11 Hearts, and U11 Diamonds for winning their respective league/shield and the U15 Tigresses and the U16 Athletic for being runners up... Phew!
Our greatest achievement though is that we were able to give so many people the chance to be involved and help bolster their mental and physical health, as well as being integral to supporting the social skills that many of our younger players had missed throughout the pandemic.
Another highlight has been the community work we've been able to support. We have an amazing team of community workforce coaches, that have worked closely with Medway Council in delivering community-led initiatives.
This has included our biggest community project to date: our Half Term and Summer Holiday Football Camps, providing free places to children eligible for free school meals to ensure that everyone has the chance to take part in activities and get a hot meal during the day.
We've also collaborated with Medway Night Shelter and Medway Council to run Genesis Football sessions, pictured below, using the power of football to help homeless and vulnerable adults not only stay active, but to share stories, support and to reach out to each other.
Our Anchorians Tournament also made a comeback, with over 200 teams from under 7's upwards taking part.
It's been such a great season, packed with amazing achievements for everybody. Huge thanks has to go to our volunteer committee members, coaches and managers for making Anchorians what it is."