My recent article covering the Matamata Swifts versus AFC Fury match has generated some decent feedback – by far the most I’ve had in the short time I’ve been running this site and writing about local football.
Much of the feedback has been off the record so I can’t use it in an article. But it all just goes to increase my interest in AFC Fury and the journey they and their mentor, Dave Cook, are on. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying it’s a captivating local football story.
Dave himself contacted me after publication of the article and, it would be fair to say, he wasn’t overly happy. I can sort of relate to that, if my article was read from a mindset and in a way in which it wasn’t intended. Our conversation (via text) was fairly open and hugely enlightning (for me, at least).
Dave stated that my comments are seen (I guess by him) as trying to derail a fellow club, “a club that could of (sic) but has not done that to Matamata”. As I’m no longer involved with Matamata Swifts at an official level this comment seemed a little odd, but I’ll let that one ride as something tapped out in the heat of the moment. The article was written from the perspective of an average man on the street, not someone with any vested interest.
He requested a public apology. After some reflection I think I’m man enough to offer one. If my article caused any offence, real or imagined, to anyone I do genuinely apologise. Offence was never ever my intention.
As an observer of New Zealand football the Fury story fascinates me. As someone who tried, for a while, to guide a senior club to success, and failed, I’m really interested to know what Fury (or any other successful club for that matter) is doing differently. One day, I’m sure, I’ll be back in football management and I’d like to be better prepared. The soundest way to learn is to observe what successful organisations are doing, ask questions, and then adapt the best and most appropriate processes to your own unique environment.
Dave told me that I have no idea what the future plans are for AFC Fury and “there is so much you don’t know, not aware of”. Well, I would have thought that’s bloody obvious from the content of my previous article. That’s why it was loaded up with questions rather than statements of fact. The sort of questions an enquiring mind would naturally like to ask.
What Dave did tell me was the following:
AFC Fury has a full-time CEO and a full-time Development Manager (no details though).
AFC Fury is in a healthy financial situation, “more than any other club in the region”.
Lee Garnham, the player I singled out for praise in my article, is on a two year signed and registered contract.
AFC Fury does, indeed, have a succession plan in place for when Dave is gone (although no details about what that plan involves and who the chosen succeeder(s) are).
That I do not know the player registration rules and should have been concerned when another club in the region [naming them is not relevant at this point in time] fielded English players who weren’t transferred in correctly from the UK.
Dave was in the Northern League and the National League when I was a just a young boy and, “I [meaning Dave] know all there is to know”.
Now, you don’t need to be a member of Mensa to instantly have a whole raft of further questions or comments following on from that little lot. Most of those statements are fantastic. If a local club playing recreational football has even half of those things in place then that’s massive news for the game in our region and a hugely positive position for AFC Fury to be in.
Unfortunately Dave declined my offer of a sit-down interview. I think it would have been one hell of an interesting read for anyone even remotely interested in local football. He wants to stay focussed “cos my energy needs to be on the job”. That’s fair enough and I can understand and respect his point of view. But it doesn’t dampen my curiosity.
The more I find out about AFC Fury the more I want to know, as an observer of organisational behaviour, football clubs, and human beings in general.