Thanks to everyone who attended the Inter County Trophy match against West Midlands on Saturday 28th November. In miserable weather conditions it was extremely frustrating and disappointing to see our run in the national competition come to such an abrupt end.

As a county we traditionally don’t seem to perform well in the Under 14 competition and this year we had hoped for a much more positive outcome. We will now look at why things went wrong after such a promising start to this project and do our best to put things right for future squads in this age group.

Going into such an important game with only 13 players from a named squad of 18 was a particularly alarming aspect of this experience. Injuries and illness cannot be helped and thanks to those players who let us know that they couldn’t play in advance (one even came down to support which was a fantastic gesture). For a county schools representative side selected from an initial list of over 50 boys to line up with only two substitutes (one outfield) on match day is not good enough and we have to sit down and work out how and why that happened.

The players who did play got off to an excellent start and tried hard in awful conditions. They all represented Greater Manchester well and treated their opponents, the officials and each other with respect. The goals that we scored were very well taken and were the result of some clever build up play.

Congratulations must go to the West Midlands squad and their staff. They had a long journey up to Bolton in poor weather but they came up, did their job and conducted themselves brilliantly throughout the afternoon. We wish them well for the rest of their time in the competition.

Unfortunately our exit from the Inter County Trophy leaves us with no more matches to play this season. I must take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved at any point since our opening trial at Carrington in September: all players, teachers, parents, carers and not least the manager and staff at Bury Football Club who kindly allowed us to use their outstanding facilities on two occasions.

There will be a Greater Manchester County Schools squad again at Under 16 level. That squad is based in central Manchester and you will hear details of the trial process through your schools and districts at some point in 2017.

Keep enjoying your football!

Best wishes

Mr Jackson