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13 Jan 2021 : New two-year sponsorship deal extends merseyflow support of Runcorn Linnets

Runcorn Linnets are celebrating the start of 2021 by striking a new sponsorship deal with toll bridge operator merseyflow to extend its sponsorship of the club for an extra two seasons.

It is part of merseyflow's wider community support programme which has also seen it work with Halton Haven, local cricket clubs in Runcorn and Widnes, and Widnes Rugby Union club.

The sponsorship income will be vital for Runcorn Linnets, which has more than 40 different teams, and we are extremely grateful for merseyflow's continued backing.

The Millbank Linnets Stadium and surrounding pitches are home to around 500 girls, boys and adults playing at just about every age group and standard – from the 3-5yr old boys and girls playing for its 'Akidamy' – right up to its men's first team, which plays at a semi-professional level in the Northern Premier League.

The Ladies team recently won promotion to the North West Regional League on account of success at Cheshire League level.

Runcorn Linnets was one of the first 'supporter-owned' football clubs to be set up anywhere in England. Created 15 years ago, it is 100% owned and run by fans and volunteers, and is one of Runcorn's most active community sports clubs.

All the teams, along with its educational academy, are based at Millbank Stadium in Runcorn. 2020 has been a hugely challenging year for the club, with different teams across different age groups subject to different levels of Covid-19 rules and restrictions at different times, with very few spectators allowed and income streams severely affected.

At present, all playing activities throughout the club are suspended due to lockdown.

Neil Conway, Chief Executive of merseyflow, said: "This is about supporting our local community. The Linnets play an important role in Halton – they have over 500 people using the facilities every week and this year most of their income has just disappeared. We wanted to show our ongoing support to the club, so we're delighted to be signing up for an extra two seasons of sponsorship and support."

Mike Bignall, who was Chairman of Runcorn Linnets when the deal was negotiated and agreed and is now a club vice-president, said: "We'd like to say a huge thanks to merseyflow for extending its sponsorship deal. Every penny that they donate, along with the income from our other sponsors, is being used to keep the club running because we've lost nearly all of our usual sources of income this year."

He added: "2020 has obviously been challenging for everyone. For us, it has been chaotic because we've had different rules for all sorts of different teams to try and follow at the same time and it's been a real challenge for all of our players, their families and supporters to keep up."

12 Jan 2021 : Dave Jones installed as chairman of Runcorn Linnets

Runcorn Linnets Trust Board chose Dave Jones as the new club chairman at their meeting last night.

Dave succeeds Mike Bignall, who resigned from the position and from the board at the weekend.

Paul Eastup and Ste Bignall likewise stepped down from the board ahead of the meeting, the first to be held after the annual Trust elections.

Pete Cartledge, returning to the board for a second spell, becomes vice-chairman in succession to Paul Eastup.

Dave Jones also fills the role of acting treasurer, following the recent departure of long-serving Phil Wainwright.

Dave said it is "an honour" to become chairman.

"I am humbled and honoured to be chosen to lead our great club. I am under no illusions as to the size of the task I have taken on but I promise I will give this role everything I have," he added.

"Everyone on this board has the same goal and that is to make our football club the best it can possibly be. I am looking forward to getting started. I'd also like to welcome all our new and returning board members, I'm looking forward to working with them."

The new chairman is in his second year on the club's board.

His background is in financial management and accountancy.

Linnets' board have meanwhile awarded vice-presidencies to Mike Bignall, Phil Wainwright , (who had been a co-opted board member since the birth of the club in 2006), and Paul Eastup in recognition of their significant contributions. Paul hss been a board member for more than 10 years.

We are very pleased that all three people have accepted the club's invitations to become vice-presidents.

James Sidwell, who had already been co-opted to the board as part of the club finance team and also as Ladies section representative, was reappointed.

Nick Woods is co-opted for the first time, as Junior liaison officer - further strengthening the relationship with Runcorn Linnets Juniors.

Both external co-options will be reviewed by the board in January of next year.

Another key appointment sees Dave Bettley continue as Trust secretary.

The incoming chairman added: "I am delighted that Mike, Paul and Phil were made vice-presidents by the board - Steve Pritchard, another of our founder board members,who did not stand for re-election this time, already holds a vice- presidency - for all their years of service and hard work.

"Also including, of course, Ste Bignall, I would like to thank all the departing board members and wish them well for the future. I'm sure we'll still see them all at games."

All playing activities at the Millbank Linnets Stadium are currently suspended due to Covid.

First-team fixtures have been postponed until early March with the Pitching In Northern Premier League clubs facing the prospect of the season being abandoned for a second time in a row.

But new chairman Jones vowed Linnets will be ready when ever play resumes.

The new board is determined to see the Linnets build on the excellent progress made by boss Calum McIntyre, his management/coaching staff and players since the manager's summer arrival.

The board wants to see all sections of the club go from strength to strength as the Linnets look to continue raising their community involvement and profile.

Dave Jones added: "It's a difficult time to become chairman of a football club whilst we're not playing football but it perhaps gives us time to review where we are. Lots of things have happened over the last year, including installation of a world-class pitch and it would be a good time to carry out a review.

"We will be in as good a position as possible when we are finally able to play football again. It's also a very difficult time for everyone.

"The club recently launched Its Linnets in the Community scheme. I wanted to remind you all that Runcorn Linnets is your football club and we're here for you.

"If you need anything at all then please contact us."

09 Jan 2021 : New board line-up as a result of Trust elections

The club can annouce the result of our 2020 Trust Board elections.

The Board made eight places available in this rotation with votes closing on New Year's Eve.

We are greatly indebted to John Coats, treasurer of fellow fans-owned club 1874 Northwich who offered to act as the  independent adjudicator - opening, counting and verifying the votes.

These were as follows:   Michael Bignall 78 Peter Cartledge 73 Josh Christian 82 Hedley Edwards 90 Jeff Jago 84 Alan Jones 82 Daz Law 17 Grace Mantova 72 Sam Phillips 80 Paul Tandy 61 Jack Walsh 47

Candidates polling the highest to eighth highest number of votes are elected.

Michael Bignall, Peter Cartledge, Josh Christian, Hedley Edwards, Jeff Jago, Alan Jones, Grace Mantova and Sam Phillips join a new board, also including the four members who were elected in 2019 and are midway through their two-year term. They are Ste Bignall, James Eastup, Paul Eastup and Dave Jones.

Congratulations to the successful candidates.

Commiserations and thanks to those, who were unsuccessful this time.

To even up the numbers in the next two rotations, six of the eight candidates elected will serve for two years.

The other two will be on the board for one year.

The Board will decide how this 'equalisation' is achieved.

There was a notable absentee among our election candidates in 2020, Steve Pritchard choosing not to stand again for re-election.

Steve had served on the Trust Board since the inception of the club, having been a prime mover in its formation in 2006 and our immediate admission to the North West Counties League.

He has since been heavily involved in many of the major projects we have undertaken, none bigger than managing on behalf of the club the construction of our "new" clubhouse.

We are extremely grateful to Steve for his hard work and dedication over the last 14 years and while he now steps back from day-to-day involvement in the running of the club, we look forward to him remaining closely involved with Runcorn Linnets and being able to draw on Steve's knowledge and expertise in several fields.

This year's election was held independently of our Annual General Meeting, which was postponed by the board.

This was the course of action favoured by our members, with the Covid pandemic preventing us from holding the meeting as normal.

Alternative arrangements will now be made, enabling the club to meet its statutory requirements.

08 Jan 2021 : Linnets facing prospect of another null and void season

With the country in the grip of a third national Covid-19 lockdown, the Pitching In Northern Premier League believes time should be called on its 2020-21 season.

The NPL and its two counterpart competitions at Steps 3-4 are ready to declare the campaign null and void, as happened in 2019-20.

Clubs in the three leagues are being asked for their views ahead of a decision by the Football Association.

Runcorn Linnets haven't played since the 1-0 victory at Prescot Cables on Boxing Day.

All New Year fixtures in the NPL were promptly shelved due to the effects of the Government's heightened tier restrictions.

The NPL today issued the following statement:   "The board of the Northern Premier League has, together with our fellow Trident Leagues, reviewed the implications of the latest Government lockdown. The matter was also discussed at length by the FA's Alliance Committee earlier this week. In order to reach a decision that will apply across Steps 3 & 4 in the National League System, and which is informed by the views of all clubs at Steps 3 & 4, clubs will shortly be asked by the Football Association to provide their views on whether the 2020/21 season should be terminated and, if not, what the alternative should be.

"Independent of that survey, all three of the Trident League's boards hold the view that the season should cease immediately and be declared null and void.

"The ultimate decision lies with The FA Council, following a proposal made by the Alliance Committee but no proposal will be drafted until clubs' views have been collated and assessed.

"In the meantime, the Northern Premier League is postponing all fixtures up to and including Saturday 6th March since there is no suggestion that the national lockdown will be lifted prior to this date.

"The League will continue to provide its Member Clubs with updates as and when it is able to do so."

28 Dec 2020 : Linnets Legend Eddie Moss dies, aged 81

by Dave Bettley

Very sad news has reached us of the death of Eddie Moss, a Runcorn AFC star of the 1960s and widely regarded as a Linnets all-time great.

Seen here (right) with his great friend and former striking partner, Alan Foster at the official opening of our ground in 2010, Eddie passed away yesterday (Sunday, December 27th) aged 81.

A gifted inside forward, who won league and Cup honours at Canal Street, Eddie always retained a keen interest in the clubs he represented and Runcorn was no exception.

Eddie had attended a number of games involving Runcorn Linnets as successor outfit to the original club. It was always a pleasure to welcome him. He was a true gentleman and there was a stir of excitement when ever he entered the ground as our more senior fans fondly remembered his talent and achievements.

Lifelong Runcorn fan Derek Greenwood (a former Runcorn Linnets chairman and now one of our vice-presidents) profiled Eddie for his "Linnets Legends" series compiled in the later years of Runcorn AFC.

Derek wrote: "It is always difficult to talk about Eddie Moss without reference to Alan Foster. They were the original double act and although it was Foster who often hit the headlines with his goal scoring it was Moss who was the inspiration.

"He was brought to Runcorn in 1961 by Jack Boothway and played throughout the 1960s until his departure in 1969. The highlights of his time at the club included the winning of the old Cheshire League in 1962/63. With Alan Foster they scored over 50 goals together during that season and after the title was won at Stalybridge, Boothway was quoted as saying that "this is the best side I have ever managed".

"The forward line of Chapman, Stewart, Foster, Moss, Daly was a formidable line up. Further success came for Moss in December 1967 when League side Notts County came to Runcorn in the 1st Round proper of the FA Cup on a cold and snowy day. Over 6,000 fans packed Canal Street to see their team win 1 – 0 with a goal from Alan Ryan. The players all received a £10 bonus for the win!

"Moss was born in Skelmersdale and had started his playing career at Liverpool. He represented Lancashire schoolboys and Liverpool County FA before playing in the Football League for five seasons with Southport which is where Runcorn were drawn in the 2nd Round in January 1968. But there was to be no further giant killing that day with the then League team winning 4–2.

"Moss played well over 400 games for Runcorn and scored over 130 goals in that time. He was an all-round sportsman, enjoying cricket, swimming and tennis. He partnered two of the greatest goal scorers in the history of the club in Alan Foster and Alan Ryan. The number 10 shirt belonged to Eddie Moss. Many would claim he was the best footballer ever to play for the club."

Eddie's non-league career had begun at hometown club Skelmersdale United after a spell with Everton upon leaving school.

He made his debut at the age of 16 in March 1957 at Droylsden, scoring in a 3-2 win, making him one of United's youngest ever scorers.

Eddie was also part of the United side that played the last ever game at The Sandy Lane Ground.

It was from Skem that Eddie joined Liverpool in October 1958.

On leaving Runcorn, Eddie  in August 1970 signed for Kirkby Town. But he returned to Skelmersdale United in 1972, calling time on his playing career three years later.

0ur deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to Eddie's family at this very sad time.

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