Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Private profiles - please note that profiles marked as private will soon be public. This will facilitate moderation so mods can view users' warning histories. All of your posts across the site will appear on your profile page (including PI, RI). Groups posts will remain private except to users who have access to the same Groups as you. Thread here
Some important site news, please read here. Thanks!

An honest view from a GAA Secretary

  • 26-12-2017 11:54am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 49 ✭✭✭ Noddy Nangle


    The GAA Grassroots are dying

    Small GAA Clubs have always been affectionately known as the grassroots. They are scattered throughout the small towns and villages of Ireland and once upon a time to be Chairman or Secretary of a club was an esteemed position to hold, a position that held the same respect as the local Garda or teacher. In the run up to an AGM there were all sorts of strokes pulled or canvassing done to oust a non performing chairman or secretary and it could be described as similar to the goings on in the run up to a council election - but how times have changed.

    The reason that I say this is that I hold the role of Secretary within a small GAA Club in the Midlands and after three years I find myself having a less than rosy view of some of the happenings within the GAA.

    In my view the higher ranks have forgotten to water the grass and now the roots are dying. By roots I mean the Chairman and Secretary who for years have worked themselves to the bone to ensure that their club was able to function. They were never the one to lift the winners club but only for them it would probably never have happened. They were always there in the background putting in an voluntary thirty or forty hours a week to ensure the smooth running of the club. Although the Chairman had an important role, it was always the secretary who was the oil who ensured the clubs engine ran smoothly.

    You hear all sorts at this time of year about player welfare etc but not a word is ever mentioned about secretaries office clubs all over the country who now have to morph into mini Roman Ambramoviches trying to ensure players are happy and that a new manager is got at all costs before the transfer window shuts at the end of January. This is the same manager that is theoretically not getting paid to do the role he is doing but yet he is. Nod, nod, wink, wink. It's also up to the secretary to ensure the bills are paid to county and Croke park for insurances, registration fee, affiliation fees etc etc, all of which add up to thousands every year.

    I would estimate in my county alone over €1 million goes to paying managers ( this will be denied at all costs) - but it's €1 million that clubs could put to good use in developing football rather than developing egos. It sickened me to know that nowadays when we do a fundraiser it is to raise funds so that we can pay the manager, strength and conditioning coach, Physio and who ever else comes along, whilst at the same time the secretary busts his chops for little or no reward.

    The workload with these roles are now nearly another full time job on top of our own busy lives and people just don't need the hassle anymore and this is where the GAA have taken their eye off the ball. Throughout 2015 AGMs in small GAA clubs throughout Ireland the penny has finally dropped. No longer is there competition for the top jobs of Chairman or Secretary - in fact it's quiet the opposite.

    At the AGMs I have attended in recent years there is a deathly silence when these positions become vacant with the outgoing officer sweating that he won't be released as there is no one to take up the role. Some of the stronger voices on the committee say "We will stay here all night until the role is filled as they wouldn't want the neighbouring parish to hear the club couldn't get a chairman or secretary. Eventually a person that may or may not be suitable for the role is cajoled into taking it and the sighs of relief from the floor is audible.

    The reason this is happening is that the GAA from what I can see places no value on these jobs. The fact that we are answering emails seven days a week is no cause for concern to the powers that be.

    But what they fail to realise is that these Chairmen and Secretaries are sitting back watching money flowing around the organisation for player welfare, GPA golf tournaments in the K Club, rock concerts, senior club and county managers wages, physios, strength and conditioning coaches, weekends away at conventions for county board officials, bonding trips for players ( ie pissups), fancy holidays for county teams and the list goes on and on. But who asks about club officials welfare - no one. For we are the invisible ones and in the end they will eventually realise that without the roots there will be no grass and I genuinely hope that they take action before it's too late !!


«1

Comments

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,593 DoctaDee


    Excellent post Noddy, a lot of which I can relate to. By the time I finished up I'd honestly say I resented nearly everything about the club, the committee, the players etc and if it wasn't for coaching I'd have walked away completely


  • Registered Users Posts: 847 ✭✭✭ Green Peter


    I walked away many years ago for the same reason. However I've encountered many of the same problems in other sports and organisations I've been involved in with some exceptions. I think it's an Irish thing and sadly I don't see it changing and definitely not
    in the GAA. The ticket distribution for example for all Ireland's is as rotten a system as you can get and yet no one can change it. It's amazing how revenue can turn a blind eye to gaa managers payments and hound ordinary folk for minor issues.


  • Registered Users Posts: 290 ✭✭ mickey1979


    Also a GAA Secretary, I have to say I agree there is now a lot of pressure on clubs to perform not a million miles off a full time job. In fairness a lot of people help out and volunteer but I would think the next 10 years are going to be very interesting. We would struggle to get people into committee roles, no issues with getting people to help out at fundraisers we run. I think volunteerism or lack of Is the huge problem facing the GAA going forward.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,201 Doltanian


    GAA Dublin-centric and the huge unexposed corruption within the GAA is the problems, particularly Referees destroying the game taking bribes are the biggest problem.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,797 ✭✭✭✭ PARlance


    What exactly is the honest view?

    That Chairmen, Secretaries etc should get "looked after" too? Or that it should stop for everyone else? It reads like the former.


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 49 ✭✭✭ Noddy Nangle


    My honest view is that it should be voluntary for everyone and that clubs receive more from Croke Park to develop


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,830 ✭✭✭ kala85


    Doltanian wrote: »
    GAA Dublin-centric and the huge unexposed corruption within the GAA is the problems, particularly Referees destroying the game taking bribes are the biggest problem.

    Please elaborate on this.
    What referees are taking bribes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,797 ✭✭✭✭ PARlance


    My honest view is that it should be voluntary for everyone and that clubs receive more from Croke Park to develop

    Clubs wouldn't need more from CP if they didn't have massive expense bills though. I think the whole situation is nuts myself. I see Clubs on constant fundraise just to keep up with expenses. It's semi professional as it is.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,240 ✭✭✭ Jimbob1977


    My own club can't fill the post of Secretary at the moment. Nobody wants to do it.

    It is a hectic (and largely thankless) task. A Secretary needs the patience of a saint.

    As well as holding down a day job, the typical Secretary puts in another 10-20 hours per week on average.

    Attending County Board meetings, reading and responding to emails, filling out substitution slips at most matches, teamsheets, match programmes, fundraising duties, etc.

    Since the increase in email traffic, legislation, management expenses and online presence, it has moved from a manageable evening task to a virtual second job.

    It will become harder for clubs to have an Executive (Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and PRO). Easier to sit in your house and put the feet up.... instead of getting hounded at matches or in the clubhouse.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,201 Doltanian


    kala85 wrote: »
    Please elaborate on this.
    What referees are taking bribes.

    Watch some of the games played this year and it is very clear that there is bias in favour of certain teams and against other teams to hold them back. The sheer lunacy of refereeing decisions taken year in year out is no coincidence and it is obvious that there is referee corruption which is undermining the association. It could happen once or twice and you would put it down to a reffing mistake etc. but when the trend is there it is obvious to the dog in the street what is happening.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 1,830 ✭✭✭ kala85


    I walked away many years ago for the same reason. However I've encountered many of the same problems in other sports and organisations I've been involved in with some exceptions. I think it's an Irish thing and sadly I don't see it changing and definitely not
    in the GAA. The ticket distribution for example for all Ireland's is as rotten a system as you can get and yet no one can change it. It's amazing how revenue can turn a blind eye to gaa managers payments and hound ordinary folk for minor issues.

    What problems do you have with the distribution of tickets


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,964 ✭✭✭ rpurfield


    I think it's generally a bigger problem than just workload though. A lot of people these days work hard at their job to keep themselves afloat, paying off big mortgages or bills in general, spending a couple of hours a day commuting etc. I know from my local area a lot of people are happy to get in the door from work and shut it behind them and not bother spending whatever free time they have with community stuff, and in a way it's understandable.

    Surely though some of the areas of jobs mentioned in posts above mine should be delegated out such as having county board delegates or specific committees for fundraising, grounds etc. It should never be a case that three or four people run the entire club.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1 Hugsie


    Great post Noddy. I'm a player myself although I've packed it in now, had enough. We, as a squad decided to oust our manger during the year, he was a total mercenary. Our Chairman took a dim view of this and walked after a heated meeting with the players. 10 years he put into it, a great club man gone in the blink of an eye. I felt so bad for him. 10 years and not even a thanks. The work that man put into his club was unbelievable. I often wondered what he got out of it, not much more than a few locals making snide remarks on a high stool. Players themselves are as bad, zero respect for their Chairman or secretary.

    Our club is a small village club. It's slowly dying as the younger college lads will simply not commit to it and the old timers like myself have had enough. There's a huge difference in the attitude towards the local GAA these days. Even 10 years ago lads would go through a brick wall for their clubs but now living in the big cities while going to college is the dream. The bank of Mammy and Daddy have lads spoilt rotten. They no longer need to play football to satisfy their social needs.

    The club scene is slowly dying in rural Ireland.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,724 ✭✭✭ nice_guy80


    club secretary's jobs are usually made much more difficult by unorganised county boards with people involved who make everything complicated

    I've done my time.
    its a thankless task


  • Registered Users Posts: 986 ✭✭✭ flatty


    I've always wondered how the revenue have turned a blind eye to coaches payment, when they are so utterly rat like with everyone else.
    I had one recently quibble with a pal whether his trip to work was eight, or seven and a half km.
    The gaa still seems to have an immunity not granted the general public.
    If clubs just stopped paying coaches, things would improve immediately across the board.


  • Registered Users Posts: 847 ✭✭✭ Green Peter


    kala85 wrote:
    What problems do you have with the distribution of tickets


    Are you for real?


  • Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭ terryduff12


    Played a lot in my youth till about 16 got bit fed of it, have a young lad 6 now will I get him into it I don't know. Never had much interest watching it, would rather play it but from what I do watch black card crap and ruby tackling people to stop them from scoring its a joke. And its on sky sports much like what the FAI done years back but didn't get away with it. How long before its only on sky sports 5-10 years.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,177 ✭✭✭ finbarrk


    Can't get a chairperson, secretary or treasurer in our club at the moment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,665 ✭✭✭ Bonniedog


    Played a lot in my youth till about 16 got bit fed of it, have a young lad 6 now will I get him into it I don't know. Never had much interest watching it, would rather play it but from what I do watch black card crap and ruby tackling people to stop them from scoring its a joke. And its on sky sports much like what the FAI done years back but didn't get away with it. How long before its only on sky sports 5-10 years.



    If you don't like it, don't watch. Lots of people go to see GAA games at every level. No-one watches that other thing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,830 ✭✭✭ kala85


    Are you for real?

    Yes. Just wondering what your point is from secretary points of view on tickets and how it could be rectified. That issue could be a thread on its own and don't mean to open a can of worms but just wanted to hear your opinions on it, that's all.


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 49 ✭✭✭ Noddy Nangle


    To answer a couple of points raised.

    Someone said that fundraising jobs, county board delegate should be delegated our. The problem is in small clubs there is no one there only three or four people so there is no one to delegate too.

    Also in my opinion insurances/ competition fees should be zero. Any moneys raised in clubs should stay in clubs.

    The issue of paying managers should cease immediately. It’s destroying clubs. The same transfer rules should apply to managers as players. This would stop the soccer style payments that managers receive and they can manage whoever they want wherever they want with no punishment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 986 ✭✭✭ flatty


    I agree 100%


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,749 ✭✭✭ Coillte_Bhoy


    Are you for real?
    Im quite interested too actually, what precisely are your issues? Because to say it's the most rotten system is just nonsense. Have you any idea how the FAI go about distributing tickets for the really big internationals? No transparency whatsoever


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,964 ✭✭✭ rpurfield


    To answer a couple of points raised.

    Someone said that fundraising jobs, county board delegate should be delegated our. The problem is in small clubs there is no one there only three or four people so there is no one to delegate too.

    Also in my opinion insurances/ competition fees should be zero. Any moneys raised in clubs should stay in clubs.

    The issue of paying managers should cease immediately. It’s destroying clubs. The same transfer rules should apply to managers as players. This would stop the soccer style payments that managers receive and they can manage whoever they want wherever they want with no punishment.

    Noddy in all the club three or four people do all the work? What size is the club, surely there's parents of underage players you could hook in even on a specific thing such as organizing a fundraiser or whatever. It can't be healthy for the club or the three or four people to be carrying that workload.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,665 ✭✭✭ Bonniedog


    rpurfield wrote: »
    Noddy in all the club three or four people do all the work? What size is the club, surely there's parents of underage players you could hook in even on a specific thing such as organizing a fundraiser or whatever. It can't be healthy for the club or the three or four people to be carrying that workload.


    There is a lot of talk in Dublin and Cork and Kerry about the alleged "elite" clubs which are to a great extent 'middle class.' But one of reasons for their success is that there is huge involvement from parents. I was one of people who was over our underage teams, from pretty tough part of city, and only parent who ever turned up was a father on weekends he had his son.

    We won Dublin leagues, got to Feile finals and it was always the same. If we were playing Boden or Crokes or Fianna there would be lots of parents there. Often thought how that must have impacted on our lads. One time myself and other chap had to drive around with young fella who had badly sprained arm to find out where his mother or her boyfriend or his granny were, before we could drop him off after hospital. A depressing experience.


  • Registered Users Posts: 29 ✭✭✭ dollar bill


    QUOTE=Noddy Nangle

    "The issue of paying managers should cease immediately. It’s destroying clubs"


    This 100%..Not only is it draining finances its eroding the volunteer in the club,Managers,Coaches,Video Analysis,S&C all getting moola out of clubs while everyone else is supposed to burst their hoop raising money for these mercenaries.

    HQ should forensically audit clubs who are suspected to be paying out this wads of cash and severely punish the secretaries,Chairmen and Treasurers who sign off on these "expenses"


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,724 ✭✭✭ nice_guy80


    rpurfield wrote: »
    Noddy in all the club three or four people do all the work? What size is the club, surely there's parents of underage players you could hook in even on a specific thing such as organizing a fundraiser or whatever. It can't be healthy for the club or the three or four people to be carrying that workload.

    you'll find that is the way most small gaa clubs are run

    if one or two people stop doing the work it can become very evident, very quickly


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,100 ✭✭✭ Oldtree


    rpurfield wrote: »
    Noddy in all the club three or four people do all the work? What size is the club, surely there's parents of underage players you could hook in even on a specific thing such as organizing a fundraiser or whatever. It can't be healthy for the club or the three or four people to be carrying that workload.

    You mean the parents who don't see the club as a very cheap baby sitting service! A very rare animal that one, almost extinct at u14/u16/u18 levels.

    Have to agree with Noddy Nangle, the writing is on the wall here, attitudes need to change at the top and do a lot more watering.

    The specific example mentioned (one of many) of the cluster**** that is the AI distribution system that dosn't give competing county clubs enough seated tickets is a beyond un-reasonable. Why on earth would hard working club members get the "opportunity" to buy a hill ticket for all their efforts over the years, should their county get to an Ai, when Johnny come lately super "one match" fans be able to buy tickets on the street outside hq at inflated prices on the day?


  • Registered Users Posts: 494 ✭✭ MentalMario


    Great post. A lot of people involved in committees can relate to it I'd say.

    I've been involved in most executive positions previously and it's thankless. Not that you do it for a pat on the back, but it's just not worth the hassle at times.

    Lads arguing to hear their own voice in committee meetings which means they drag on a lot longer than they should is a big pain point for me. Arguing over trivial things for nothing. There's usually no takeaway or decision made at the end of it. Infuriating.

    When I stepped away from the committee side of things, I couldn't enjoy going to games as every time I did, I got a job. You'd be trying to avoid 4 or 5 people because you'd know if you see them, they'll ask you to do something. It'd make you resent the club.

    I feel sorry for our secretary. He's given over a decade of his time and nobody will take over from him meaning he'll have to keep doing it.


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,724 ✭✭✭ nice_guy80


    Great post. A lot of people involved in committees can relate to it I'd say.

    I've been involved in most executive positions previously and it's thankless. Not that you do it for a pat on the back, but it's just not worth the hassle at times.

    Lads arguing to hear their own voice in committee meetings which means they drag on a lot longer than they should is a big pain point for me. Arguing over trivial things for nothing. There's usually no takeaway or decision made at the end of it. Infuriating.

    When I stepped away from the committee side of things, I couldn't enjoy going to games as every time I did, I got a job. You'd be trying to avoid 4 or 5 people because you'd know if you see them, they'll ask you to do something. It'd make you resent the club.

    I feel sorry for our secretary. He's given over a decade of his time and nobody will take over from him meaning he'll have to keep doing it.

    I stopped going to games as I was always asked to do umpire.


Advertisement