Sports talk: ‘We have ambitious plans for the future’
In the spotlight this month is Steve Loxton, chairman and youth coach, Wells City Football Club
Tell us a bit about your background in football, Steve.
I was born into a sporty family, both my Grandad and Dad played football for various teams around Wells. My Dad was a manager too, firstly at Mendip Hospital FC and then back at Wells. I played a bit myself, but only made a few appearances for Wells Reserves. A few years later I somehow found myself playing regular football for Evercreech and then Mendip Hospital Reserves. I ended up running the sports shop in Wells, and Wells City secretary Steve Vowles asked if I would take on the running of the club’s bar. After a few weeks I was asked to step up to the vacant vice chairman’s position and eventually found myself taking the reins as chairman when Mike Webb stepped down. That was 10 years ago now.
What does your role as chairman involve?
I’ve had to learn on the job, though have been massively supported by the club’s committee and numerous individuals. I also have an understanding wife and family. If there was a list of tasks it would be endless. The most frustrating factor is not having enough time, I have to limit myself to a few key areas. Having a hard-working committee helps massively. It’s a superb role and one that I relish and feel honoured to serve the club in.
You’re also a coach at the club’s popular Soccer School. Tell us a bit about that.
I started a couple of years ago, initially to help my son-in-law and nephew coach the U6s, in which my grandson plays. I stayed with the new U6s the following year (now U7s), and am loving every moment. We have some great characters, even at this age. It wasn’t my initial intention to get as deeply involved as I have, but it just drags you in and becomes a huge part of your weekend.
What age can kids start playing football at Wells?
Soccer School starts at the U6 age group, training on Saturday mornings from 10am. The emphasis is all about fun and enjoyment based around the basics of football, with a view to developing natural skills in a fun environment. This is more a social escape for the children, meeting like-minded boys and girls all looking to have fun and meet new friends in a friendly, safe environment.
How strong is the club at junior level?
The junior section of the club is massive and the envy of many other local clubs. Players progress from Soccer School into the U11s and right up to U18s. The vast majority of age groups have at least two and sometimes three or four teams, all competing in various local leagues. All the coaches are FA qualified and know the importance of being all inclusive, with winning trophies not the main focus. As the children all grow together, developing natural abilities at different rates, they bond and form a close-knit unit, and generally success follows as is proven by the majority of the older age groups.
Does the club have any plans for the future?
We have some quite ambitious plans for the future, yes. The Sports Club are hoping to sign a new lease with Mendip District Council soon, at which point we can start in earnest with the planned redevelopments. Most of this will be cost dependent and will need some serious fundraising.
We’ve heard whispers of an exciting event happening at the club in the spring...
We’ll be hosting a May Day fun day event called Party on the Pitch to be held on the bank holiday weekend of Sunday, May 5.
The day will start at 10.30am with a football match in aid of Somerset & Dorset Air Ambulance, with live music starting at midday. There will be various funfair rides, amusements, bouncy castles, face-painting, food outlets and the obligatory bar, but the best bit... entry is free.