By Gary Caffell

Wairarapa United is sending out an SOS call for volunteers to assist them in getting through what is certain to be a hectic 2017 football season.

With seven senior teams, five men’s and two women’s, set to take the field club president Phil Keinzley says they are “desperate” to find people willing to fill a myriad of crucial roles, including managers, coaches and fundraisers.

“We’ve already placed a couple of advertisements setting out what we need but the response has been disappointing, it’s getting to the desperate stage now.”

Keinzley said the big aim over the next 12 months was to make Wairarapa United sustainable and from a financial aspect that meant coming up with around $250,000 on a yearly basis.

“It’s a lot of money, especially with sponsorship getting harder to come by these days.

We certainly need to look at various fundraising avenues to help out, and obviously we’d be rapt to hear from anybody prepared to lead that part of the operation.”

Keinzley is aware, however, that the sustainability issue is not only about money.

It was also important for Wairarapa United club to be heavily involved in supporting a schools programme which would give the region’s most promising youngsters the chance to fully realise their potential.

“The ideal is to have our best young talent staying in our region, and playing their football for clubs based here. Anything we can do to help that happen must be a positive.”

Carl Shailer, out of retirement for 2017. PHOTO/CHRIS KILFORD

Carl Shailer, out of retirement for 2017. PHOTO/CHRIS KILFORD

Keinzley also intends having Wairarapa United play a leading role in developing the skills of referees.

“Refereeing is such an important part of football but clubs don’t do a lot to in that area, we’d like to get involved there more as well.”

On the playing front Wairarapa United will have both their premier men’s and women’s teams in Central League competitions in 2017.

The men have been there for some seasons but have yet to win that particular title while the women will be “newbies” after having won the Capital premier division title last year.

Keinzley will coach the CL men’s team next season and he is now in the process of ascertaining the availability of those who were part of the side last year.

Already there has been good news with prolific goal-scorer Sam Mason-Smith and hard-nosed midfielder Cory Chettleburgh both advising that they will be back on deck.

Also pleasing is the decision of local star Carl Shailer to come out of retirement to continue a playing career which has already seen him play over 230 games in the Wairarapa United colours.