The Spartans will face new challenges in 2013, both on and off the pitch, following the news of the retirement of the teams General Manager, Tony Palmer.
Palmer steps down from his position after 27 successful years at the helm, expertly guiding the team through good times and bad. Responsible for the teams creation back in 1985, Palmer lead them to their only national title in their first year, and has masterminded them through several re-locations and re-brandings, playoff apperances, relegations, and promotions.
Under his leadership, the Spartans can boast to having one of the longest histories in British American football, and is it without question that the team owes much of its success to his hard work and dedication.
Palmer was instrumental in the teams recent turnaround, installing former NFL player and Rose Bowl winner Cyrill Weems as Head Coach as the Spartans came back from a 1-9 season in 2009 to post two winning records in 2010 and 2011, qualifying for the playoffs both years. This earned the Spartans promotion into Division One for the 2012 season, which transpired to be Palmers final season leading the team.
“I have had many happy years at the club, none more than when Cyrill Weems came to the club and transformed it”, said Palmer. “I would like to thank my wife Sue and daughter Donna for letting me selfishly take so many summers away from them. To all the players who have passed through, and teams we have played, I would like to say thank you. I would list people to thank but that would take too long but I would say a thank you to Glen Schilds, Gary Lee, Drew Anderson, Gary Duce, Dean Gibson, Brendan Bride and the 300 club. All these people have influenced me in both football and off the field.
“Good luck to the future Spartans and I hope they have a successful 2013.”
Spartans Head Coach Marc Saunders added, “I’d like to offer a massive thank you on behalf of everyone at the Spartans, many of whom would not even be playing American Football if it was not for Tony working for so many years to keep a team running in Essex.
“Tony will be greatly missed by many at the club and game days will certainly be very different without him getting things going on a Sunday. Hopefully Tony will now be able to relax on a Sunday and enjoy watching Spartan football from the sideline without the added stresses of management. I’d also like to stress my personal thanks to Tony as without him I surely would have hung up my cleats several years ago after moving to Essex.”
The Spartans will officially begin life without Palmer following their 2012 presentation evening, which will be held on Friday, September 28th, after which Palmer will hand control over to an elected committee to take the team forward. Player trials for those wishing to play for the team in 2013 will be held shortly after, and the team encourages anyone interested in finding out more to monitor the website for full details.