Following the recent training reshuffle at Meadow Park, where the players now switch from an evening to a day time training programme. It has unfortunately meant that our first team coach Mario Noto who occupies a full time teaching position at a private school in Highgate, cannot make the day time change and will subsequently leave the club.
Mario is a firm favourite with everyone at the club and was in his eighth season at the Wood. He has been instrumental in our rise from the Ryman Premier Division to the new National league, firstly as a player and captain, then as part of Ian Allinson’s management team.
Mario joined the Wood from Chelmsford City at the start of the 2008-09 season. As captain back then he excelled both on and off the pitch and was absolutely key in 2009/10, as the Wood won promotion for the first time in our history to the Conference South. Mario’s 50th appearance of that season, came in the play-off final against Kingstonian, where a 2-0 victory saw the Wood deservedly promoted..
Despite the fact that big changes were needed in the playing squad early into our debut season in the Conference South, Mario was one of the few success stories and was at the heart of the Wood midfield, as the side successfully retained its status as a Conference South side..
Our second season in the Conference South, saw Mario receive the accolade of being voted the supporters ‘player of the year’.. Injury though was to follow the year after, which meant his season was very much stop start and as the quality of the squad began to increase his playing time was reduced.
After achieving his “A” Licence as a coach, Wood manager Ian Allinson promoted him onto his coaching staff as player/first team coach. This proved inspired and Mario alongside Ian Allinson and Luke Garrard, achieved yet another club promotion, this time to the new National league for the very first time in our history..
Mario was also involved in two of our FA Cup 1st round proper ties in recent history, At home to Brentford, where we lost by two goals to nil and them a year later after holding Carlisle to a goal less draw at Meadow Park, we were undone by two very late goals to knock us out of the competition up at Burnden Park.
Before taking on his full time position at Highgate School a little over a year ago. He had alongside Academy director Luke Garrard, headed up the clubs hugely successful PASE Academy. His coaching skills helped not only to improve players into the club but to push them towards our first team and then into the pro game on occasions.
In total over his eight seasons with us, Mario made a total of 215 first team appearances, scoring on 38 occasions. His honours with the club include being club captain, being captain, being first team coach, winning the Herts Senior cup in 2013/14, achieving Promotion from the Ryman league to the Conference South league in 2009/10 and then Promotion from the Conference South league to the new National League in 2014/15.
On his departure Manager Ian Allinson said “Losing Mario was one of the toughest things i’ve had to deal with in my 25 years as a manager.. Mario is one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet, nothing was ever a problem, and he was always there for me and was a person you could go to war with.
He has been a very big part of my life since he walked into this football club 8 years ago, we have had two great promotions from the Ryman Premier League and the Conference South and he adjusted his career from a playing perspective to become a fantastic A license coach.
I fully understand his reasons for not being able to do the day time training and it was not correct for him and his family at this time. I would like to thank him for all of his hard work and commitment over the past 8 years and wish him all the very best for the future. He will be a great signing for the next club he decides to join whether that is as a player, as a coach or both.
Chairman Danny Hunter said “what can I say that truly reflects my feelings for this guy and his wonderful, wonderful family?? Honesty, loyalty and decency are perhaps not big words anymore in today’s modern world.. Well they are with this fella and I’ve been privileged along with Ian Allinson to watch him go from a boy on his arrival, to a man on his departure. I’ve watched him get married, became a devoted husband and a loving father in our time together and he’s just a top guy”..
“I’ve shared so many memories with him, his wedding to Pauola, the birth of their son Luca, our two promotions, the umpteen mini breaks in Banus, fantastic family nights out and of course the sharing of plenty of footballing disappointments”..“I understand it’s impossible for Mario to switch to day time training, especially with the job he has. However I would also say this, If you are a chairman or manager out there looking for a top class ‘A’ license coach or player and you train in the evenings trust me this is your man.. Simply get on the phone put your hand in your pocket and find the pennies for him. He’ll be worth every penny you’ll pay him seven days a week and twice on Sunday’s. He’s genuinely helped me, Ian Allinson and Luke Garrard re shape an ailing football club and I thank him from the bottom of my heart”