Grass roots football is where the love of the beautiful game begins; it is that magic place in a young player’s mind where he dreams of being the next Ronaldo, Messi or hang on where are the English names in the list???
That is the trouble, Grass Roots Football has for far too many years been close to neglected and funding has dwindled for some time that has led to a problem where local talent is not being found, and kids are not getting a chance to play Football in a way that is fitting or enjoyable. Kicking a ball around on a field is one thing, and yes some talent does rise from a fun kick-around, but playing the game at clubs that have proper facilities such as goals with nets and coaches to develop players is vitally important.
Funding for Grass Roots Football needs to be stepped up, it is all well and good making announcements that it will be increased but the situation is real, it is dire and it is now. Small clubs have the passion and the desire to play but they are running on empty and relying on charity, the support of the community scheme and the odd local business to help them keep playing. At Grass Roots kids need fields to be maintained, ideally somewhere to change and funding to pay for the chance to play in a real league to give young players a chance at making a name of themselves, or at the very least just enjoying themselves on a Saturday morning. Sadly the lack of funding has left small clubs and grass roots football in a bit of a mess and has thus not seen young players coming forward and they should do and a downward spiral begins. Sadly, there is only so much that can be done with charity and local community support.
Funding from all avenues both from the FA and large companies needs to be stepped up sooner rather than later and repairs to the damage done from years of neglect need to be done. There are the physical things such as pitches and club houses that need financial support to rebuild or just maintain, true big companies won’t get the TV coverage they get from sponsoring a large premier league team but there are other benefits. Not supporting or funding could see UK teams have almost no domestic talent playing and overall the British game of Football will be worse off all due to a lack of funding. Funding at Grass Roots is an investment in the future of Football, English Football, this funding is the seed that will produce a crop of young players that will keep the game alive producing new greats like Bobby and Jack Charlton, Bobby Moore, Gordon Banks, Geoff Hurst, Gary Lineker and even David Beckham. Would you, could you deny any young person the chance of becoming the next English great?
Local, small team football needs to see a revival, women and girls need more inclusion and 3G and 4G pitches need to be developed and provided for the game to grow at grass roots. This needs funding. Pitch quality has dropped considerably in the last few years due to a lack of funding; it is not for a lack of wanting to maintain the pitches but the funding to effectively do so. It is the simple things that need to be addressed that an increase in local awareness and support can rapidly change. And it is not just facilities that need to be looked at but the supporting services such as referees, coaches and other officials that are required to improve football at grass roots. Funding is crucial and there really is no need for there to be a lack, Football after all is so much a part of life and life must go on.
Football has a massive future, the game still flows in the blood of young boys and girls as it has done for decades but for them to take up the game, enjoy and benefit from it funding is needed. Kids don’t want to play on fields that are dangerous, with run down facilities and they deserve coaches and referees to ensure they not only play the game but enjoy it, is that too much to ask?
One only has to think about these two final questions and one will soon appreciate why funding at grass roots is needed.
How long will it be before England does not have enough home grown players to make a national team or make up the majority of players at top flight football?
How will you feel when Football gets to this point?
Without funding getting to this stage could be a lot quicker than one thinks and that would not be sad, it would be devastating.