The football revolution – onwards and upwards!

The Football RevolutionIt’s been a few months now since we launched the new look Club Website and kicked off the football revolution.

From the outset we asked you to shape the debate on the website and we haven’t been disappointed.  You’ve not been shy in telling us what’s right and wrong with the game in this country… just the way we like it.

As we said when we launched, we want to be the voice of amateur football and pick up on the big issues affecting you lot out there so, to kick things off, we asked you guys to name your revolution and tell us what you would change about football in this country if you were in charge.

The response was awesome.  We got hundreds of suggestions covering a whole range of issues from both the professional and the grassroots game – everything from high ticket prices to cheating and diving in the game – at all levels.

Thanks to all those of you who contributed. You didn’t hold back, that’s for sure!

What next?

We want to be a mouthpiece for those involved in the amateur game week in and week out so, although we agreed with loads of what you said on the professional game, we’re going to focus our attention on the grassroots – the heart and soul of football in the UK.

And it was pretty clear where we should start this journey as one topic stood out above all others as the big grievance out there.

Broken windowIt seems that people are properly fed up of using sub-standard facilities to play football at amateur level – shabby changing rooms, broken windows, cold or blocked showers, no locks on the doors, that sort of thing.

You know what it’s like… we’ve all been there!

We ran a poll on this subject a while ago and found that half of you are putting up with facilities that are just not good enough… well frankly, we don’t think that’s good enough.

Judging from your comments and the revolutions you sent to us, what makes it worse for a lot of you is that there is plenty of money in the game at a higher level and just not enough of it is finding its way down the football ladder to the amateur game.

Over the coming weeks and months, Club Website will take a look into this matter and raise your concerns with the powers that be – FAs, government, representatives from the professional game – whoever needs to be spoken to, we’ll do our level best to take your concerns to them and find out what they intend to do about the issue.

Stay involved

We really need you guys involved if we’re going to make this revolution happen. We’d love to hear your feedback on where we’re taking the revolution so email us at [email protected].

What’s more, make sure you keep up to date with what’s happening on the matter and contibute to the debate.  We’ll be keeping everyone up to speed right here at clubwebsite.co.uk and on our Facebook and Twitter pages… so watch this space!

You’ve joined the revolution… now stay involved.  Get the debate going, get other people involved and keep having your say.  The more you shape the debate the better we can represent you.  Power to the people!

The Club Website revolution is just beginning… stay with us and let’s make things happen. Onwards and upwards!

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Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer
Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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8 Comments

  1. Mark Brown on September 28, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Something definitely needs to be done about the facilities in this country. We went without a changing room all last season! We have one this season but it amounts to not much more than a portacabin. The club’s finances are OK but everything available to us is either too expensive or inadequate – like our current predicament. This isn’t good enough!

    The local council need more facilities and therefore need more money from the government. The professional game should also take a look at how much money they are putting back into the grassroots – not a lot compared to how much money there is flowing through the top of the game!

    Well done to Club Website for raising the issue. I wish you all the best and hope you get some answers… we’ll be right behind you!!

  2. Chris Bates on September 29, 2009 at 1:58 am

    I`m behind any campaign to get more money filtered down to the youth game. Though with so many professional and amateur clubs struggling to get people throught the gate and keep afloat, I think it will be a slow process.

    My main bug-bear about facilities is the way a lot of pitches are shared with dog–owners, a lot of whom seem to think it`s quite acceptable to let their pet discharge its` dinner then walk away unfazed. It might be a joke in some respects, but when put in the context that very young children are charging about on the pitches, I`m wondering if the dog-owners would be happy their own child had just gone head-first into a pile of pooh.

    It`s an issue that has been addressed by only a couple of clubs in my area as far as I know, with a strict `no-dogs` policy, but you would think, in these times when child-protection is a serious national issue, that more could be done by all governing bodies to tackle the problem.

    All these things you see and read in the news about obesity, getting the kids out there and taking some exercise, yet it seems ok to let them play in areas covered in dog muck.

    There`s no easy solution, and no one particular body is to blame, but the issue needs to be looked at. I know local councils would shriek and run for their purse strings if they had to fork out for fencing, or even one or two well-placed threatening signs, and God knows clubs themselves are struggling enough financially to get kids out there in the first place. Maybe it needs a simple, but well-srtuctured advert somewhere, just to make people act a bit more responsibly.

    Oh, and it wouldn`t go amiss for local councils to have a word with those cheap and cheerful contractors they notoriously use. And get them to use mowers with blades on them. Ones that cut grass.

  3. Mike Clark on September 29, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Our changing facilities consist of 2 static caravans and 2 portable showers (like porta loos only with showers in). We have to hire in a generator to power both and the water comes courtesy of a hose pipe running from the tap in the adjacent grave yard. The lads have worked hard to clad the outside of the vans and make it look like a decent facility and we’re doing the business on the pitch so to speak. What galls me most is the lack of support we have at times, we spent a fortune on an armoured cable to provide electricity from one of the supporters houses at the back of the pitch, dug it in and had it connected at great cost for his neighbours to kick up a fuss and now we cant use the feed hence the hiring of generators. The church agreed to let us use the pitch but now the reverend is making life difficult for us as his parishioners can’t have free run of the car park to visit the grave yard. We’re a brand new club in a village of tradition and would love to know how to get some funding to source our own facilities and pitches so we can develop the youth teams and really be a community football club.

  4. John Hughes on September 29, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    We totally agree with your campaign to help clubs at grass roots who have poor facilities, we are in that position but even worse as our pitch is in a much sort after situation were not even sure we will see the season out as people want to build houses on it – so we would be gratefull to even keep hold of our poor facilities would rather than have nothing and face wrapping up.

    John Hughes, Manweb FC

  5. Ben Woodcock on September 30, 2009 at 4:18 am

    I am totally behind your move to get more money into the English amateur game. It’s a joke when we’re paying around £80 a fixture to be playing on a “football pitch” that resembles a PGA Golf Course. I’m not saying that the amateur level pitches need to be like Wembley or Old Trafford but something needs to be done about the quality of pitch we’re playing on.

    Facilities are usually pretty shabby at these grounds with uncleaned changing rooms, broken windows and lighting, no locks on doors and just poor quality in general and it’s not fair on the game and it is quite discouraging.

    You then wonder how a new club is supposed to survive especially given the current economic climate where people are very reluctant to sponsor new clubs. With all the money that goes into the professional game through over priced ticketing and other sponsorship, you think all teams would be given a grant to work with to replenish things each year. It’s even harder still when only three or four players in a squad of 20 are actually working. Students don’t have the same money as the other four and this often creates problems.

    So please clubwebsite be a voice to the people and get the basics of the game changed so that all clubs stand a chance of going a long way.

    Ben Woodcock – Director of Football, Cricklewood United Football Club

  6. John Swanson on October 1, 2009 at 10:48 am

    As a junior cub manager I listen to “kids don’t exercise enough”, etc, etc, etc so if we really want kids exercising why do junior football teams pay to play on council, school and pitches?

    Indeed, why do we have to pay at all for facilities? The government, local health authorities, police, social services, councils, education authorities and FAs should be funding our clubs. We will still give up our time for training, for matches, for admin, for meetings, for fundraising and to take FA courses. FA courses which we give up our time, holidays and pay for, to help the FA reach “their target of a trained proficient workforce” which is needed to catch up because of their mismanagement of OUR game.

    If these authorities were really concerned with OUR game and our kid’s health they would support grassroots football where it needs it most – in its coffers.

  7. Chris Bates on October 2, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Top quality statements by Mr Swanson. and absolutely, perfectly true. Why should we all pay so much towards the facilities?

    A club my son used to play for has some quite good pitches, but the only thing stopping the council selling it for housing is the fact that it used to be a landfill. The club pay through the nose to use the pitches, but the council seem to begrudge helping the club at all. Even sending a decent contactor to mow the pitches properly is a constant struggle.

    For instance, the club were donated a large shipping container, ideal and safe for storing the football equipment. The council only agreed to let them put it on the grounds if the club painted it green, `to keep in fitting with surroundings`. Surroundings?! The only saving grace from a view of the nearby sewage treatment plant is a few trees, the whiff of which isn`t exactly pleasant if the wind changes!

    The club also asked the council to dig over and resurface the pitches, as parts of them had sunk over the years and were prone to flooding in heavy weather. The council said `no`, on the grounds that as it was a former landfill, the ground underneath was constantly moving, and it wouldn`t be worth their while. Though if it wasn`t moving, it would probably have houses on it by now…….

    The council even prevented the club from putting up a sign, (with club funds), just to state it was the home of their football club. It contrasts wildy with what the adjacent lawn tennis club are allowed to do, which is have floodlights going til late in the night and have big advertising placards all along the fencing……read into the last bit what you will.

    The question is, will local councils ever admit they don`t contribute enough to something the government says should be happening, ie getting the kids out there with facilities to exercise, and will the FA ever get to grips with the obese money being lavished at the top of end of the sport and get it filtered down to where it matters. To our sportsmen/women of the future?

  8. Christian on October 9, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Some Sunday League pitches are shocking. Every team needs half decent facilities and a half decent pitch that doesn’t have a half metre drop, amateur or pro we should have this to be honest.

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