Football facilities in the spotlight – show us what's out there!

RevolutionIt’s official. Football facilities in the UK are not good enough and you lot want something done about it.

When we launched the Football Revolution a few months ago we wanted to find out what mattered most to those of you who play football week in and week out… and you haven’t let us down!

We asked you to name your revolution and you replied in spades. Issues such as improving behaviour and getting rid of cheating in the game were high on the agenda, but not as high as the issue we’re about to put under the spotlight.

Amateur footballers across the UK are properly fed up of using sub-standard facilities when they want to play the beautiful game.

We ran a couple of polls to find out how serious the situation is and it turns out that almost 40 percent of you don’t even have changing rooms to use, while those that do have to put with shabby conditions – broken windows, rooms that don’t lock, cold or blocked showers, that sort of thing.

Cracked windowIn fact, no less than half of you – yes, one in two people surveyed! – described the facilities at your disposal as either “poor” or “terrible”. We don’t think that’s good enough quite frankly… enough is enough!

Club Website will be digging deeper into the matter over the coming months and will raise your concerns with the powers that be – FAs, government, representatives from the professional game.

Whoever needs to be spoken to, we’ll find them and we’ll act as your mouthpiece to make sure the issue gets the attention it requires.

To do this though, we really need you involved. The input we’ve had till now has been great and your comments are really giving us an idea of the problems out there (see a few of these at the foot of this article), but we want to get right to the heart of the matter and that’s where you lot come in!

How bad are your football facilities? We want to see them!

Warning signComrades – this is a call to arms! We want to find out all about the state of the facilities out there, so we need you involved!

We want you to send in examples of the state of facilities out there, so that we can highlight some of the worst examples and take them up with the powers that be.

Whether your place is just too small or too old, too crowded or too dirty, wherther it’s falling apart slowly at the seams or is need of being condemned right now – we want to see it!

We want to see photos and videos of the facilities that you use, along with the key details about them – i.e. where they are, who owns them, how much they cost you per season, how many teams use them and just what makes them as bad as they are?

You can post your pictures or videos on to our Facebook page, send them to us via Twitter or simply email them to us at [email protected].

We’ll be compiling our dossier of dodgy facilities over the weeks ahead and will be in touch with some of the worst offenders to find out the real inside track. Who knows, we might even come and pay a visit to your place to see just how bad it is!

Spread the word!

You’ve been shaping the debate since the Football Revolution kicked off… just the way we like it. As we’ve said from the beginning, we want to be the voice of amateur football, the voice for all of you out there, so stay involved… and tell your friends… and tell them to tell their friends!

Make no mistake, this is a big issue. The more people we get involved, the better our case will be and the more people will have to stop and take notice. We’ll do the work, but we need the ammunition, so it’s over to you people!

Dan Pope on LinkedinDan Pope on Twitter
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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  1. […] footballers out there, who have to deal with substandard facilities on a weekly basis. Campaigners Club Website want to highlight the shambolic pitches and changing rooms across the country in a bid to force an […]

  2. stewart gourlay on October 21, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Our facilities are basically two portacabins joined together, a car park and grass field, these have a mens toilet block, a womans toilet, two team changing rooms and a third refs changing room of which half has been converted into a tuck shop to serve hot drinks on match days/events, all our teams are under 16years old so the changing facilities aren’t used much just the toilets, as with most kids they turn up kitted up and wouldn’t use the showers/changing rooms if they were available.

    What is needed is a social room where parents/siblings can sit in comfort with their hot drink and butty to watch their sons/brothers and sisters play /train football whilst socializing, when i hear about rugby/cricket clubs these seem to be family affairs where they stay afterwards as a social gathering, unlike football where they shoot straight off home after the match. we are always trying to raise funds for a club house that could provide this but unless you have some rich benefactors lined up its difficult.

  3. lee addison on October 22, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Basically to put it in a nut shell, we dont have any, the changing rooms were burnt down some 4 years ago, of which we were told they will be replaced a year later, guess what, im still waiting.

    Instead they moved a youth team onto the area and they took over the pitches etc. granted they did build government funded changing rooms, however they wont let adult teams use it unless they pay £70.

    With the current climate, we seriously just cant pay this.

    We approached our local council reference this matter and they said that we can use the leisure centre, this is approximately 2 miles from the pitch.

    We pay £30 per match, just for a pitch which has glass, needles and dog dirt on it everyday, however, this is the days we live in and this will not stop. what could help us in the building of a new changing room facility, preferably one which is warm.


    lee addison
    Lakes United FC

  4. Lorraine Foley on October 23, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Our home ground is a public park, but we have to pay for the pleasure of playing on football on these Fields. We have 14 teams. 7 of them play for the Kent and 7 for Selkent.

    You can normally find me out on a Sunday morning with an empty polystyrene Coffee cup clearing up the mess left by Dog walkers, before we can allow the children to play. Just to let you know dog walkers can walk their dogs for free and allow them to excrement on the field, where young children will be playing. But our children have to pay for the privilege to play.!!!!

    There is a pavilion in the middle of the field that has changing rooms and toilets, but I would not let any child of mine use the loos as they must be among the worst in London. There are no lights, the floors are always soaking wet, not always with urine but there must be a continuous leak under the floor tiles. You also have to pay to use these.

    Our older children that do use the changing rooms or should I say are allowed to use the changing rooms, usually change in their parents cars as they are very dirty and are often used by adult footballers.

    We try our very best to keep children interested in football but lately the prices of pitches have risen so much, that we have had to put our subs up and this in turn is making it quite unaffordable to some. Most junior clubs are non profit making we can therefore cannot always help families that cannot afford subs.

    Councils are not interested in getting kids into sport they are just interested in how much they can make from them. We are located in Greenwich which itself is hosting the 2012 Olympic games. But this council charges all children whether they are in a club or school to use the facilities.

    The Government talk about getting kids into sport to keep them fit and healthy, but if facilities were made available to everyone free, then I am sure more children (or parents of) would jump at the chance of taking up a sport. If junior clubs were given more assistance then we could probably let children play for free.

    Lorraine Foley
    Assistant Secretary, Cray Wanderers JFC

  5. Mick Maguire on October 23, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I run a non for profit Football Club for 4-11 year olds. We don’t have any facilities at all, no toilets,changing rooms.

    I have just over the last year been trying to build some facilities on council land where we play. We were going to self fund the build. The council building there at present has no toilets and is not fit for anything.

    The council stated they had no money to assist, and after a long drawn out effort with complaints from residents, the council said that if we did get permission to build the facilities we would have to pay to rent it and also only get a short term lease.

    We have now decided to pull out,even though this has cost us money with the planning and a lot of wasted time and effort. Very soon the land will be totally wasted and there will be no football played on it.

    It seems that despite the efforts of a few, for no monetary reward, there are always more and more hurdles to cross in grass roots football and the fact that a small Club like ours keeps 100 young children in exercise and out of trouble is not appreciated.

    Mick Maguire
    Walton Warriors Chairman

  6. Karen Ward on October 23, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    To add another dimension to your debate. I am chairperson of Dereham Town Youth & the facilities we have for players playing 11 a side football are good as they are attached to a senior club. Mini soccer plays at a local high school and uses a 3G pitch so is also very good. The downside is that they cost us a lot & we are restricted to the number of teams we can have as we don’t have enough facilities. There is another club in Dereham called Wanderers & they have the same problem with the fact that locally there are more kids who want to play than there are facilities to accommodate them.

    There is no local council provision of facilities for hire in the town & Breckland the area council do not want to know (I have been to a number of meetings to point out the lack of grass)

    The other local club in Toftwood that is attached to Dereham does have use of the council owned recreation ground but has to manage the facilities themselves. This is an expanding large market town in Norfolk & it is appalling the lack of provision. We have tried school options but a number of them don’t open on Sunday when youth league plays as they give their caretakers a day off.

    Good luck with your campaign to better facilities across the board.

    Karen Ward
    Dereham Town Youth Chairperson

  7. John Cassidy on October 23, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    This is a game between Morecambe CCFC (now Trimpell FC) v Swarthmoor in the 2nd Division of the North Lancs League at Salt Ayre – a council ground we paid them £345 to play on this per season!

    John Cassidy – Manager

  8. Jeremy Meadowcroft on October 23, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Facilities you ask. Yes, well we took the momentus decision to take on a 25yr lease from the council over our playing fields (ex-school fields) & having now completed the transaction one year later, have now formed a Ground development committee, which I chair to prioritise & plan , budget & faciltate, a programme of improvements. We have :

    – No toilets
    – No Changing rooms
    – No shelter
    – No floodlights
    – No clubhouse
    – No bins
    – No running water/electricity supply etc to power anything
    – Public have a right-of-way across our pitches so we cannot prevent access 365 days a year
    – Quadbikers rip up our playing surfaces in the muddy weather , grooving doughnuts into the playing surfaces, (Bloody Vandals!)
    – Our access through a Drystonewall is crumbling, dangerous & precarious (picture uploaded to Club Website’s Facebook wall)
    – All boundaries/hedges are now our problem (& our Financial problem), no longer the councils.
    – We give/volunteer our time as coaches etc, not hedge cutters, wall fixers, turf repairers etc
    – We have 250 registered children/players, 2 x full size & 4 x mini soccer pitches marked out by us, by hand on our grounds.

    We are targeting our efforts to find any available small project grant applications to make the facilities:

    – 1st) Safer first of all by re-siting the current `hole in the wall` entrance 30feet away.
    – 2nd) Make it accessible by all, elderly spectators, wheelchair users etc by providing a better, flatter, wider opening entrance
    – 3rd) Restrict all 3 access points to pedestrian only to prevent Quadbikes to stop vandalism
    – 4th) Promote our facilities with Signpost/Noticeboard at the main entrance to publicise forthcoming events, how to join / get involved etc

    We have just submitted a Grant application to a private PLC firm to do all the above for just £2600- which will benefit not only our club users, players/parents/supporters, but also the community residents, dog walkers, ramblers, neighbouring school who run a weekly school football league on our grounds, & local children who play on the fields 7 days a week as they are always open.

    The point is : why should we have to do all this on our own, to promote junior football to all ages, in our community which benefits other users, non-members also, without help, guidance or financial assistance.

    Anyway, we are lucky as at least we are a dedicated, committed & enthusiastic Club / committee who will persist to find ways to improve the facilties.

    If you want any more information of what/how we have done, or just whether or not we got that grant, feel free to contact us/me anytime.

    Keep up the great network, newsletter & especially the competitions etc.

    Jeremy Meadowcroft
    Rastrick Juniors FC

  9. Adam Jones on October 23, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Our facilities are decent to be fair we have recently managed to get grants to improve our ground to the required level of the league above.
    The main problem we have is our ground is on a flood plain. Which means our ground can be underwater at any time from October to March 🙁
    Ontop of this the juniors pitch has been unavailable for 3years to date meaning our juniors have to travel 5miles to play in the neighbouring village.

    We are currently in the process of searching for a new ground where we can build a clubhouse and fence the ground to keep dogwalkers etc off the pitch and also to get the juniors in the same place as the seniors so they can all use the facilities.

    Here’s hoping eh

    Adam Jones
    Llanrwst utd FC

  10. peter churchill on December 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    English local fotboll areas are the worst ive ever seen , my company in Sweden sells 3G pitches at a sensible price , with a shockpad with inbuilt draining system. Can be laid on Old graval pitches or on grass pitches with a gravel bas. 4 ex are laid in Sweden and Finland with a Star 2 Artif grass pitches. The New shockpad is freez free . I am in England in January looking for suppliers .

    Peter Churchill

    0046 736503463

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