Taylor: Parents play "massively important" role

Graham Taylor is full of praise for parents who support their kids in grassroots football, but calls on the FA to support those parents who want to become coaches.

© Action Images / Paul Thomas

Former England manager Graham Taylor has praised parents for the important role they play in grassroots football.

The Watford chairman, who is a long-time supporter of grassroots football, was discussing the role of parents in the game at The brmb Grass Roots Football Show in Birmingham earlier this month.

In a debate entitled ‘Are parents running the game?’, Taylor rejected the suggestion categorically.

“A lot of times, parents get criticised for trying to live their lives through their children, but I happen to believe that is only a small percentage of parents,” he said.

“I don’t buy into the idea that parents are running or indeed, as some might say, ruining the game. Parents have a great role to play in the game.”

When the Football Association launched their Respect Parent Guide in 2009, the problem of overbearing parents was highlighted in this video starring Ray Winstone.

But Taylor believes that the parents who behave in this manner do a disservice to the majority of grassroots football parents.

“Yes, there is a small minority who stand on that touchline and they want little Johnny to play exactly as they say; they make rather irreverent noises and have a bit of a go. Because one or two do this, there is this feeling that they are running the game.

“But they are not. Parents have a massively important part to play.

“I know that the majority are there to support their children. They want them to do well, they want them to win.  But the most important thing for me is that kids enjoy it.”

© Action Images / Paul Thomas

Radio Five Live pundit Taylor, who watches his grandson’s under 14s team, is aware of the effort put in by parents across the country.

He encourages parents to help out with their child’s team, but is concerned that the costs involved will put some people off.

“We need parents’ commitment to their children playing the game, to transporting them, to paying the money.

“I know what costs are involved. Parents are paying for the kit and paying for the pitches.

“Do you want to be a qualified coach? Well, put your hand in your back pocket and find the money. Level One, Level Two, UEFA B and so on… go all the way and you’ll have to find more than a thousand pounds. It concerns me.”

The entry course for new coaches in England – the FA Level One – currently costs £140.  Subsidised rates are often available for Charter Standard clubs and other groups but, according to Taylor, this doesn’t go far enough.

“I can’t see why, with all of the money that is in the game, we are charging our parents to become a Level One coach,” he added. “The FA puts money into the game, but I don’t think it’s enough.

“There is a colossal amount of money coming into the game. I think that some of that money should directed into Level One. We want to encourage people to get involved in the game, so we shouldn’t be charging people to become a Level One coach.”

Dan Pope, Club Website editor

Graham Taylor was appearing at the Grass Roots Football Show. Next year’s show will take place at Birmingham’s NEC from 25-27 May 2012.

Do you agree with Graham’s views? Have your say!

What do you think about the role that parents play within the game? And what about the idea of free coaching courses? Do the costs put you off getting into coaching?  Or are the costs necessary to ensure that coaches are trained to the correct standard?

Let us know what you think – have your say in the comments section below!

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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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  1. msb03 on June 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    At last someone involved in the upper levels of football talking some sense

  2. Rob Bailey on June 18, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    He is absolutely spot on – they should provide the level 2 at a reduced rate too – better coaches = better players,just look at the stats for Spain,Holland and Germany if you need any proof!!
    Lets hope somebody in charge of the purse strings is listening!!

  3. SIMON NUNN on July 4, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Spot on its the fee’s that put people off e.g. I did one many years ago . Then it was far cheaper, I want to re-do them now however the cost is to much.
    I will put the time in for it but we all need help.

    The level one is a stepping stone , if people get help with that maybe they will go on the further coaching as well. I know I would .

  4. Spencer Courtis on July 30, 2011 at 2:08 am


    ‘“I can’t see why, with all of the money that is in the game, we are charging our parents to become a Level One coach,” he added. “The FA puts money into the game, but I don’t think it’s enough.’

  5. Matt on August 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I totally agree that a lack of funding will only have a negative impact on the grass roots game. Without dedicated parents there wouldn’t be any local teams and leagues for our children to play in. We all know that there are some idiots managing/coaching our youngsters but the vast majority of parents involved in the youth game do an incredible job because they love the game and want to help our kids develop into better football players. Until funding can be provided to help these parents obtain the correct qualifications we will continue to churn out players that aren’t as good as their European counterparts.

    At this point I want to stress that at no point would I ever blame a grass roots coach for implementing sub standard training methods. People can only run training sessions from their own previous experiences. We all went to school but you wouldn’t want anyone but a fully qualified person teaching your kids maths!

    I would guarantee that nearly 90% of all youth teams across the UK would fold without the volunteering efforts from parents, some of which act in a chairperson, club secretary, treasurer capacity, in which they receive absolutely no payment for.

    Unfortunately football in the UK is now a business and not a sport. We have 3 organisations running the game (FA, Premier League, Football League) who cannot agree on anything that will help the grass roots game improve and evolve. You only have to look across the continent to see how Spain, Holland and Germany operate to see how it should be done.

    Perhaps we should have a totally independent body running youth football development?

    Unfortunately I cannot ever see these 3 organisations ever doing anything to support grass roots football even though they’re happy to throw money at things like respect campaigns.

    I’d like to see our immensly wealthy professional players, club owners and so on start to implement some kind of sponsership initiative where they each adopt a number of local grass roots teams and put a small percentage of their wages back into youth development. This money could then be spent on improving facilities and equiptment, help fund coaching qualifications and help sustain the running of local leagues. All of these players at some point played for a local youth team, so in my opinion they have a moral obligation to put something back into the game that made them millionaires.

    You never know they might even get some pleasure in seeing a humble local team achieve something unimaginable!

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