Category: News

FA says only one in three pitches at grassroots level adequate

Its now common knowledge that the FA are considering the sale of Wembley, an offer of £600m for the national stadium is believed to be on the table from Fulham owner Shahid Khan.

Opinion seems to be split 50/50 about the sale and arguments will be debated all around England, however what is refreshing is the FA have finally came out and told the truth, the truth we have known and the entire grassroots community have known for decades, the facilities at Grassroots level are inadequate with the FA themselves citing two thirds of pitches are not adequate for use.

Take that in for a second, the aim of the FA as per their website is as follows;

“The Football Association’s Management Team, working together with The FA Board, Council and staff, aims to deliver an effective and professional organisation for the greater good of English football.”

The FA also oversaw the introduction of the Premier League and the enormous sums of money that it has generated without the promised funds finding its way into the Grassroots game, the FA have stood by and watched the super agents suck huge amounts of money from the game.

We believe the FA have failed Grassroots Football and now more than ever a the FA need to listen to the Grassroots community and be represented by members of the grassroots community.

The Key Facts

There are 21,000 grassroots clubs, 50 county FAs, 25,000 schools and 330 local authorities which are catered for by the FA and, along with the finding that only one in three grassroots pitches are of adequate quality, the FA’s written evidence also highlights:

  • 150,000 matches were called off last season due to poor facilities
  • One in six matches are called off due to poor pitch quality
  • 33 of 50 county FAs are without their own 3G pitch
  • Cancelled matches account for the equivalent of 5,000,000 playing opportunities lost this year because of poor facilities
  • There are half the number of 3G pitches in England than there are in Germany

What do you think?



England’s Trent Alexander-Arnold admits he can’t quite believe how quickly he’s gone from a boy playing grassroots football to the World Cup Finals.

The Liverpool defender received his first senior call-up for the trip to Russia after an impressive breakthrough season at Anfield.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

  • Born: Liverpool, 7 October 1998
  • Club: Liverpool
  • Twitter: @TrentAA98
  • Instagram: @TrentArnold98

And after making his World Cup bow in the final group game with Belgium, having also played at the 2015 U17 World Cup in Chile, the 19-year-old still recalls the days of playing with his mates and school teams.

“I can’t really get my head around how big this opportunity is at the moment,” admits Alexander-Arnold.

“I’m from West Derby in Liverpool, and I don’t know anybody else from my area that has played at a World Cup.

“I played for Country Park in the Walton and Kirkdale League.

“I always used to pretend to be Stevie Gerrard when I was playing as a kid as he is a Scouser.

“Everyone looked up to him – I don’t think there is any footballer that doesn’t recognise his talent and what he has done for his club and country at World Cups.

“The first World Cup I can remember is in 2006 when Italy won it. It just doesn’t happen to lads like me.”

Are you inspired by Trent’s story? Why not find your local grassroots club and start playing this season? Use our ‘Find Football’ portal, get involved and who knows, it could be you next.

Shall I Shout Anything on the Sidelines?

The noise from the whistle by the official signals the start of the game, with young players eager to impress both sides of the sideline.  Coaches on one side of the field, parents/guardians on the opposite, and players taking centre stage. Parents that observe the beautiful game of football will at some point think/ask themselves, “Shall I shout anything?”, “I want to look and sound like I’m being positive and offer encouragement”. Parents may feel if they remain silent or say too little they are deemed unsupportive or lack interest in their child level of participation.

With parents being highlighted as one of the major influences in a child’s level of enjoyment and participation, it’s important firstly to understand and appreciate what your son or daughter may want from you as youth sport parent. Simply ask them before the game, a child will tell you what they want and it may differ from game to game. We often think we know what our children want, and parents will always have their child’s interest at heart. We continue to hear/see parents scream/yell aggressively on the sideline.  Just ask them, you might be surprised with the answer given.

Once the game is underway and players are within the bubble of fun with friends, parents need to respect the given environment. The children play the game, therefore it’s theirs to enjoy, parents should take a hands-off approach from such environment and situation that doesn’t belong to them. Naturally, such approach will cut any unnecessary stress and decrease the eagerness to influence the game by yelling avoidable statements that negatively influence the levels of enjoyment and participation.

Taking a “Hand-off” approach doesn’t mean you remain silent or unnerved throughout the game, it solely provides a perspective that it’s a youth game where players a given opportunities to take chances to learn, make mistake and grow as individuals and players.  Young players learning the game will inevitably make mistakes, we should look at the scenario at hand and have realistic expectations. They’re not the “perfect player” yet, like anything we venture upon in life, we will make mistakes, will then logically reflect and learn. If you allow players to fail we provide them with an opportunity to be brave, in overcoming the mistake, finding the solution and learning on their own accord.

If any problems on the field can be solved through guidance from the coach and/or knowledge from the players, why is there need to assist in that process? Worrying or interfering will do no good in the long run. Taking another perspective, when children have tests/examinations, they find solutions to problems from knowledge gained, not from parents yelling at them from the hallway. Forget about all the reasons why something may not work. You only need to find one good reason why it will, finding the best solution may not happen straightaway every player develops at their own pace.

First Aid Kit including Accident book

The truth of the matter is there is no reason to interfere, because it’s their game, not yours. Whenever you feel the urge to shout negatively or steal a learning opportunities from the child, STOP, reflect and consider the environment and learning opportunities given to the child to develop. There is no actual stress from observing the game, it’s your thoughts that creates such beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking, or feel like they NEED to interfere, STOP!

To conclude and answer the initial question “Shall I shout anything?”, it depends firstly what your son or daughter wants, secondly if they are happy for you to shout during the game, make sure you consider what is said, how it’s said and when and to who? Attempt to be positive at all times, with a positive and enthusiastic tone of voice to the player and the whole team. At times, simplicities are better for example a smile or thumbs up. Revert from showing negative behaviour or using a tone of voice that can be deemed angry or frustrated. Remember to have perspective and if you’re ever unsure of what to say, it best to ask the coach what can be said. Working within the athletic triangle to provide the best environment for the player to reach one’s potential.

Enjoy the watching your son/daughter play the game, it won’t last forever, cherish the memories and smiles.

Article courtesy of guest author Richard Cashman of the Sporting Influencer, more from Richard HERE

The FA’s concussion guidelines

Welcome to The FA Concussion Guidelines.

Here you will find helpful information and advice about how to recognise and manage a concussion from the time of injury through to a player’s safe return to football.

The guidance, which is designed to support those managing head injuries in football at all levels, is available in two forms – a free-to-download document and as an online resource – both of which you can access at the bottom of this page.

Below are some useful facts about concussion as well as some key considerations to think about should you ever be faced with managing a head injury either during a match or a training session.

FA Concussion Guidelines Summary Points

Download now

View online


When will this end!! Another Junior Club left devastated by vandals.

A junior football club has been left devastated by vandals who have caused chaos in an utterly deplorable act that will effect hundreds of players at South United.

Paint was tipped over the floor, carpets soiled with human excrement, taps were left running and anything and everything that could be tipped out of cupboards or storerooms and wrecked. Goals used by the children for training and matches have also been destroyed. The pitches were all strewn with rubbish, glass and broken crockery.

The club are raising money to replace equipment damaged and destroyed at the break-in at Southam United’s junior clubhouse.

Any support will be greatly appreciated by all involved in the club, especially the children who enjoy playing here and using the facilities.

If you can support the re-build, please donate HERE

Ex-Youth Coach 67yrs old jailed for 5 years for historic abuse

A 67-year-old from East Kilbride has been jailed for five years for the abuse of nine young boys spanning from 1980 to 1995.

William Cross held a position of trust in a number of youth organisations across East Kilbride, including football teams and the Boys Brigade.

His victims were aged between seven and 15, and he met them through the numerous youth clubs.

He originally denied the offences, but changed his plea to guilty on May 16 after two days of evidence was heard at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

Speaking after the sentencing, Fraser Gibson, Procurator Fiscal for South Strathclyde said: “William Cross’s victims were robbed of their innocence by a man in a position of trust.

“Justice can be achieved even after many years and we would encourage all victims of such crimes, wherever and whenever they were committed, to come forward and report them.

“They can be confident that they will be treated with the utmost professionalism by everyone involved in the investigation and prosecution.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotand’s National Child Abuse Investigation Unit described Cross as a “serial abuser who took advantage of his position of trust to abuse children in his care”.

DCI Sarah Taylor added: “He came to our attention following reports made during our investigation into child abuse in football.

“I also hope that this will encourage anyone else who may have suffered abuse, or knows someone who may have been abused, to come forward and report to us. We will listen and we will take action, no matter when or where the abuse occurred.”

Cross was sentenced to five years and placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.

HDYFL a step closer to Smoke Free Sidelines

Smoke free environments are a key ambition of Hull’s work to de-normalise smoking for children; children copy behaviour that they see. Smoke free Playgrounds were implemented in Hull in 2017 followed by Smoke free School Gates. Smoke free side-lines is a project that The Hull and District Youth Football league and East Riding County Football Association propose to implement a rule amendment that will help to end exposure to tobacco use and smoke at football.

The smoke free side-lines ambition is to support all adults involved in youth football across Hull and East Riding to understand their responsibility as positive role models. It is about promoting a sports club as a healthy and inclusive place, where the wellbeing of all, but particularly children and young people, is a priority. This initiative will support 600 youth teams, equating to approximately 7,000 players and their families.

Norwich Public Health and Norfolk Football Association launched their smoke free side-lines project in 2017. The ambition in Hull and East Riding is for all young people’s sports clubs to be smoke free and we want to lead the way by being a smoke free football league with your help.


What does smoke free side-lines mean to clubs?

Smoke free side-lines means that members and visitors to youth and children’s football are asked to refrain from smoking or vaping on the side-lines and in sight of children at matches and during training. Vaping will be included in the smoke free side-lines initiative to help guard against youth uptake of vaping. Vaping is not recommended for young people. In the UK protection is in place via prohibitions on the sale of e-cigarettes to under 18s.

It is anticipated that parents will recognise what the initiative is trying to achieve and adhere to the rule. The campaign will give parents the opportunity to report smoking or vaping on the side-lines or in the view of children, to the coaches. Any further concerns by clubs can then be communicated to the league administrator who can offer support.

All clubs will be issued with leaflets, optional smoking cessation brief advice training, logos, access to information about the initiative on the league website and an optional policy template to use to promote the positive move to being a smoke free area. A launch of the project is planned for the start of the 2018/19 football season.


If you have any questions, then please contact the League Administrator

We hope that you will join us in making youth football a healthy environment for young people.


Smoke free side-lines Hull and East Riding

  • The Hull and District Youth Football league and ERCFA propose to implement a rule amendment that will help to de-normalise smoking for children; children copy behaviour that they see.
  • The smoke free side-lines ambition is to support all adults involved in youth football across Hull and East Riding to understand their responsibility as positive role models. It is about promoting a sports club as a healthy and inclusive place, where the wellbeing of all, but particularly children and young people, is a priority.
  • Smoke free side-lines means that members and visitors to youth and children’s football are asked to refrain from smoking or vaping on the side-lines and in sight of children at matches and during training. Vaping will be included in the smoke free side-lines initiative to help guard against youth uptake of vaping. Vaping is not recommended for young people. In the UK protection is in place via prohibitions on the sale of e-cigarettes to under 18s.
  • The campaign will give parents the opportunity to report smoking or vaping on the side-lines or in view of children, to the coaches. Any further concerns by clubs can then be communicated to the league administrator who can offer support.
  • All clubs will be issued with leaflets, optional smoking cessation brief advice training, logos and access to information about the initiative on the league website.

Statement from the Pinpoint Recruitment Junior Football League


Dear Member Clubs

You will no doubt have received a correspondence from Northumberland FA about the suspension of the Pin Point Recruitment Football League

Members of the NFA Board have chosen to suspend the sanctioning of the league for the 2017/18 season, which in our own opinion, have failed to follow their own rules in that it is the NFA Council who decides all football matters, and not the members of the NFA Board. The complaint received by the NFA was by three individuals who the league had suspended until such time as they agree to appear before a league disciplinary panel, to answer serious charges of bringing the league into disrepute in relation to off field alleged offences.

The alleged offences of these 3 persons, included, spending £8,000 without obtaining the correct authority, threats of violence towards a member of the football committee and slanderous comments made in public again against a member of the football committee, to which I am sure you will all agree that no one should ever have to endure.

The league firmly believes that we have acted correctly within the league’s constitution as set out inthe rules as below:

5. (D) The Management Committee shall have powers to apply, act upon and enforce the Rules of the Competition and shall also have jurisdiction over all matters affecting the Competition. Any action by the Competition must be taken within 28 days of the Competition being notified.
With the exception of Rules 6(H) and 19, and subject to Rule 5(I), in relation to any alleged

breaches of a Rule the Management Committee shall issue a formal written charge to the Club concerned. The Club charged is required to respond to the charge within 7 days from the date of notification of the charge

This league has a proud history of over 75 years of offering children the chance to play football throughout the North East. Also the support which it has given, and will continue to give to our member clubs, and also to the 15000 players that plays within the league.

As a league we feel the decisions which we take as an organisation are in the best interests of all our member clubs, and are totally disappointed that this has been caused by the actions of three individuals who think they are above the rules of the competition.

8th June 2018

We have today been in touch with the National FA, and will be lodging an appeal ASAP, which we have been assured by our legal team that they are 100% confident that we will have this decision overturned, which will again, allow us to continue to run a league that provides football for all in the North East of England.

If any club would like to contact the league, please email us and we will ensure every one of them is answered.

Please note any of our board is also happy to take calls should you wish to discuss the matter.

Yours Sincerely


Interim League Secretary

BBC 5 LIVE want to hear from YOU!!!

BBC 5 Live Investigates are kicking off the new football season with a programme exploring whether enough is being done to protect football clubs at grass-roots and lower league level.

We are interested in hearing from clubs up and down the country to understand their experiences.

Maybe your club has faced threats to move or pitches aren’t being maintained because councils are looking to save money?

Or perhaps you feel the council has done a good job in providing the facilities for your club to thrive?

If you have an experience similar to these, or feel you can help in any other way, please can you make contact by 5pm Friday 15th June.

Ollie is the point of contact, number and email below:
07846 776 419

RIP: Ryan Evans 2000-2018

Mansfield Town Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of 18-year-old striker Ryan Evans.

Ryan, who was the captain the U18s, died recently at home.

In the days before his passing he had accepted a place in the U21 squad ahead of next season.

His coach, Jamie McGuire, said: “We are all desperately sorry to learn of this news and our thoughts and prayers are sent to Ryan’s family at this sad time.

“As a player, Ryan was a fantastic leader, always willing to learn and had a never-ending enthusiasm to do the best he could. It was for these reasons, amongst others, that I made him my captain last season.

“We’ll remember him as a smiling young man, with a great energy and charm.”

Chief executive officer Carolyn Radford said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of Ryan’s passing; a young and talented footballer who was looking forward to U21s football with us next season.

“To lose someone so young is heartbreaking for Ryan’s family and as a club we will support them in every way we can.

“Our heartfelt thoughts are with Ryan’s loved ones, whist we will remember Ryan and his family in our prayers.”

Grassroots would like to send our thoughts and prayers to Ryan’s family, friends and club at this profoundly sad time.

Is your child a good sport? – Parents you hold the key!

Sport can teach our children many valuable life lessons and can have a major part to play in shaping our children’s behaviours and attitude.

Whether coaches like it or not, however, parents predominantly still play the most influential role.  Parents spend the most time with their children and as a result can have the greatest influence.  That is why the perfect combination of coaches and parents working in harmony, singing from the same hymn sheet has the most positive impact on our sporting children.

Being a positive parental role model probably has a greater impact than you may think and if we want our children to be good sports for example then you have a key role to play.

‘That team is rubbish’

“Those referees were awful, not sure what games they were watching”

“”What a complete waste of time, I wish I never signed up for this.”

These are just some of the comments that I am sure many of us have heard on the sidelines of sporting contests and many with very similar connotations, so is it any kind of surprise if our children follow suit and become bad sports?

First Aid Kit including Accident book

Losing is not easy for many children, and being a graceful winner can in some ways be even harder, so the question becomes: what can parents do to teach their children good sportsmanship?

Our very good friend John O’Sullivan of the Changing the Game Project sums it up beautifully, “Children are not very good at listening, but they are fantastic at imitating.”

If this is the case everything that we do from our attitude, body language and our verbal communication is being watched by our children.  They are pretty sure to follow suit.  We need to stop and think about how our actions may be affecting the attitude and approach of our own children?

So if you want your kids to display good sportsmanship, you should.

If you don’t want your kids to yell at referees, you shouldn’t yell at referees.

It all sounds very straight forward but we all know as sporting parents in the heat of battle that sometimes we may get it wrong, but there may be further consequences.

I recently heard a 9 year old yell ‘snap him’ to another player on his team to an opposing player running with the ball.  Really?  A 9 year old being asked to break somebody’s leg?

I do not apologise for this,  but that is not the language of a 9 year old child without the influence of adult behaviour and is just a most shocking remark.

If we want our children to be good sports we cannot allow them the excuse that my parents aren’t good sports so I don’t have to be.

Bad sportsmanship and bad mouthing opponents is probably on the rise and if it isn’t, it has certainly become more public.  If we take a look at some of the talk on the television when players disrespect opponents, this is also adding to this growing trend in children’s sports.

This is why it is so imperative that both parents and coaches go out of their way to address this and ensure that children are being steered down the correct path.

So how can you potentially address it as a sporting parent?

As a parent, could you find sportsmen and women around the world on the TV who always display a good attitude and show good sportsmanship and use them as an example to help your children if they are finding this tough?

When your child wins a game, a gentle reminder to them about how their opponents may be feeling based on their own experience is a good way of them handling victory in a positive manner.

The fact that many children’s sports games do not carry the significance that we place upon them and will be forgotten in the future remind us that keeping things in perspective is really important.

Try to keep all of your praise and focus based on the processes and not the outcomes.  If we see a bad decision from an official and we have this in the back of our mind, the chances of us reacting badly reduce and crucially our children will see a positive approach to model their behaviour on.

Article courtesy of guest author Gordon Maclelland of

Tips for Sports Parents when your child is struggling in the team

Firstly ‘Your child should not be defined by their sporting prowess.’

The statement above is absolutely critical advice for parents before we start digging any deeper into the potential issue of your child being one of the weakest in their sporting group.

Our motivation for this piece came from a letter posted by a school principal sent to parents before the exam season and you will see why below.

We want you to think about this letter in a sporting context and apply it whilst you are watching your child play their sport.

It is vital that before we even start the process that as parents we have signed up our child for sport for the right reasons.  The chances of your child becoming a pro are minimal, the chances of gaining a college scholarship are low and the chances of making a living from sport remain out of the reach of many.

So why should you sign your child up for sport? 

You should be looking to find something that your child enjoys doing and hope that they fall in love with physical activity and that a lifelong participation in sport follows.  That is the ‘ultimate success’ for the vast majority of children and parents or it should be.

Regardless of whether they are particularly good at sport they can gain so much from playing.  They will make lots of new friends, will learn new skills, will feel part of a team, will develop communication skills and cope with lots of different environments and situations as well as hopefully having fun.

If that is the case, what is it about sport that drives us as parents into wanting so much more from the experience? Why do we spend so much time making comparisons with other children?  Why do we listen to all of the other parents on the sidelines?  What is it that makes us want our child to be the best at sport even if it is so obvious at that particular stage that they cannot be?

This can only be put down to human emotion running out of control.   Someone once described to me about watching their child play sport ‘that it is like having my heart on the outside of my body, living every tackle, pass and goal.’  We can never change this emotional connection and nor should we want to but we need to find ways of channeling these parental emotions better to give our children the best possible sporting experience.

A key skill for a parent- when to intervene?

Firstly, we need to take a look at whose emotions are at play here.  Often a child does not mind if  they cannot dribble as well as the next person or that they don’t score as many goals as a teammate.  As adults however we can see this as the end of the world and our protective nature kicks in.

Children probably do not see the world like adults do and it is important we do not intervene and over protect them as they will be gaining so much from these life experiences.  So much can be learned from any form of failure managed in the correct way.

If your child starts to suffer and really struggle then this is a great opportunity to intervene.  Do they really like what they are doing?  If the answer is YES then is there anything more that can be done?  For example can you organise them extra practise or dedicate a slot to playing with them in the garden each week?  If the answer is ‘NO’ then maybe this sport or activity has run its course and they may be better attempting to play another sport.


If your child really enjoys playing their sport but starts being aware that people are much better then perhaps it is a perfect opportunity to talk about genetics, how we are all different and how some people have the traits of being a unique talent.  The world needs these talented people and children will find their place in time and society will help do that for them.  If we can teach them humility along the way and that there will always be someone better our children will have gained so much from the experience.

The one time that you should really intervene is if your child is being bullied or picked on by other players in the group because of their ability?  If this cannot be sorted by the coach or organisation that you are involved with then maybe it is the right time to leave and do something else.  At the end of the day we do not need to see unhappy children playing a sport.  There will be no long term gain from this.

We hope that this article has painted a real world picture of how parents may feel when watching their child play sport particularly if their child is not as good as the other players.  We also hope that we have given you some useful pointers in what you should be looking for as you watch training or matches to make wise and insightful choices on when to intervene in your child’s best interests.

Is there a real issue present or are you just projecting your own fears?  Hopefully, this article will help you in answering this.

Article by guest author Gordon Maclelland of