Tag: parents

‘Why do I only come on if we’re winning by loads or losing by loads?’

So why did I want to be a football coach and what did I think I would get out of it? The answer is not as simple as you might think. Actually it’s a bloody tough one to consider but I’ll try and be as honest as I can. When a parent looks over and notices that their child is a substitute it’s not a nice feeling. No parent ever hopes that their child will not be in the starting line-up. Internally you rationalise that it will be one of life’s lessons, or you might tell yourself that it is in the interest of fairness, and everyone must accept that they can’t play every game. It’s a fair selection process, nothing more and next week it will be someone else’s turn to sit it out.

But if you see this happen week after week it starts to become an emotional burden and difficult to bear witness to. After all, you live with this budding Lionel Messi; you’re the one who notices where he’s put his favourite teams’ calendar pride of place just where he can see it before he goes to sleep at night in his bedroom. The excited young wide eyed boy that asks you if you think they’ll play today as he busily struggles to get his socks over his shin pads. When my own son was 8 I asked him what he wanted to do when he left school. He told me he’d be a bus driver through the week and play for Manchester City at weekend. Innocence is a beautiful thing in children; everything is so black and white. Life is simple and anything is possible. How utterly disheartening then when you see that it is your child, yet again that is keeping his squad jacket on, that is freezing on the touchline patiently waiting for his coach to tell him to get warmed up.

It’s even worse if your son like mine, is the sort who will just stand there until he’s told to warm up. He would never dream of asking his manager when he’s going on. The car journey on the way home becomes abject misery. At first you can tell them that they’ll get their chance eventually. Then you tell them if they work hard, and keep trying, their chance will come. Then if you’re stupid like me, you’ll tell them it’s because they are not working hard enough. Our journey from hell was after a game for under 11’s in December 2013. It was a miserable wet and cold slate grey Manchester morning. The team were at home entertaining a local rival. I looked over as the lads warmed up with Coach hoping that my son might finally get to start a game.

He wasn’t their best player but he wasn’t their worst either. Not that that should matter. The parents were huddled closer than might be considered comfortable due the biting wind that was driving the Manchester rain into our faces. We were cold but at least we were dressed for it. The lads on the pitch were ringing wet through even in their training coats, and by now as muddy as they would have been if they’d have just played a full game. The referee, who looked about 90, and had the whitest skin I’ve ever seen, seemed not to notice the weather at all and offered a casual ‘morning’ to the Captain and the clad ensemble of parents that were eager for the game to get going. ‘Ref any chance of 5 minutes each way in this?’ one of the parents shouted, but the ref didn’t respond he was busy getting his linesman flags out of his bag. It is at this point as a parent that you have got to have your wits about you.

If you’re caught off guard and not paying full attention, you will eventually look up to see a referees flag practically shoved up your nose, and a ‘appreciate that, thanks’ message from the ref who has spun so quickly on his haunches, you can’t even recall the moment you accepted the flag into your hand. So that’s what Derren Brown does with his Saturday mornings….. Any attempt to pass the flag on yourself is rendered futile because, at that moment as you look at all the other dads, you realise that you are actually alone, and every other man and his dog has retreated to a safe distance of roughly fifteen feet away. ‘You X%$?X’ I turn to my wife and say pathetically, ‘I’ve got to do the flag again’ ‘mmm, you’ve made more appearances with that flag than our son has played all season’. I look at her apologetically, ‘get someone else to do it for a change’ she instructs. The dads looked at me apologetically, but not apologetically enough to actually take the flag. Derren Brown’s whistle signals kick off, I hastily get into position as linesman and look around the pitch for my son. He isn’t there, I look over at Coach and, oh yes there he is, the one shivering behind the other three subs. The game was 1-1 at half time which I knew meant that he wouldn’t be coming on any time soon.

Most of the parents including my wife had retreated to the safety of some trees to shelter from the downpour. I however had official flag business to attend to. I stood miserable and cold on one side of the pitch while my son was no doubt doing the same on the other. The second half saw us score another goal with just 10 minutes left. Great for the team but not so great for the subs. Coach did his best to get the lads on before the final whistle which saw my sons stats as “played 60 seconds, touches 0” As I walked towards the ref to give him his flag I heard him say to my boy ‘well played there young un’. I didn’t speak to coach after the game and we didn’t wait for his team talk.

The three of us just trudged to the car wet through and freezing cold. In the car he started pushing all the right buttons, ‘Why am I sub every week? ‘Why do I only come on if we are winning by loads or losing by loads?’

Why why why….

He was right of course, why indeed?

But I was as fed up about it as he was. I didn’t want see other people’s kids playing football every week. And so I snapped, at my ten year old son, who just wanted to be in a team, play football and drive buses.


Have we forgotten what kids football is for?

It’s really sad that people have forgotten what kids football is really about.

  • Is it about winning at all costs? No!
  • Is it about politics between parents/coaches? No!

We know, the same as in a lot of life situations that some children are more talented than others in sport. The same as I know there are people out there that are better brain surgeons than me.

Should we make the children feel inadequate because of this? Absolutely not! Should we involve the children in club rivalry? No! Should there even be club rivalry at grassroots level??!! As long as they’re playing and having the time of their life’s getting caked in mud on a Sunday morning.. what else matters?

We’re draining the life’s out of these kids week in week out.. The question is would I love my children and be any more proud of them than I am now if they were to be signed to an academy tomorrow..? The answer to that is.. I couldn’t possibly love or be more proud of my children no matter what they do!

I have a son that is a goalkeeper that makes some actual WORLD CLASS saves that I couldn’t..even if I tried stop myself.. and he thinks nothing of scoring goal kicks every now and then.. does he make mistakes.. yes… don’t we all!! But he loves what he does! And so do I!! I have another son.. that takes free kicks like I’ve never seen a 7 year old child take before, he’d put Beckham to shame and that’s not even being biased it’s been said by many people.. is he the strongest player on the pitch? No.. But do I burst with pride every time he touches the ball.. yes!

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I have a TEAM full of players that have their own unique little things that make my Sundays and hopefully their Sundays amazing.. are they lucky to have me as their coach… No.. I’m the lucky one!! I don’t vision that we’re going to go on and be world beaters but that doesn’t mean them nor I don’t put the effort in each week purely on the basis that we love the game! No matter what, I can say I’ve taken part in their DEVELOPMENT not only as football players.. but actual human beings as well.

We have a right old laugh week in week out.. At the end of most games they’ll literally come and pile on me and bring tears to my eyes with the little smiles on their faces beaming up at me, hanging on my every word.

It doesn’t end there.. as I don’t just run a team.. I run a club.. and everyone that is part of our club I am proud of.. more so the kids.. after all.. they are what make it!! Let’s give them something back! They are not machines….please for the love of god stop treating them this way!

Yours sincerely,

Disheartened grassroots football manager.

All hell breaks out at kids party, Are you taking the kids football to seriously?

Wow, where do I start with this one. I’ve had a bunch of kids together since they were 4 years old. I’m just a dad of one of the kids who stepped forward when no one else would.

The Diary of a Grassroots Coach…..

I said from the start that all kids would get the same game time and all kids would play in all positions regardless.

They are now u7s and interact socially away from football and the team are all best friends.

Results wise we win some we lose some, to me I’m trying to build children’s social skills with team play and sport.

This past weekend it was one of the lads birthdays and we were all invited, I thought everything was fine and the parents were happy as no one had said anything to the contrary. I was very wrong.

Half way through the party 2 of the mums and 1 of the dads began to, what I can only describe as “interrogate” me.

They compared my team to every other team in the league, criticised my coaching methods and the red rag to a bull. My decision to give equal time and rotate positions.

This was all in front of my wife and elder daughter, I reminded them that it was a team decision to do this and nobody had mentioned it before, I was told I was playing these kids “out of position” and “losing crucial games”

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My response was to laugh, and say “I think your taking kids football at little to seriously”

This turned into a tirade of abuse, some quite personal. I will be honest it cut straight through my heart as I give so much time and effort it felt cruel to have it thrown back at me.

I left immediately with my wife and children who were distraught how I was treated in such a public way, in fairness 2 of the parents rang me later and apologised, but 1 refused and took her son to another team.

That night I was so hurt and questioned why I was putting myself out, I then looked back at the positive impact I have had on these kids and the role model I have been and thought, damn right I will continue. Come on the weekend!!!!

6 minutes !!! – My son cried when he got in the car, this can’t be right…

My son, who is 8 has played for his team now for a year and a half now, I accept that he has the least ability on the team but to counter this he has the most enthusiasm.

The coach was very fair in the first season giving most kids a good run out, recently this has begun to get less and less for 2 players, my son included.

This weekend we attended a large tournament in our area and all the kids were really excited to spend the day together and play new teams.

It was clear from the first game that my son was going to have a minimal part in the tournament as he played for the last 90 seconds of the first game. I didn’t say anything and thought he will balance it out over the remaining games. Subs went on and off and each time my son looked at the coach hoping it would be him.

My heart wrenched every time my son looked at the coach, in total my son played just over 6 minutes at a full day tournament. To put this into perspective, we pay our subs like everyone else, we cancelled other plans to attend because my son wanted to play, Im sure I’m not the only one who thinks this is wrong.

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My son put a brave face on until we got in the car, he instantly began crying which broke my heart, I said I would find a new team for him which made him more upset. For the first time as a mother I really didn’t know what to say or do to make things better.

The irony in all this is the coach and my son have a really close relationship and my son looks up to him like he’s a super hero. He always said that he wanted to develop his team and would be devastated if he upset any of the players. I won’t bad mouth the coach because 99% of the time he is a genuine bloke who loves the kids, anyone who met him would agree, but I think he may be so engrossed in winning the game that he’s forgetting his roots and his players.

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Cancer suffering Nana seeks solace in football watching Grandson Ben @ Aston Swallownest JFC

A Sheffield woman with terminal cancer who continues to attend her grandson’s football games while she battles against the destructive disease has been hailed as a Parent in Sport hero.

Pamela Mellars, 71, was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2012 and doctors told her that the disease was incurable. In the face of her illness, she has continued to cheer on her grandson, Ben, at his football matches for Aston Swallownest.

Read the One Two Mag HERE
Read the One Two Mag HERE

Angela Sharp, Pamela’s daughter, has nominated her mum as part of Parent in Sport Week for the support she gives to Ben, aged 13, as he develops his football skills.

Angela said: “I’ve nominated my mum as part of Parent in Sport Week because she’s always shown an interest in Ben’s footballing ever since he started playing eight years ago. She’s so enthusiastic about the sport and at his games.

“Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with terminal skin cancer in 2012 which came as a huge blow to the entire family. Since finding out about her illness, my mum has been knocked back time and time again as the disease develops.

“She’s had a number of operations to try and fix the skin cancer as it was incredibly aggressive. She’s had to have her eye and parts of her skull removed to get rid of the cancer.


“Last year she was also diagnosed with lung cancer which resulted in the removal of a quarter of her lung. This has had a massive effect on her breathing and she gets worn out easily.

“On top of all of this, my dad Michael passed away in February of this year. He had primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and my mum was his main carer for a number of years. Unfortunately, when she became ill she struggled to keep this up.”

Four years on from her first diagnosis, Pamela is still attending her grandson Ben’s football games whenever she can.  Ben has played for Aston Swallownest since he was four-years-old and is currently part of the Under 14s team.

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“In spite of all that life’s thrown at her, my mum has still continued to show her support for Ben by cheering him on at his matches.

“My mum grew up with football, it’s her background. Her brother, Andy Burgin, even played for Sheffield Wednesday so it’s in her blood.

“She is so focused on the sport, it’s all she ever watches. She and Ben are constantly chatting about the latest matches.  She is the person my son talks to about football, she advises him, guides him and loves him very much.

“To look at her, you’d think she was this frail, little old lady – 71 years old, weighing six-and-a-half stone – but she’s the toughest person I know. Everyone thinks she’s amazing and she really is so strong.

“Mum still goes to the hospital quite regularly these days but she’s coping. She’s getting better every day and we think she is finally cancer free – fingers crossed!

“I am incredibly proud of my mum for how she’s dealt with everything over the past few years, especially for how supportive she is of Ben.

“I want her to know how much it means to me and Ben that she continues to come to his football matches and show such enthusiasm about this sport that they both love.

“She is one tough cookie.”


Do you genuinely believe your constant criticism helps your boy????

How many times do I have to hear his voice through the game…

Do this…

Do that…

Don’t do that…

Don’t do this…

Why did you do that…

You should of done this…


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Every single time his son gets the ball or at times when he hasn’t got the ball. No matter where his son is on the pitch his father informs him he’s “Out of position” or he’s “Lost his man” 

If he attempts to control the ball and pass his father informs him “Just get rid” If he puts his foot through it his father informs him “ah you should have took a touch you had loads of time”

I’ve seen a child with a love of football be systematically broken down by criticism to the point where he hates to play now. I can see in his body language he now genuinely doesn’t know when and how to make any decision as he knows it will be the wrong one.  

I see the boy arguing with his father before games not to play and his father virtually threatens him to play. 

If his father was at work and his boss was behaving like this I’m sure he would be outraged and dread going to work, is it any different what he is doing to his own son??????

 So today I couldn’t take anymore and asked him “do you genuinely believe your constant criticism helps your boy?”

He replied,  “It’s nothing to do with you what I do with my son, maybe if you coached them properly I wouldn’t have to”

I took a deep breath and smiled and kindly replied

“Speaking from 15 years experience as a volunteer coach, working with and developing kids, having been on many safeguarding workshops and witnessing first hand your behaviour I can tell you that this behaviour ends today or I will be forced to ban you from pitch side at games and training to safeguard my player, your son”

His response….

This clubs sXXt, no one has a clue what there doing, I was leaving anyway. 

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Halesowen children’s football match ends in melee with ref and parent injured

A MELEE broke out during a children’s football match in Halesowen which saw parents fighting and the referee attacked.

It has been reported today via the Halesowen News that another game has turned sour, the details that have been alleged are…..

The Halesowen Match descended into violence on Sunday afternoon.

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Tempers flared after a contentious decision and then it has been alleged that the referee was attacked.

During the ensuing fight its alleged that a parent was also injured and needed stitches for his wounds.

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Police were called to the scene where shocked parents and children had looked on in horror at the attack.

A parent, who did not want to named, said: “It was absolutely sickening, this was a children’s football match and to see such violence was a shock for everyone.

“We all know parents and team management can get carried away but this was on another level.”
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “A man has been arrested following an assault at a Halesowen amateur football match.

“Police were called to Newfield Park, Whittingham Road at around 1.55pm following reports that a 49-year-old man had been assaulted.”

She added: “Officers arrested a 52-year-old man from an address in Halesowen at around 2.30pm.
“The man has been bailed pending further police enquiries.”

The referee of the match, told the News: “I’m as well as I can be after something like this.”

He did not want to go into the details of the attack until the County FA had completed its investigations.

Brett Harrington, referees appointments officer, said: “We have a Respect officer whose team has been observing matches to see how the refs are treated.

“We are committed to bringing down the amount of abuse referees suffer from parents and players.”

Stories like these are becoming daily news, it has to stop.  The game we all love is meant for fun, enjoyment and a social past time. Not for brawling, violence and abuse. 


Story via Halesowen News Here 


Father attacks teenagers and mothers threaten ref at youth match

We are hearing news from STV in Scotland about an incident that occurred at a youth game last August. 

They are reporting as follows –
The youth match was abandoned after chaotic scenes at the Blairgowrie under-16 game.

A schoolboys football match was abandoned after spectating mothers threatened the referee, a player was bitten until he bled and two teenagers were punched by an opposition father.

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A court heard the referee abandoned the under-16 match between Blairgowrie and Monifieth after a series of violent clashes involving fans and spectators.

Ian Scobie, 44, who was watching his son play for Monifieth, punched two Blairgowrie teenagers who were watching the match in the Perthshire town’s Davie Park on August 30th last year.

One of the boys, who was 16 at the time, told Perth Sheriff Court: “He grabbed me by the throat and punched me. My nose was swollen. He grabbed [my friend] by the scruff and punched him to the ground.”

The other boy, who was 15, said: “One of them called us Blairgowrie minks. The father came and approached us and said we called his son names.

“I stepped in his way and he swung for me. It was a punch. He didn’t properly connect. I knew it was a punch because I saw his fist. He fled. He ran back to the car park.”

Blairgowrie mother Gayle Tolmie, 39, said: “I heard a commotion to my left and turned around to see one of the young boys watching the game being assaulted, punched in the face.
“He was maybe 16 at the time. 

This gent punched him in the face and he fell to the ground. I told him he was just a child and that shouldn’t be happening.
“A lady was shouting and swearing. I was told I was getting the same from the lady. I heard another parent advising him to get out of there so I got my phone out and took a photo.

“It was just a football game. It got very heated after that. The game was eventually abandoned. Their team was winning quite comfortably so there was no need for it.”

Solicitor Kevin Hampton, defending, said: “This man [Scobie] doesn’t dispute he slaps the boys, because these boys were about to slap him.

“They were saying things about people getting stabbed after the game and making reference to Dundee minks. It’s suggested these boys were causing bother.

“The referee in his match report says he was threatened by female supporters of the Blairgowrie team.” 

Mr Hampton said the referee’s match report also recorded an incident involving one player biting another in the hand until he bled. 

The court heard the Blairgowrie goalkeeper punched an opposition player as well.

In an interview with police, Scobie said: “The boys were antagonising my son on the football pitch, which they had nothing to do with. I asked them nicely to move.
“The lads were so brazen, it was incredible. One of the boys brought his arm up to throw a punch and I slapped him.

“The other boy came from the side and I pushed him and he fell to the ground. I went away home after that. I was aware I had done wrong.

“I called the parents of the football team to apologise for my actions. I slapped one and pushed the other. I hold my hands up to what I’ve done. It’s not like me.”
Scobie, of Haddington Gardens, Dundee, was found guilty of two charges of assault by punching a 15 and a 16-year-old boy. 
Sentence was deferred for reports

Source of story STV the home of Scottish News http://stv.tv/news/tayside/1347418-youth-match-abandoned-after-father-punched-opposition-fans/

We can’t keep hearing stories like this, a reality check is needed and the realisation that ultimately this is merely children playing a game for Fun.


Dear Grassroots……When did I become an employee of the parents??

We received an email this weekend from a coach at the end of his tether telling us he was quitting and the reasons behind. 

Dear Grassroots,

I would like you to make this email public so hopefully someone somewhere may learn from what I’m saying and stop with immediate effect treating grassroots coaches like s**t.

I will start by saying I love the game and I love coaching with all my heart, I have coached grassroots football for 6 years now and on average devote about 10-15 hours per week. On top of this I also have a full time job and a family with all the job/family commitments like everyone else. 

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I will also add that most people who give up 10-15 hours per week of there time for charitable or community work are well regarded and at the very least thanked for there efforts.   

When I first started 6 years ago with a bunch of 5 year olds with parents who had no expectations of grandeur and we’re happy to watch there children play. 

I can’t tell you when or why this changed but instead of the nice texts “really appreciate that little talk you had with x he’s buzzing about what you said” or “thanks so much for taking little x and bringing him home, I would of been really stuck”

I now feel like I’m being treat like an employee of the parents with virtually every text or conversation being

  • A complaint
  • A request to do something or buy something
  • A problem
  • My training needs improving
  • The facilities we use aren’t good enough
  • The way we play isn’t good enough
  • Referees at the league aren’t good enough
  • The league isn’t ran well enough
  • Other teams have better strips/tracksuits/balls etc etc

Before I go any further the subs are £15 per month. 
I want to know at what point I turned into an employee!!

I started this as a fun hobby to give something back and to be a role model for my son to look unto. 

I can honestly say now that I dread games, dread training as there’s always and issue no matter how tiny and it has slowly but surely wore me down. 

Please if you are a parent reading this just give your coach a little bit of credit for spending his or her time with your child, don’t criticise everything they say or do. Of course they will make mistakes because there just level 1 coaches trying to do a little coaching with kids. Every once in a while even give them a pat on the back and say “Cheers” as it means more than you will ever imagine. 

It is with a heavy heart that I will be walking away from Grassroots as this grassroots coach has had enough. 

Yours in sport


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