This week I have experienced two ends of the football spectrum that are so far removed from eachother that it’s almost incomprehensible to think that they involve the same sport.
On Sunday, the under 13 side that I coach, Highgrove, played Heysham Blue Star in an away fixture that I wasn’t exactly looking forward to.
We’ve yet to win a game whereas our opponents are challenging for the league title.
I was worried that we might be on the wrong end of an absolute drubbing which, in my view, is not what kids football is all about.
I need not have worried, as although we lost the game, it was played in a brilliant spirit and I would like to commend Adrian Scotucci, Heysham’s coach, and his team for the sportsmanship and respect that they showed us.
Then on Tuesday I was fortunate enough to be invited to Old Trafford for one of the most eagerly awaited Manchester derbies in years.
Arguably, two of the biggest, and certainly two of the richest, clubs in the world were set to compete in front of a crowd of over 75,000.
I had been invited by the father of one of the boys that plays in my team to recognise the time and effort that those who coach junior football put in, and I very much appreciate that.
The result was irrelevant to me as those who know me can testify there’s only one United for me and that’s the mighty Carlisle United.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and some of the football on display, especially from City was superb.
That said, which do you think I enjoyed the most?
Easy, give me kids football anytime.
The enthusiasm, the spirit in which the game is played, and the fact that big business has no significant interest are all features that bring me to that conclusion.
This is why I fully support those who argue that the mega-rich professional clubs and, particularly the Football Association, need to put more funds into grassroot football.
As a brief aside, I would welcome any players who would like to join Highgrove F.C. Under 13’s (Year 8) so any interested parties please contact me.