Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Playing the beautiful Game...9 vs. 8?

So with the World Cup fever slowly dying down, the excitement of the transfer window and a new football season slowly takes over. Couple this with the somewhat great weather we've been having in the Midlands the past few weeks and there is only one outcome, an afternoon kick-about.

Now, when we were all younger, a kicking a ball about the park was exactly that, when you're older the craving for a full 11 vs. 11 game gets a lot stronger and with the dawn of the mobile phone it's easy enough to get your mates involved.

However, getting a full sized game going is nowhere near as easy as you'd like to think, with people making commitments to work, girlfriends, parents, other sports (e.g Cricket teams) and previous engagements all go hand in hand to create the situation of the Post Title.

It's not as if the local football leagues at the gym and 5-a-side centres either are any better either. Absolutely horrendous refereeing riddles one 7-a-side league at a local outdoor Football league. I'm talking about clearly poor decisions, such as an inability to keep consistency, one minutes the ref will blow his whistle, yet if players keep playing the game apparently carries on too.

A 5-a-side league in Derby, whilst brilliant is also rubbish at the same time, with amateur players forced to endure conditions which would make a gulag look lush. On the upside, they've got a variety of leagues at a variety of levels and a proper and well thought-out relegation and promotion system in place, even prizes for top goal scorer and best keeper.

The problem is when you try and play at a proper level of football, the 11 vs. 11 game isn't easily organised, especially at park level, but then again unless you join a local league or pub team, where can you go that offers a recreation 11 vs. 11 league?

This is something that the FA should look into rather then spending time on finding pitches. What's the point of having a football pitch if you can't get a full 22 man game going?

Sports centres should just offer a service whereby 11 mates can show up and play against another group of 11 mates in a controlled environment with a trained (or trainee) referee. Get each team to fork out £11, £22 altogether and you've paid for some tempt's wages for the day. If the FA could get behind a scheme like this, it could really help young talent get notice and develop English Football.

Besides who wants to find a pitch, only to get there and realise it's been over-run by teenagers smoking dope and larking about?

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