A few weeks ago I happened to drop by the sports field with my son, aged 9 and one of his friends. We’d be driving past and seeing a game was on decided to cheer on our local team. Both lads play for the juniors and are football mad.
It was a cup match and tensions were high – a close fought encounter and good skills were being displayed by both teams. Sadly though that isn’t what I or the boys will remember. Now before I get accused of being soft I’ve seen many games of football and played in quite a few too, so I know at times the language can get out of hand. What we witnessed that afternoon was however on another level.
What struck me more than anything was the difference between the behaviour of these adults (mostly the visiting team though not exclusively) and that expected and displayed by the youth teams. The junior coaching staff are all superb role models for our sons and daughters. If the kind of profanities these adults were giving out showed itself in any of the junior games it would be stamped on immediately. Respect for each other, the opposition and the officials – it’s not always shown by visiting teams and their parents but we can be secure in the knowledge that our children are being taught the right way to play our national game.
I contacted Tim Elliott, chair of the Sports Field Association and voiced my concerns about what we had witnessed and contrasted that with the excellent work being done by KJFC. He promised to raise it at the next committee meeting and I am delighted to report back his actions here.
I have been in touch with the Wearside League Chair and secretary and they advise they are working with the FA and their “Use your Head” campaign and are looking to produce some posters with league and club logo etc. Kirkbymoorside Football Club want to be proactive and intend to put signs in each changing room, beside the entrance to the pitch and the spectator area.
If you would like to find out more about the FA campaign please watch this video:
It’s vital this issue is addressed – at the game we watched the crowd was pitifully small – just the diehards, mostly older men no doubt used to this behaviour. Some might have even found it amusing. But it was no place for children.
We just saw the tail end of the game and I’ll be hesitant about taking youngsters again. Hopefully the ‘Use your Head’ campaign will have an effect. We’ve got 100+ children playing in the junior teams – wouldn’t it be great if we could let them wander down the sports field on a Saturday afternoon to support the seniors safe in the knowledge they were going to watch adults they could actually look up to?
Visit ‘Use Your Head’..