Life in the Lower Leagues: The volunteers who make village football 'real' footballBy Bob Bacon
March 19, 2013
Bob Bacon is chairman of Binfield FC.
In this week's Life in the Lower Leagues, he praises the work of the volunteers who help make "real football" possible.
The dictionary definition of “supporter” tells us that he or she is a follower, backer or advocate and
to be involved with a junior football club, you need all of those skills and characters in abundance.
In our area, where Ascot United, Bracknell Town, Wokingham and Emmbrook all ply their trade at a
junior and a not so junior level, we are lucky to have a ground swell of support that supports not just
the club but the football, at all levels.
A couple of weeks ago I went to Hill Farm Lane on a Saturday morning to see that kids games and
was really encouraged with what I saw and experienced.
On one pitch, there was the Under 7’s,playing a game.
I particularly like to see them play, given that last year, they were in the Soccer School, which I, along with several volunteers, help coach and run and it’s fantastic to see how they progress.
They scored a goal and to a man (or boy actually), they all jumped on the scorer as though he had won the FA Cup for them; their enthusiasm knew no boundaries and it was matched by their parents.
On another pitch, a slightly older age group were playing, and I use that term loosely, because neither side could get hold of the ball and play and there was a lot of huffing and puffing and chasing and running, but one of the Binfield players shouted in his high pitched voice “come one, we’re Binfield and we don’t give up” – as Chairman, that sort of thing makes you very proud.
Pitch three was the home of another league match, where two Binfield teams were playing each other in a league match, which was a different experience for them both, as they typically train together, and now they were pitting their wits against each other in a skilful encounter that neither side wanted to concede anything.
The coaches who have worked with that age group for a number of years, were to be applauded for their dignity and praise that they heaped upon their charges.
The final game saw one of our young referees, who had cycled to the ground, refereed two matches and was off to run the line for our reserves in their 3pm kick game over at Chinnor – it’s people like this that support the activities at the club who become the real advocates, the real people in real football.
It’s easy to stand on the side lines and grumble and say negative things, but it takes a real supporter to get behind everything that gets done at the club.
Nowadays with social media and chat rooms, it’s easy to hide behind a false name and snipe or poke fun or to have a good old moan about how
it should be or could be.
Remember, we are not Manchester United or Chelsea; we are a village football club, striving to put on football in a safe environment where everyone can participate and enjoy themselves.
With people like I’ve mentioned above, football should be in good hands for many a long year – proper football.