Published 8th March 2012
.....Peters being especially vocal on the subject.
His particular circumstances are especially difficult as his club`s ground is the highest in Lancashire – and that part of the world is known for having its fair share of rain!
The FA and many football pundits have griped at the standard of our kids coming through from grassroots, suggesting that we don`t possess enough top quality coaches.
Well, to some degree I agree. However, I also argue that in Spain, Italy or France, it is doubtful that their juniors have to play on the type of surfaces we expect ours to.
I recently watched some mini-soccer games locally for a while and the poor little mites could barely drag their feet through the muddy pitches, let alone show that they had the ability and skills to become the next Messi or Ronaldo!
One of the reasons the Premiership has been so successful is down to the fact that we have dispensed with the bogs we of a certain age used to have to perform on and now play on carpets.
I find it amusing now how Premier League teams complain if they have to play on a surface that`s less than perfect – as in Tottenham`s case at Stevenage in the FA Cup recently!
If non-League and youth football was played from say March to November then I`m sure we`d soon see an increase in attendance levels and eventually in skill levels from our youngsters who at least would be able to play on decent pitches for the majority of the season.
`What about the cricketers` I hear you say. Well, we don`t have to play on a Saturday afternoon – in the summer months we could play on lovely balmy evenings and maybe that might even entice the missus out as well! Or on Sundays even.
We are too quick to criticise the genuine people who give up their time to coach/manage youngsters and fail to see the major reasons why our kids don`t match up to those from warmer climes – pitches and the weather!
I recently attended the Anniversary Dinner celebrating 125 years of the Northamptonshire Football Association.
I didn`t pay for my ticket as it was deemed that I had probably paid enough in fines over the years to fund the whole event attended by 200 people at Staverton Park Hotel!
Seriously though, following on from FA chairman David Bernstein`s speech, the NFA chairman revealed what a healthy situation football was in the county.
It was one of those statements that had most people present looking around the room to see if it was really a joke – should we chuckle - or was he being serious!
Surely he couldn`t be serious, could he?
In less that twelve months the county has seen Rushden & Diamonds disappear completely, its other Conference Premier team Kettering Town on its way to following suit, Conference North side Corby Town in financial trouble, its most senior club, Northampton Town, fighting to avoid dropping out of the Football League, recent Southern League outfit Rothwell Town have its Cecil Street gates shut, the ground put up for sale and finding itself with only seven players available for last Saturday`s home game with Eynesbury Rovers in the United Counties League Division One after suffering Administration earlier in the season and being rock-bottom with only two points.
And to make matters worse, the three bottom teams in the UCL Premier, Desborough Town, Thrapston Town and Irchester United, are all from the county!
So yes Mr Chairman, football in Northamptonshire is thriving!
The only bright light on the horizon is the rise of AFC Rushden & Diamonds.
Who knows, by the start of next season they could find themselves being the most senior club in the county!!