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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Rob Green's turn to insult me!



And it's been a recurring theme for Harry Redknapp in his defence to bringing in foreign talent.

Unfortunately, not only do I disagree completely, but I also think that the problem in recent times has not been the young players, but the older generation.

I Played football for my local club since I was 8, eventually giving up (not my choice) at the age of 16. During this time, my team won the Surrey Primary League, the Surrey plate, and about 8 summer 5-a-side tournaments (4 of which in one year!). For myself, I picked up the managers award 3 years running, then the "players player" award. I literally eat, sleep, and breathe football, and didn't ever support a football team until I was 15 - as all my time was taken PLAYING football.

The rest of my team is very similar to me, we trained 2 nights a week, Saturdays and Thursdays, and played on Sundays - we were committed, and we were successful. Our league winning side went unbeaten for well over half a season - and we only lost games through bad luck. The club I have played for, despite having over 500 members, and at least 2 teams in each age group, is widely regarded as one of, if not the best club in Surrey - and yet, it has never (that I am aware of) ever turned out one professional player (maybe feeder leagues). Every Sunday, without fail, 13 players would turn up, and play good football - normally win, for us - against another 13 players that changed every week. With so many teams playing at youth level in football.

The problem is, there IS no team in Surrey. There are conference teams in Aldershot and Woking, but that is nothing. Hampshire has 2 good teams - although only one had an academy when I was playing football. Playing for my club every week, when I was 11, I believed that one day, I would play for England… then when I was 14, I though maybe the premiership. Then, when I was 15, I thought maybe the championship. Then, 16, I thought "are these guys real??? How come I don't know anyone to have even been so much as "scouted" for a team?"

Anyway, enough of my personal experiences, as I am (probably) not alone in my experiences.

In 2005, there were 7 million people involved in grassroots football, including 500,000 volunteers - playing at 37,500 clubs. And an additional 5 million children involved in school teams. Now, I may be bad at maths, but that equates to AT LEAST 5 million children involved in football in 2005, and I am assured that the figures have since gone up! Not what you would call a "lack of choice" then Harry - or Rob Green for that matter!

Earlier this season, Harry wrote in his column "The English working class is turning its back on football - and that is not my fault. It may sound old and corny but when I was growing up, working class lads like me in the east end lived and breathed football." Now, it may sound corny Harry, but up until I realised there was no chance of me ever getting picked, due to a lack of scouting in our area, I truly did live and breathe football. Harry also said that when he was 16, he had an understanding of football at the time. Well, yes Harry, I can name all 4 of Spurs main strikers, and ideal Manchester united XI, and the entire Chelsea Premiership winning team of 2 years ago - and I didn't even follow football back then!

I have since met a football scout, for Reading football club - albeit at a child protection workshop - where it was revealed that it was frowned upon for scouts to look for home grown talent further than a 2 hour drive from the clubs training fields, as it is "too much to expect of young kids travel that far". And he admitted to never having been to the club before having to take the child protection workshop.

Now, to my (…possibly biased) mind, all this goes directly against what Harry Redknapp and Rob Green have been saying. There would appear to be no shortage in young players, no shortage in enthusiasm, only a shortage of premiership players, clubs, and scouts going out there, and inspiring young players to do better. Not once have I met anyone notable - not once, and they expect me to believe that children of today are not willing to move away from there play stations and X-boxes?

More likely, premiership clubs are too lazy to come and get us. So if it is true, Harry, that you want young players with talent and enthusiasm, email me at portsmouth@vitalfootball.co.uk. If not, then please stop saying that we are obsessed with X-boxes.

Written by pompeycarpet.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 26 2007

Time: 9:34PM

Your Comments

yuo werent lying to me carpet in your email when you said it was 'a rant' :-) but seriously it is a good read and i did enjoy going through it, being a 'youngster' yourself the thoughts coming from green and 'arry have clearly upset you more than they would have others... yep, give it a read fellas.
pompeyrug
too put it bluntly, every time ive read someone say "youngsters dont care about football anymore", ive considered going round there house with a baseball bat! oh, and i see youve changed my email address ;-)
pompeycarpet
nice rant carpet, you have to stand up for your generation. I've had similar experiences, I thought I could make the Canadian National Team at one point as well, since its so crappy. It seems to me, at least in Canada, that there is a lack in organization in between the original grassroots programs and the senior teams, not to mention that there is few of those as well (1 Major League Soccer team started this year and was hugely successful, and bunch of lower league teams). There are no U18 leagues to showpiece the best young talent in the country on a regular basis, but there are lots of gems out there that are waiting to be found like Hargreaves and de Guzman. Although the situation in these 2 countries is so different there are without a doubt several common problems
whitestones
yep, i didnt think that putting your email address on public display was a good idea mate - just thinking of you tho...
pompeyrug
I run a Gosport Borough U 11 team, my son plays for them, he plays Sundays, trains on a wednesday and spends evenings on the Playstation with Fifa, and collecting Matchattax cards, the interest is there, but Pompeys dire record for producing home grown talent still leaves a lot to be desired. The last Pompey born player was Nightingale I believe, My Son plays in summer tournaments with scouts watching, but the only ones wqe are aware of are from scum and Chelsea.
paultsmouth
I and alot of my friends my xbox, but I stil play for a team, and if I was any good, I would want to playt pro
PompeyGleamer
I lived in Surrey
Owenspompey
Sorry about that above, i lived in Surrey for 6 years and saw United, Liverpool and even Blackburn fans, or kids wearing their shirts, hardly any followed Palace or any of the London teams. We need to put a structure in place to ensure that kids have organised good standard football which feeds into the clubs academies, to ensure the production line of English talent is started.
Owenspompey
listen to us lot talking about 'The kids of today'. It wasn't like that in my day.
The Rabbi
only becuase the "kids" didnt stand up for themselve ;-). Of my many friends, i dont know any tha support palace, about half support pompey (school in hampshire), 1 or two support scum, and the rest are just seemingly random teams, from Man u to leeds, and arsnal to blackburn...kids will follow football, we will pla football, untill the point comes, when we just give up, as no proffesionals give a monkies about us.
pompeycarpet
Paultsmouth, what league is your son in?? My son plays in the Sunday B league he played against a gosport team already this season. He plays for east lodge.
pompey4me
 

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