When Premier League stars are permanently top of the sports news agenda – on our TV screens, bursting out of social media and plastered across the back pages of newspapers – it’s easy to forget about the first time you kicked a ball.
Just like it did for many of the most famous footballers in the world, it likely all started on a patch of grass close to home: a back garden, a park, a field, or maybe just a kickaround in the street.
From the early stages of falling in love with the game, the next step might have been turning out for a school team or signing up for the local junior football club.
It’s there, thanks to the people who take the time to run teams for the love of the game, that skills develop and dreams begin.
Yet – despite being the heartbeat of the sport for so long – across the country stories of struggle surround grassroots football week in, week out.
Whether it’s inadequate pitches, spiralling costs or just a lack of interest from young children who have so much competing for their attention, there are regularly tales of clubs going to the wall, leagues being wound up and people who have given thousands of hours to football walking away in frustration.
At The Fans’ Agency, we believe football at every level is important – and that more should be done to keep the sport alive and kicking in communities throughout the country, big and small. We want to play our part in making a difference.
As TFA develops, we will donate a percentage of our profit back into the sport, helping the clubs that need it most.
Soon, we will also launch our Game Changer Grants – with an initial pot of £17,000 to help play some part in ensuring grassroots clubs continue to thrive and survive.
We’ll also tell the tales of grassroots right here – what’s it like to run a club at that level, how many hours go into it and what are the challenges week by week?
We’ll be looking for you – the fans – to tell us about worthy recipients for these grants in your community and help us to highlight the issues.
Football should be for everyone. Children shouldn’t grow up thinking it’s only a game played on television.
Sign up to our newsletter for updates about TFA, including our Game Changer Grants, and news on how you can submit stories about your club for us to consider for future funding.
Grassroots football is suffering – there’s no doubt about it. Investment is down, facilities are in need of repair and some players are even turning to the comparative luxury of five-a-side. It can be hard to love playing, sometimes. There is investment, of course there is, but not nearly enough. For example, very little trickles through from the top – and grassroots football needs financial support. This isn’t about the next generation of superstars, it’s about the every-day superstars who love playing, who need to play. We want to give them what they need.
We will be awarding grants to support grassroots football across the country, paying for kits and equipment as well as larger projects like club-house and pitch improvements. We are committed to demonstrating our absolute belief in the importance of grassroots football.
Everything that counts starts here.