Tuesday 10 july 2 10 /07 /Jul 17:09



I now have over 50 responses to the offer of financial support that I made recently, all of them from clubs and coaches who seem to really understand what it means to nurture talent.


Sadly I cannot help each and every team or club that has asked to be considered, but I will be doing my level best to get out to everyone and see you all do your thing, to see young people encouraged to enjoy their football.


As it stands nobody has ‘failed in a bid’ for funding, my offer was never meant to be like that and to be honest I would shudder at the thought of any club feeling they had in any way ‘failed’.


My offer of up to £5,000 for each of the next 5 years for a club/team still stands but I am also putting pressure on people and businesses that I know to get involved which may mean there is additional support made available to more clubs.


I will be replying to each email this week with further information and to start arranging for visits to each of those organisations that have been in touch.




Andy M.

By @therealfbloke - Posted in: Youth Football
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Saturday 30 june 6 30 /06 /Jun 16:56

I recently made an offer to support a team with the right ethos financially as well as with training where needed.


I have been surprised as to how few emails I have received with fewer than 50 people sending in requests for support. I honestly expected far more than that to be interested!


Maybe people simply don’t believe what I have offered, perhaps they don’t think they deserve support?


Whatever the reasons for the smallish number of responses the offer is not closed, it’s not something I will decide on at a whim as I am sure everyone who has responded appreciates.


I hope to get out to see every club that has shown an interest and I am not limiting this to supporting a club in England either.


What is clear so far from the emails and tweets that I have read through is that we have some brilliant teams, coaches and other adults involved in youth footy. Alas that isn’t always the case but we are getting there.


I am also now in contact with some other businesses that are looking at making other help available, great news I am sure you will agree. So the idea of helping one youth football team might even knock on to discounts and free equipment being made available to all youth footy teams.


So please pass on my blog and twitter details as well as the email address kidsfirst@yet2be.co.uk for the offer of support as we are only in the first week here and as the saying goes - ‘the more the merrier’.

By @therealfbloke - Posted in: Youth Football
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Thursday 28 june 4 28 /06 /Jun 14:39

When my sons decided that they wanted to join a football team a few years back I signed them up to their local team.


Over the last 3 or so years I have often been shocked with how kids, some as young as 6 or 7 years old, are treated.


For every good coach there is one who seems to be nothing better than a bully.


For evert decent set of parents there seems to be a group who scream and shout at their own kids, as well as everyone else’s.


It seems to me that football is at times the last place that kids are allowed to be treated badly.


It was no surprise that statistics told me that more young people disengage with the sport they love than stick with it. 


It should not surprise anyone that young people dont want to be screamed at for making mistakes or forced to play on pitches that are poorly maintained, in all weathers.


Of course for each horror story there are examples of teams that have well maintained facilities and forward thinking coaches who care more for their kids than they do for results, which is as it should be.


I have seen brilliant coaches motivate kids and inspire even the hard to reach and it is those coaches we need to learn from.


Since my first involvement I have slowly but surely become more engaged in the whole youth football debate, even meeting with the people tasked by the F.A. to promote the new, modern methodologies and values that will bring youth football into the 21st century.


I fully and wholeheartedly support what the FA are doing in England with youth football, it needs to be embraced.


But I am now at a point where I feel I need to do more.


So I have decided that in the next few months I will invest some of my own money into a team or club that promotes and supports what the FA voted for http://www.thefa.com/my-football/player/youth-football/youth-development-review 


The investment will be simple, up to £5,000 a year for 5 years to support a club in the development of young people who want to play football.


I am looking for a club that promotes diversity, inclusivity, enjoyment and puts the kids at the centre of everything.


I need to make it clear however that I don’t care too much about trophies.


The mark of a well run and properly focussed youth football team is the retention of young people. 


If you run a team or club that wins things but doesn’t have enough kids left at age 13 to form one team you are not going to get my financial support.


If you run a team that never turns away a kid and has a policy of inclusion that means boys and girls or all abilities (and disabilities) are welcome then I would love to hear from you.


As well as money will come help for coaches and club staff to develop their own skills through training and visits from other coaches to share good practice.


So if you run a team/club or know someone who would like to know more about what I am offering get them to email me kidsfirst@yet2be.co.uk


By @therealfbloke - Posted in: Youth Football
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Wednesday 30 may 3 30 /05 /May 10:45

We all use external (extrinsic) motivators to get kids to do things. 


“If you do your homework you can have half an hour on you Xbox”


“Tidy your room and we will go to beach this weekend.”


As a temporary ‘fix’ external motivators are fine but the problem is that people, especially young people, quickly see them as the reason for doing things.


So when Bradley’s dad Eddie proudly announced his new way of motivating his son at the start of the season I knew that it would be trouble.


Bradley is a talented kid who is constantly harangued by his dad during game time.


His dad shouts such pearls of wisdom as “Run Bradley, RUUUUN” or the ever helpful “Shoooot!!” - a top level footballing brain at work right there I am sure you will agree?


Well Eddie’s masterplan for the season just gone was to pay Bradley £1 for every goal, £5 for a hatrick and £10 for four or more goals in a game.


In the season just gone Bradley rarely passed but shot, a lot.


But he scored fewer goals in his second season than he did in his first.


His team mates (including my son) began treating him as a problem to work around rather than the talented player he actually is.


Because six of his players were not passing the ball to, or indeed receiving the ball from Bradley, Alan, (the coach/manager) tried other players instead of Bradley and the team as a whole played better.


So now Bradley was getting less game time and was even more frustrated because he couldn’t ‘earn’ the money he as expecting to from his Sunday mornings.


Maybe Eddie sholud think long and hard about how he motivates his son or better still Eddie should get out of the way and let his son be motivated by the game he loves playing?


Adn there is always the option of a paper round if he needs the money that badly?

By @therealfbloke - Posted in: Youth Football
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Wednesday 25 april 3 25 /04 /Apr 12:30

I asked the question “Can a kid be too motivated?” on Twitter recently and the general consensus was that no, it’s impossible to be ‘too motivated’.


But I think that a player can go too far and a coach can create an environment where players are not in control of their actions.


I have seen coaches screaming at players to ‘get stuck in’ and shortly after they foul, and have on occasion hurt an opponent. Are those kids peaking and momentarily too motivated? I think they are.


You also have coaches who take kids as young as seven or eight and turn them into emotional firecrackers who burn themselves out within a few minutes on the pitch, they are  surely ‘too motivated’. 


Let’s also remember that in terms of kids sport the athletes are not yet emotionally mature so it can be, and often, is a roller-coaster of emotions with peaks and troughs and yet some coaches are creating even taller peaks and deeper troughs.


This cannot be good for anyone and we, the coaches need to understand how to maintain a sensible level of motivation, we need to be the brake as well as the accelerator but too many forget about being the brake. Or worse they see no need for a brake!


Michael Owen recently talked about his career and how, even after all the successes he has had, he feels as if he was robbed of much more. He was talking about the decision to continue playing when he was advised to rest by his manager when he was at Liverpool.


In playing on he showed that he was motivated to succeed and that he wanted it badly.


But in playing on he tore a hamstring, an injury that he never fully recovered from and the source of his regret.


So was he ‘too motivated’? Of course he was, but he should also have been managed better. His coach and the medical staff should have acted as that brake and explained that he would get more in the long term out of less in the immediate.


And so it is with kids, they want to run and run but sometimes they need to be calmed and given a breather with the coach acting as a brake on that natural enthusiasm.


So let’s not forget that as coaches we get more in the long term by asking less of our kids now.

By @therealfbloke - Posted in: Youth Football
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