SPORTS COLUMN: Football fatigue is damaging other sports

Sports opinion
Sports opinion
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Champions League final on May 26th, FA Community Shield on August 11th. A 40-week football season with 11 weeks off, and that’s not counting summer tours, pre-season friendlies and the summer transfer soap opera.

If you’re a kid, playing grass roots football, there’s also the summer festival season.

Assuming a child hasn’t got some over-bearing ‘football dad’, living out his own lost glory days, through every kick their son or daughter takes; as they grow up, most kids will still be working out what sort of things they like to do with their spare time.

If, that is, they get the chance to have a go at stuff.

This is where the culture of football in Britain, doesn’t help.

From club under 5s, through primary school teams to the local village cubs children are indoctrinated to commit, win and to embark on season-long league and cup campaigns.

Have a week off to play rugby, or miss training because they want to try out horse riding and they’re letting their team down, and their friends and their club.

All too often, people who run junior football teams fancy themselves the next Jose Mourinho.

They attach adult ideas about competition and the game onto kids, who without this programming, might be able to enjoy football, develop their skills and who knows, maybe, even have a go at a few other sports along the way.

How many kids, who could have been good cricketers, tennis players or runners, never take up that sport, because they become obsessed with football, as all that’s worth playing?

One look at the Champions League final showed what a great sport football is. Skill, passion, drama.

The culture of football in Britain doesn’t do the sport justice, though.

Despite our national obsession, England can’t hang with the big boys for long at World Cups or Euro Championships.

Our club sides are full of foreign talent, so too our academies. So where do all these kids who in schools, clubs and on playing fields, play football, football and only football, end up?

It’s the Ashes this summer. When the first Test gets under way in July, how many potential England cricketers will be playing in their village fete’s football tournament and obsessing over who Manchester City or Chelsea will sign, for next season...

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l Crispin Andrews is an Aylesbury-based writer and journalist.

He writes for the Cricketer, Four Four Two, Inside Cricket, Readers Digest, Flipside and Engineering and Technology Magazine.

He has played cricket locally for 25 years, including stints at Aylesbury Town, Tring Park, Dinton & Buckingham Town.