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Grassroots Football…… The Respect Or Lack Thereof????


Keepitonthedeck.com recently received an email from an anonymous person in England regarding the lack of respect volunteers and the likes have at football clubs these days. Do we share the same opinion in Irish Grassroots Football?

As a person that ran and managed a club along with five others up to recently must say I have encountered all of these problems in the five years we were set up. It can be fierce disheartening for people that keep things ticking over so my advice to all players is “have and show as much respect as possible because ye do not understand the hours and commitment it takes to deliver for ye week in week out, some times 20 hours a week before match day, all that time away from our families, rallying around fundraising, risk of ill health maintaining pitches in fierce weather to just name a few, it is in fact true that football at this level could die if players (and it is not every player) don’t come forward and put themselves to task and indeed show respect for what’s done for them because as some have already realised…… you’ll never know what you had until it is gone”

Here is the email sent to Keepitonthedeck.com

To whom it may concern,

This is my thirty first year involved in the game at grassroots level and it will be my last.  What happened to the game we all loved? who are these people taking up the gauntlet and driving good honest people who truly love this sport away from it.  Ask any coaches on your page have they encountered any of these problems and I would be shocked if any say no.

1.  The players who think their talent makes them exempt from paying subs fees, who do these players think they are and where do they think the referees fee will come from? do they think the jerseys and gear will wash itself?.  Five pound is not much to ask for from lads who spend five or six times that at the pub afterwards.

2. Work is hard, really hard and tiring.  Sometimes I travel straight from work to training, I set up the session and wait by the clubhouse.  Some nights nine players show, other nights five maybe six.  I understand that players also work but the respect of texting can’t be hard.  These players expect you to be there when it suits them but look out their window on a cold rainy night and decide it’s not for them without even giving reason.  What is wrong with showing respect, why do players lie to skip training sessions when they agreed at the start of the season that they wanted to win things? sitting on a sofa watching champions league football won’t earn success and text messages will not break the bank!

  3. Most clubs now days have decent facilities, we played away to ********* last weekend.  A great club with superb facilities.  We didn’t have to set up nets or mark pitches, both of the teams had it all laid out on a plate for them.  As I passed the opposition before our warm up I heard a comment from their number 7 “that grass is a tad high Marko”….A tad high? I thought to myself, if you played in my day son that grass would be like wembley, you really don’t know how good you have it, spoilt.  Sticking up nets and taking them back down again was and is just one of many tasks some players take onboard at other clubs. 

4. The managing players, they exist in most clubs from what I can see.  Players who will find a fault with every selection and expect to play based on his reputation.  The first people to turn to teammates and spread bad vibes about the management after defeats.  Back in the day players could accept blame and be held accountable, you’ll rarely find such players now days!

This rant could go on with so many more examples.  Groundsmen, committees, referees and so on and on, so many people taken for granted by spoilt brats who think they are something. How do coaches now days continue to give up free time away from family for these people, people who don’t even care anymore on majority?  I’m not saying all players and clubs have people like this but in my experience respect is something we see less and less of now days.  Respect is being replaced by expect!.  We all love this game, most coaches will tell you that.  But if you ever find yourself coaching or managing a team where your commitment is greater than those with the pleasure of stepping on that pitch come the weekend, that’s when it’s time to call it a day. 

Without coaches, referee’s, clubs committee’s and all the good people who keep the game alive then this game dies, respect those people and help them out any chance you get, gratitude and a show of respect goes a long way.

About James Kirwan


  1. Have to agree over 40 years in the game and i have steped down

  2. 25 years service did all of that
    , so true what you said and getting
    the worst gave up a few years ago now play golf on my on terms

    • A few managers out there would want to respect players also..i,ve seen in my time managers starting players in games when the same players have being out half the night drinking..and others left on the bench that are home in bed by 11..

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