THE decline in weekend parks football is once again in the spotlight.
Already this summer we have seen both the Worcester and District League and Kidderminster League fold their Saturday divisions through lack of numbers.
Now, as reported in yesterday’s Worcester News, five teams have dropped out of the Worcester Sunday competition on the eve of the season.
Although there are still 65 involved, the overall figure is down by six on last term following a raft of comings and goings at the end of the 2013-14 campaign.
Despite the best efforts of league secretary Tim Phillips and his committee, it remains as hard as ever to keep hold of teams.
The reasons are well documented.
According to various club officials I have spoken to, some players can’t afford to fork out weekly subs to cover pitch hire, while a growing demand on social and family life hits commitment levels.
But there are two reasons that stand out — one is bemusing and the other infuriating.
Let’s get the infuriating one out of the way first. I am continually told it is increasingly difficult to find volunteers to run clubs.
As boring and mundane as such administration tasks can be, they are vital and if nobody volunteers, the club folds.
There are plenty of examples of clubs that have been run by the same one-man-band for years, sometimes running into decades.
These people are the lifeblood without who clubs could not function but nobody, it seems, is prepared to help shoulder the burden. Those who won’t will often be the first to moan when a club folds.
As for the bemusing reason, it’s this. There is a growing trend for players to shy away from testing themselves against better players.
I have heard it said that players have turned their backs on a team following promotion in favour of staying at a lower level — best described as their comfort zone.
Which is plainly baffling. What’s the point of playing competitive football if you don’t want to better yourself? Is this a new trend or something that has always been? I don’t know.
But, with such attitudes, the league will continue to decline.