Grassroots should get an FA Birthday party invite
It has been interesting watching the initial celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the FA this week. In amongst all the glitz and glam of the launch in front of the TV Cameras with a star studded guest list to boot, not to mention the recorded messages from the great and the good. This year will see a series of events celebrating the anniversary including prestige friendlies, commemorative games, events and so on.
There just seems to be one element not as heralded as the rest, such as the creation of the 13 original rules courtesy of Ebenezer Cobb Morley’s immaculately written minutes from 1863, creation of the first major cup competition, assisting in the foundation of the likes of UEFA and FIFA, Wembley etc. Where are the events saluting the individual football associations and the 400k+ Volunteers every week that make grass roots football happen? What about the numerous non-league clubs that are affiliated to the FA and who’s players are all registered with the 52 various county associations.
Back on 7th November 2012 a commemorative game was set up to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the FA Cup between the Royal Engineers and Wanderers FC played at the first FA Cup Final venue, Lords Cricket Ground. Now, The Engineers beat The Wanderers 7-1 on the night but as a spectacle and a sense of occasion it caught the imagination of many and undoubtably caused many a google search to find out what happened to the clubs over the course of time.
150 Years is a great reason to celebrate and bring all the big guns, if I’m not working by covering one of the games I’ll go along as a paying punter such is the appeal. Maybe in the list of prestige events that are coming up though a tribute to the grass roots and the people involved could be instigated.
Happy birthday FA, but don’t forget to invite everyone to the party.