I can remember quite clearly my early football experiences – cubs football team (above, lol!), school team and a one off random visit to the ‘Junior Blues’ at Maine Road. The muddy puddles on the school field, pegging down the goals and hanging up the nets. The monochrome kits with collars and rolled-up magazines down your socks for shin pads. Okay, the last one is an exaggeration but maybe somebody, somewhere…?
I’m not one who generally harks back to the good old (bad old) days but with age, I find myself more and more thinking that ‘they’ve never had it so good.’ I’m not knocking progress – it’s how our species has evolved and of course, we always want better for our kids than we had for ourselves. But I wonder sometimes if my children really do understand how different things are now and how lucky they are to have what they have?
Training facilities and pitches in the area where I live are quite impressive – Astley Sports Village offers a basic, floodlit, all-weather facility with plenty of space for all age groups to train together on the same evening. At Denton and Reddish there are impressive facilities, combining 3G pitches and traditional grass playing fields. The Tameside stadium (Curzon Ashton) is a worthy venue for cup finals. And at Stockport Sports Village an incredible amount of 3G pitches provide a high quality surface with games rarely called off.
All a far cry from my own experiences of bumpy, grass pitches and carrying cold, metal goalposts around! Then again, on the other hand I think many children today miss out on some of the things we had. For example, being able to have a kick about on the streets, that are now packed with parked cars. Spending hours in the park getting on and falling out without an adult in sight. We were also fortunate not to have the the lure of the Playstation and Xbox. Online didn’t exist! Although the Atari games console and ZX Spectrum computer had some attractions, they rarely kept us off the streets or out of the park, except perhaps on the rainiest of rainy days.
I’ve just had a sudden realisation that my dad probably had exactly the same thoughts in the 70s and 80’s: ‘Kits!? Real goalposts!? – they’ve never had it so good.’ All of which leaves perhaps only one thing to say to our kids: Be happy with what you’ve got, make the most of it and enjoy your football!
This Tiger Tale was written by Tiger’s parent, John Taylor. His eldest son plays for Dukinfield Tigers U11s and youngest son has just started training with the U8’s.
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