So, the scene is set, the team couldn't be in better shape after preseason training and friendlies in faraway locations. The tactics have been scrutinized and perfected down to the finest detail. The groundsmen has examined, and trimmed every last blade of grass. The weather -beaming. The boots -pristine. There is no more time left, we are on the verge, the unbearable anticipation is almost over.....
You would be given for thinking that the above was my fantasy of the beginning of the Premier League Season, but its actually the beginning of the 11 a side football season, if slightly exaggerated, that I want to bring to the forefront.
On a day when Richard Scudamore was promoting the Premier League as the global brand it has now become, expected to break the £1 billion mark in annual revenues for the first time this season, it seemed prudent to talk about grass roots football for a moment.
The FA have launched a new "What ever your level" campaign to get people back in to 11 a side football. I wouldn't normally start harping on about a "cause" but when I learned of the dwindling numbers of people playing 11 a side on the weekends, even I was surprised.
Over the last few season the number of teams signing up for 11 a side football has dropped by 1200. In the last season alone, 400 teams folded. The problem has a snowball effect, when too many teams fold within a league, it can cause a negative impact on the remaining teams, which in turn could see the entire league fold.
Its not all doom and gloom though for the game we love. The FA's National Game Strategy will see an investment of £200m into grassroots football over the next 3 years. In the mean time hopefully the video by the FA below will be inspiration enough to keep you from hanging up your boots. What ever your level, find a team and get stuck in.... I know I will!