Until many of us can be big enough to accept that in the interest of the greater good the game must come before self interest, we will all continue to hold back progress.
For what it’s worth, I think that there is direction in Football not too different from the nations education road map. We all know that in education we start off in kindergarten then prep and then primary followed by secondary school then on to tertiary education.
In football we have the grassroots leading onto Junior, youth and senior football followed by State and National selection and/or professional clubs.
Players are, or at least should be grouped in such a manner that they are always challenged at training and in games, as this is how players continue to develop and fulfil their potential. In other words become the very best that they can be. Players will then naturally find their place in amongst the variety of levels available in the game.
Players will develop at their own rate and when playing for club teams those that show obvious talent will be identified and earmarked for representative teams be that their clubs senior team or other forms of representative squads.
One of the main problems I observe at many clubs is that in an effort not to upset players who do not get selected in elite teams at the club there are those who want to “Create” more than one elite team in each age group.
The fact is there can only be ONE team made up of the best players. Sure you can have a “B” team etc, but let’s not kid ourselves there will always be The Best Team and those that do not make it just have to deal with it. This is no different to those who do not get the necessary marks in secondary school to go to university. That’s life!
The next stage is when players are selected to represent the State and even the nation or are offered professional contracts with clubs. Not every player that plays the game will reach this stage so let’s start toughening kids up and teach them that being successful takes hard work, application and dedication and players must earn their spots.
All of the above of course is a broad view of things so let’s dig a little deeper.
If we are genuinely seeking the very best players to represent us at World Cup Tournaments we must be spreading our net far and wide and ensuring that it is ALL about talent not cost.
How do we do that?
Clubs do not run themselves and members have to carry the burden of operating costs. Clubs need assistance from government and sponsors otherwise costs will spiral and players simply will not afford the cost of playing.
As members of a football club we too are often contributing to our own downfall.
How is that? Just ask yourself the following:
- Do you support the States “Rep” teams (A-League team).
- 2. Do you go out to A League games?
- Do you buy your clubs merchandise be it A-League or your local club?
- Can you direct more of your entertainment budget to your own sport?
Statewide competitions (NPL/QPL) are a great concept and if each State can replicate the A-League concept it would be fantastic. Once again the cost prevents this. So what is the solution?
In Brisbane the cost of running clubs is becoming very expensive and Committees struggle to balance the books as they strive to keep the cost of playing football affordable. Closing down clubs can never become an option.
The fact is that players with ambition will always want to go to where the best coaches and best facilities are and where they can test themselves playing in the best competitions. Clubs are burdened with the responsibility of continually improving facilities and maintaining grounds and this costs money.
As the Technical Director of the Hawks I am a firm believer in the development of junior and youth players and the aim is that those same players go on to represent the Senior Men’s and Women’s teams at the club.
We all must accept that good planning and sound financial management comes with tough decisions and it is those charged with making those tough decisions that is the making of a good club. There are no short cuts!
Establishing football clubs takes time. Instant success costs money and often clubs bite off more than they can chew to the detriment of young players and indeed their own clubs future.
We all must accept our position in the scheme of things then strive to better it. Not every club is in the A League but soon every club can aspire to reach that level through good club management and sound financial planning.
The Hawks have big ambitions. If we are to fulfil those ambitions we must gain community support; have a very good junior base; invest in junior development and do not rely solely on sponsors for financial support. Football at this level is a business and requires disciplined and committed management. Our business model is being drawn up to reflect this.
I urge all members to offer solutions to address any perceived problems that they may identify at the club and most importantly understand that Its not what the club can do for you. Its what you can do for the club