2015 North West Norfolk League champions Lynn Napier on their way to a 2-1 win over Discovery Royals. Neither side started the following campaign, despite using 59 players between them over the course of the season.

Last week I had my say on the struggles of the area’s local men’s football scene.

It sparked a huge debate on social media so here’s just a snippet of the responses – sorry we couldn’t use them all or some of them in their entirety.

Over to you for a Readers’ Corner special!…

We asked…

What’s the biggest reason for the decline in standards and numbers in local men’s football? 

You said…

I think that the main blame lies with the Norfolk FA who watched as the old Lynn & District League was allowed to be absorbed into the North West Norfolk League, despite many clubs being outside that league’s catchment area.

The county FA should help and advise clubs, rather than try to be a money-raising venture for their development centre, which is taking money away from local clubs.

They are too keen on centralisation and power.

Nigel Link, vie email

I actually believe the county cup competitions don’t help.

Many teams play the season for a chance to win it. The clubs are set up to win a cup and not for fun – a group of mates having a laugh and a game.

Clubs built on a core of friends survive. When that core goes, the club goes too.

That’s what happened at Dersingham once the Englishs, etc, stopped playing.

Stevie Fisher, via email

Your Twitter comments

@groundhopper23: Lack of player enthusiasm/commitment is a big factor, but the FA/county FAs don’t help by promoting Futsal and midweek six-a-side stuff. FA is incentivised by Government to increase participation. It appears Futsal is one way of increasing numbers, making FA look good (for a change).

@normbygrave: It’s economic issues, a combination of a lack of money and having to work Saturdays.

@manamal21: There’s too many idiots who just want to fight and hurt someone.

@Jampa9: I love a physical game but some players are just thugs. We (Denver) have had five awful refs so far this season – for both teams. I’m fed up with all the preparation to be done for games for it to be undone with poor decisions.

‘Youth football has killed adult football. They start way too young. They have been playing 10 years before they start adult football and are bored. Secondly, local academies don’t help’

@Lordmilsom85: One thing that I can’t believe hasn’t been introduced is limiting the number of players that clubs can sign to something like 20. Many players follow the glory and just sign to be involved with the better clubs.

@PaulLough4: The top two teams in the North West Norfolk League from last season both have reserve teams but have 65 and 61 players signed on. It’s crazy!

@barber_karl: Can’t blame teams leaving local leagues to play in the Ang Com and therefore better facilities and better opposition.

@Brownbridge: Not sure you can pin it to one thing. A combination of commitment, cost and changing culture have a big impact. Lack of volunteers is also huge.

@BarryOsborn3: Almost all factories now do some sort of shift work, which forces weekend working. Also shops/supermarkets are opening all hours. There’s also the computer generation where youngsters would rather just stay indoors playing on games rather than actually getting off their backsides.

@andy2005: I used to play football every single day without fail after school round one of the lads. That wouldn’t happen now.

@FC_ParsonDrove: Players playing from the age of six. By the time they get to their late teens they have played over a decade. Do many stop or take breaks?

@1MattParkinson: Players’ commitment is the major factor.

@Kirky_28: Parks used to be full of people playing football in the evenings and at weekends even about eight years ago. Now they look empty.

@Ollyyy95: For me it’s 1) Player commitment, 2) Not enough youngsters coming through playing after u16s and 3) the cost of starting up/running

@delboy1987: I’ve set up Ingoldisthorpe Sunday team as I love the game but I have a different 14 or 11 each week and people not showing up.

@Malbs11: Good piece by Gavin Caney. Particularly enjoyed the ‘got work Monday shout’ as I’m pretty sure I said that to him a few times!

@JakeSeeks22: The lack of youth in the game is because of modern football. They’re more worried about ‘flashy’ coloured boots and skills, which Soccer Sixes is perfect for.

@philsouth: In the advent of 24/7 working to live, people can’t commit time like they used to. Referees are an easy scapegoat and I can’t see that changing but that’s not why people don’t participate.

@Cordy06: Read the article, very good Gav. It’s such a shame the way it’s going.

@turvey_wayne: Teenagers get fed up and if they’ve been in successful teams at a young age they feel they’ve been there and done that already.

@englishinger: Youth football has killed adult football. They start way too young. They have been playing 10 years before they start adult football and are bored. Secondly, local academies don’t help.

@RobertPalmer10: There’s too many night leagues during the week. People have lost interest by the weekend.
PS: golf is better.

@Pelicanshockey: Because there are better sports around?

@Koggah: Too many people concerned about losing time at work over injuries is a factor. People don’t have as much free time as well to run clubs well.

@RossNicholas2: Division sizes are surely a result rather than a cause of decline. Player commitment/behaviour/attitudes has to be the main issue.

LEAVE A REPLY