A Saturday afternoon at the football was once a staple family outing for thousands of people up and down the country but, in recent times, the image of the ‘beautiful game’ has been tarnished by on and off-the-field incidents and many people wouldn’t even think about taking the children along to a game. Whether these incidents, widely reported by the press, TV and specialist football websites like bluesq, involve players, managers or supporters, they do nothing to make parents want to pay good money for tickets for the family, but there are alternatives to the over-hyped Premier League.
The benefits of watching sport can be huge for children. First it shows the importance of dedication and hard work in achieving success and will encourage children to work tirelessly to achieve their goals. Watching sport can also demonstrate the importance of teamwork and show that success is reliant upon co-operation and working hard for those around you. Inevitably in sport there must be a winner and a loser, watching sport from an early age can also help to show children how to be a good winner, as well as being a gracious loser.
Given that, despite these benefits, we have ruled out going along to watch Premier League football, what are the alternatives? I would like to put forward two ideas; the first of these is non-league football. Non-league football is played at a local level, by semi-professional players who earn no more than you or I, but the standard is surprisingly high. With players often having come down from the top divisions, or seeking to attract attention from big clubs there is often a good level of skill on display and the players are just as determined to succeed as those at the top level. Entry prices are far more reasonable than higher up the divisions and the grounds are much smaller so you and your family can get much closer to the action.
Toni Duggan in action for the England Women’s Team- Image by: jamesboyes
Another alternative to the Premier League is women’s football. The standard of women’s football in the UK has improved rapidly in recent seasons with a number of the men’s Premier League teams providing coaching, sponsorship and support for their linked women’s teams. Like non-league football the players earn nothing like the mega-bucks seen at the top of the game, and entrance to Women’s Super League games is extremely reasonable, with an average season ticket costing just over £30.
Recent headlines have damaged football’s reputation but it is important to remember that there is far more to the sport than the top divisions. Non-league and Women’s football are just two ways in which families can still enjoy the ‘beautiful’ game without the worry of top level prices or the bad example set high profile stars.