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Former England striker joins Sian Massey-Ellis MBE to unveil University's football hub

Darius Vassell returned to the his Midlands roots yesterday as he opened a state-of-the-art football pitch at Newman University in Birmingham. The former England international, who won the hearts of many of the Midlands faithful during his time with Aston Villa FC, was joined by University alumnus Sian Massey-Ellis MBE to unveil the refurbished all-weather pitch.    

The Villa hero, who made his way through the club's youth ranks before spending seven years in first team, was impressed by the prospects for local youngsters now that the new pitch had been installed: 

"During my career, I was able to take advantage of some of the best football facilities in the country. As an ex-player, I can appreciate how important a state-of-the-art facility such as this one can be to developing the skills needed in football. Every player has to start somewhere. Where better than on a playing surface like this?"


The new surface was funded by a £315,986 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. It is set to greatly increase local participation, with as many as seven grassroots teams using the facility on a weekly basis. "The local youngsters now have access to a facility that will encourage them to get active and enjoy themselves. This can only help to inspire a love of the game!" explained a delighted Vassell.     

Darius was joined on the day by top Assistant Referee Sian-Massey Ellis MBE, who was returning to officiate a ceremonial game between the university staff and students. 

To watch our video of the event, click on the headline image, or to see all the photo from the day, click either of the two smaller images.
The 2017/18 football season has begun with a renewed drive by The FA and the Football Foundation to promote good behaviour in the grassroots game.

The Respect campaign aims to ensure that football, both on and off the pitch, continues to be an enjoyable, inclusive and positive experience For All. 

Paul Thorogood, Foundation Chief Executive explained, “We want players of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to enjoy the best possible quality of experience – from the surface they play on, to the friendliness they encounter on and off the pitch. The Respect campaign is a key part of making that happen.”

Grassroots clubs, leagues and County FAs have been given free digital assets to spread the positive message across social media. These promote the scheme’s core values of fairness, integrity, inclusion, initiative and leadership. Clubs can also benefit from the Respect equipment scheme, which allows them to access specialised equipment, such as pitch-side spectator barriers and attention-boards, branded with the scheme’s distinct call-to-action messaging, at significantly discounted prices.  


Further positive messaging is being piloted through the new ‘Respect Journey’ signage pack being installed at several grassroots football facilities across the country. The Foundation and The FA will seek to roll this exciting new offering out to more facilities over the coming seasons.

Finally, to celebrate many of the country’s unsung Respect heroes, The FA Respect Awards 2017 were announced in August. Each of the 11 winners, selected from over 1,000 nominations, have had their superb work showcased in individual winners’ videos. These can be viewed here.
The FA and Football Foundation have just launched a £300,000 fund, aimed at developing the sport of Futsal in England.

Free ‘Futsal Starter Packs' have been made available to organisations from across grassroots football and education, and applications can be made through the Football Foundation website

Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced five-a-side game. It is normally played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey sized goals and a size four ball with a reduced bounce and is played across the world. The nature of the game places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure.

County FAs, youth football leagues, youth Futsal leagues, secondary schools, colleges and sixth forms are all being encouraged to apply for a free ‘Futsal Starter Pack’, with specific prioritisation being given to applications in the following categories:

•    Female Futsal (12-18-years)
•    Youth Futsal (14-years and over)
•    Youth football leagues (Under-14-Under-18)
•    Association of Colleges (AoC) members with facilities offering community usage
•    English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) and Independent School’s FA (ISFA) member schools with facilities offering community usage

The ‘Futsal Starter Pack’ is designed to adapt existing sports halls, playgrounds and other hard surface facilities to make them suitable for the innovative smaller-sided game. The packs include Futsal-specific goals and balls. FA accredited coaching and refereeing courses are also on offer. 

Applications for the starter packs are now open and close on Friday 6 October. To apply, please visit: http://www.footballfoundation.org.uk/funding-schemes/futsal/
We are delighted to announce that we have been named as one of the finalists for the 2017 Football Business Awards.

Our nomination, in the category for “Best Corporate Social Responsibility Scheme”, relates to our continued delivery of grassroots football facilities across the country, as funded by the Premier League, The FA and DCMS, via Sport England.

The awards, currently in its sixth year and held at Tobacco Dock on 2nd November, is the leading ceremony celebrating the business of football. The shortlist comprises of entries from the likes of clubs, agencies, sponsors and technology providers, showcasing all companies that have had a significant impact on the beautiful game. With attention so often focused on the pitch, the awards give the industry’s off-pitch stars the recognition they deserve.

For more information, head to www.footballbusinessawards.com.  
 
FuchsVideo
Earlier this month saw Foundation President, Lord Pendry, open a brand-new all-weather pitch at Kirkby Leisure Centre in Merseyside. The opening marked over £1 million of Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund investment into Liverpool’s grassroots football scene since June of this year, news that pleased Sport Minister Tracey Crouch

The new facility at Kirkby is expected to increase local football participation by 927%, thanks largely to the work of Everton in the Community (EitC). The community arm of the Premier League club have agreed an extensive programme of weekly provision at the new pitch, consisting of sessions of all types from Premier League Kicks to Girls' Development. There will also be Everton FC Holiday Camps run at the new hub during school holidays throughout the year.

If you are interested in attending any of these sessions at the new site, visit the Everton in the Community website for more details. 
FuchsVideo
We sat down with the Chief Executive of the League Managers Association, Richard Bevan, to ask about his time at the LMA, the world of football management and the potential crossovers that management has with business:

Q: What was your first impression of the LMA when you took the helm in 2008?
A: I joined the League Managers Association from another sports members' organisation, the Professional Cricketers Association, and there were many similarities which immediately stood out. One of my first impressions of the LMA was how strong the affinity between our members and the association was.  Since joining in 2008, the LMA has always had its members’ best interests at the heart of everything it does.  Our constantly evolving and improving service offering builds the strong personal relationships and affinity with our members that makes the LMA one of the best coaching associations in the world today.
 
Q: What most surprised you about the world of football management?

A: The volatility within the industry is well documented and is particularly concerning at times, however what came as the biggest surprise to me when I joined the LMA was the relentless commitment of the managers to the game and their profession at all levels,  including the long hours, distance travelled and huge personal sacrifice they go through for their jobs.  The role of a football manager is 24/7, 365 days a year. I spoke with a manager recently, following the summer break, who said he hadn't really had any chance during the close season to stop thinking about the job, his club and his players, the phone didn’t stop ringing,  but that he was forcing himself to learn to make the most of the time he had with his family.  So, for the LMA, it is important that we adapt to the constant pressure managers are under by making ourselves available to them 24 hours a day.
 
Q: Which LMA achievement are you most of proud in that time?

A: We are very proud of the support we provide to our members through our health and wellbeing programmes and to the commitment to their personal development delivered through the LMA Institute of Leadership and High Performance's programmes. However some of the most important work the LMA does happens behind closed doors and away from the public eye.  It is the occasions in which we have provided vital support to managers and their families,  and in some extreme cases, saving lives, which gives us most pride.
 
Q: What do you think are the top five attributes that make a great football manager?

A: Gerard Houllier once said that “having a clear vision is the single attribute that separates the best from the rest” and when you look back on the great managers of our time, I think that their vision and focus certainly had a huge impact on their teams' successes. Great managers are also incredibly resilient;  they have an insatiable appetite for learning and personal development;  they are passionate about the game, and improving the fortunes of their clubs and players; and they are dedicated their profession.
 
Q: Since retiring, Sir Alex Ferguson has delivered many talks to management students. How can the skills and experience of football manager in the modern game benefit business?
A: Once you remove the technical coaching aspect from a football manager’s role, you will find at its core a highly complex leadership role with many similarities to that of anyone running an organisation or business, employing and leading teams towards a shared objective.  That could be a global business turning over many millions or a small start-up team setting out of their new journey.   The ability to lead others is such an important aspect of modern management and the unique insights a football manager can provide into a leader’s responsibilities such as man-management, communication, building a culture,  are all eminently transferable across many different industries and professions.
 
Q: The FF is lucky to count a number of football managers amongst our Ambassadors. How is our mission of getting more people playing in high quality facilities important to coaches and managers?

A: The Football Foundation’s impact on the game in this country is huge. When managers and coaches, of all levels, have the opportunity to work with players in first class facilities, they are able to develop better technical, physical and tactically-aware footballers. Furthermore, as the game grows, these facilities provide the foundations for a greater number of coaches to gain experience, qualifications and progress along the coaching pathway.
 
Q: What are your aspirations for the LMA looking towards the new season and beyond?

A: The LMA members have identified that enhanced personal development opportunities and continued investment in health and wellbeing are their two biggest priorities for the future. Therefore, the LMA, with the support of the Premier League, will continue to invest in and develop its programmes in both areas,  providing access to the very best experts and consultants ensuring that our members and all coaches across the professional game are prepared and supported, physically and mentally, to take on the challenges of modern football.
With Darius Vassell returning to the Midlands in this month's feature article, we take a look back at some of the best Foundation facility openings to feature a star returning to their old stomping ground: 
Firstly, two-time Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton swapped the velodrome for the football pitch in September of last year when she returned to her old school at Etonbury Academy to open a new community sports hub, aptly named the Pendleton Centre.  
Similarly, Michael Duberry returned to his secondary school at Enfield Grammar to open their new all-weather pitch earlier this year. The beaming smile on the face of the former Chelsea and Leeds defender throughout the day suggested that has was glad to be back. 
 
Back in 2011, Newcastle United legend and Premier League's all-time top scorer, Alan Shearer, rolled back the years to open a new football hub at his old club, Wallsend Boys. The club has proved a conveyor belt for professional talent, with Foundation Ambassador Peter Beardsley and Michael Carrick amongst the other talents to have played there.    
A man who may, one day, be coming for Shearer's Premier League goal-scoring record is Harry Kane. In March 2016, he returned to where it all started, at Peter May Sports Centre in East London, to unveil a new artificial pitch. David Beckham also features on the rather impressive list of alumni to have begun their careers at the Centre.
Finally, Foundation Ambassador Dion Dublin returned last year to his old East Midlands stomping ground to open a new community football site. The pitch became the home of Syston Town JFC, a team Dion fondly recalled having played against regularly in the early days of his career. 
Chinnor Parish Council were able to refurbish their sports pavilion thanks to a £290,761 grant from the Premier League and FA Facilities Fund and a £100,000 grant from the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund. A grant of £237,000 was also received from Sport England's Inspired Facilities Fund.

The outdated facility was overhauled to create office space for the Parish Council, four changing rooms, two officials' changing rooms and a function room with a kitchen and bar. The new-look site was officially unveiled in March of last year by Tony Hadley. You could say that Chinnor struck gold!     
Here are some jobs currently open for applications within the world of sport:
Lead Data Scientist – Liverpool FC 
Head of Communications – UK Anti-Doping (UKAD)
Product Manager (Web and Apps) – Formula 1
Marketing Planner – Chelsea FC
Non-Executive Director – UK Athletics
  • Imagine bringing the big guys up from the back for a corner, just for this to happen. A moment to forget for Max Kruse.
 
  • Most Sunday League warm-ups simply consist of wayward long-range attempts on goal. For Neymar and Gabriel Jesus, however, things are slightly different.
 
  • This reminds us what football is all about, as a Syrian commentator cannot control his emotions after his country's last minute equaliser to send them into a World Cup qualifying tie. What a moment!
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Top Corner e-newsletter - June 2017
 
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