Glyn Smith’s Kicking Grass: Commitment – is it a thing of the past?

Football is not just about turning up to play 90 minutes a week for your team. At local level it should be about commitment to your club as well. That’s how it used to be but things are changing, as Glyn Smith points out.

When we sign for a club as a player or agree to join a club’s committee, we are making a commitment or ‘promise’ to that club’s ideals, goals and objectives to do our best to help achieve them.
Some forward-thinking clubs may already have a written constitution and rules, which set out these goals. I would urge those clubs who don’t have one to look at developing one as it helps to focus the future progress of the club.
In the past, the majority of club members were at least vaguely aware of this commitment but sadly I just don’t see much evidence that this is the case today.
I’m not just referring to the game at our level. You can see evidence of this ‘lack of commitment’ even in the Premiership or sometimes at International level.
So just what does this, or should this, personal promise mean.
If you commit to a club you must join in the activities on and off the field, whether it be training, fundraising or social events.
As well as giving your all on a Saturday/Sunday, it is equally important (and in my day equally enjoyable) that everyone makes an effort, according to their abilities, to contribute towards other activities of the club.
It is the club, not just a team, you are making that commitment to.
Why, when I look around, does the evidence generally point to a decreasing level of commitment?
Going back to my early days in the game, the late ’60s and throughout the ’70s, it should be remembered that pubs didn’t open until about 5pm so unless (very rare) the opposition had its own bar, most teams faced a ‘dry hour’ after the game.
Well in Keighley that wasn’t the case. It was straight on to Keighley Lifts Club, which was the only place open at that time of day.
The trouble was everyone went there and it was standing room only.
I won’t go into my memories of that time and place but perhaps someone might care to.
After that we hit the town pubs including the infamous Black Horse before finishing at the ‘Speakeasy’ or ‘Knickers’ or whatever it was called at the time.
The point is even by this time at least half of your club (as opposed to team) mates plus others from different clubs were still with you. This may have led to the odd fight now and again but it was all part of the fun.
When my playing days came to an end in the early/mid ’80s, I joined the committee at Haworth FC.
In those days it was against club rules for any player to be a member of the committee.
Up until the sad demise of the club it had various HQs in Haworth – The Fleece (twice), The Royal Oak, The Community Centre and The Old Hall.
Wherever we went after the game though, almost all the home side went for a drink (or several) to be joined by most of the away team.
There were card games and tom-foolery but generally a good time was had by all.
Sadly this just doesn’t seem to happen to the same extent today.
Certain groups exclude themselves for reason of finance, religion and drink-driving but there is that other group – the ‘don’t give a toss-ers’.
These are the guys who just want to turn up on match-day, play their game then bugger off home to their X-Boxes or whatever.
And this group seems to be growing.
I said in my article on Training, last week, that I felt it was the joints that held the framework of a club together.
Well Commitment is the glue that cements these joints and without it , sooner or later the whole thing will come apart.

  • What do you think? Has commitment gone from the modern game? What are your recollections of great after-match venues or of playing for or against Haworth? Add your comments below or email Keighley Kicks editorial@keighleykicks.co.uk

2 thoughts on “Glyn Smith’s Kicking Grass: Commitment – is it a thing of the past?

  1. What a cracking piece. This is something that I have been saying for quite a few years now. Everyone wants to just turn up, play and disappear again. Even getting players back to have a drink at the pub who supports us is a problem. Years ago we would have volunteers all over the place, at least 3 per team, but not anymore. Now you are lucky if you can get someone to help you with the nets, nevermind fundraising, taking the kits to the launderette or even filling the waterbottles. Apathy sadly has taken over. Thanks a lot “bugger off” brigade!

  2. Thanks for your remarks Kath (Long Lee?). Sadly the problems are widespread within our game these days and I can only see yet more clubs folding as a result. I could name three clubs who are experiencing these difficulties right now – but I won’t lol. It’s difficult to know how to reverse this trend – I’ve tried some suggestions in the past but either no-one will take me seriously or no-one wants to make the effort. I have even come across the attitude that it is better to let the club fold rather than do something radical to prevent it!

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