I used to be a pretty good (well, good anyway) footballer, but this little tale is only indirectly related to my previous. Through my connections with the small rural infant/junior school my youngest two boys attended, I became chairman of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA – designed to raise money through extra-curricular activities to buy much needed supplies and equipment for the school).
During one such one such fund-raising evening in the summer I noticed quite a few of the children were playing football in the car park of the local community centre. I had a word with the head teacher about its obvious popularity and was told, despite that, there were no male teachers to supervise such activities on a regular basis during school hours. No sooner said than done!
Hereford United existed then!
They'd never had a male teacher at their school before and, although they had a good-size playing field, had never really used it for anything other than summer picnics. And so? And so I took every single Wednesday afternoon off work and took them all down to their local playing field and coached them and let them play the most beautiful game in the world of course! And, to top it all off, I got in touch with the local professional club (Hereford United) and was allowed to take them all to watch the occasional league match (for the princely entrance fee of £1 each – paid for by yours truly of course).
Boys and girls both played the beautiful game
Oh, and just to get the record straight, this was not a boys-only activity: in fact in my last season as school games master, I awarded the 'Player of the Season' to a girl – because she truly deserved it (and all the boys agreed). Many years later I really enjoy meeting many of my erstwhile (now grown up) protégés and listening to their happy memories of those wonderful times together.