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To be in or out

There were once a few friends or maybe we should call them acquaintances who all liked to play football. They all had their own teams and played with slightly different rules.  A few years back some of them realised that it was more fun to play each other as it got a bit boring and they didn’t really develop their game on their own so they invited some other teams to organise a common place where they all could play together.

This of course meant that they had to play according to the same rules and that took a while to sort out. It also meant that some didn’t have everything required to follow the new rules so everyone in the group had to chip in to help those teams out with pitches, kits or whatever was missing. In all the teams felt that yes it cost a little but we get more out of it as we now can improve our game by looking at them to see what they do better, we can sell or buy stuff to/from the other teams that they/we need to get better.  As a group we get better and improve the game for everyone.

After a few years other teams around the area saw that this seems to a pretty decent idea and wanted to join. More different rules and strange habits to incorporate into the game but why not. The first group of teams had realised that if we don’t keep growing at some point we will stop  improving as we all know the  other teams to well.  Again this cost a bit of money as suddenly there were more ideas to take into consideration and if we all wanted to improve we needed to play with the same rules. However, they came to the conclusion that some rules the teams could keep when they played among themselves as those was things they were used to and they didn’t really make a difference.

The membership fees increased and people in of team started to grumble a bit saying we did well on our own. However, they didn’t realise that the new pitch in their little village actually came from the membership money as well as the new better footballs,  that the fact that you no longer could tackle someone so they broke their leg actually was a result of having to change the laws to agree with everyone else.  They suddenly had more than 2 makes of football boots to chose from and the kits came in all sorts of colours.  They did like the new additions to the club house menu  as well…..  All this because there were more teams involved and they could share information and ideas with each other. Yes it came with a cost but it also came with lots of benefits. After all they had been allowed to keep the rule of playing with short sleeves until Christmas though they had to let some other stuff go.  But the important bit was that because they were in the organisation  they had their say! The other teams could not make  new rules without listening to them.

A few more years went by and more teams joined without much fuss. However, suddenly there were quite a few teams who joined that in some aspects weren’t on the same level as the others.  Most of the teams thought this was fine, by helping each other we will all improve, the game will improve with more, better players and this will make us even stronger against other similar organisations or big teams out in the world.

Again there were costs to get these new teams ready to take part in the game on the same conditions as everyone else. Some got there quicker, some took longer and places in our area were still getting new football pitches but people didn’t notice so much because the voices complaining about other teams getting pitches were louder than the ones saying look we got a new pitch as well.  Why is it that the voices complaining about what they didn’t get are always louder than the ones saying “look what we got”?

Some of the people who were complaining thought it would be better to leave the common organisation. We always did well on our own before and can still do it. We also have a good friend with many teams and  though he lives quite far away we can play with him. It will be cheaper that way.

The good friend, though still a good friend, says well, we rather prefer playing with many teams in one go. It’s much easier, we know exactly what rules to play to as they are all in one organisation. It makes it cheaper for us, we don’t need to change things around all the time. We can still play you but it will be to our rules and you will have to pay for any extra costs. You can’t really say much about that as we are big and you now actually are quite little…

The other teams in the organisation say more or less the same. We don’t want you to leave. You have been with us for a long time and we have learnt a lot from you. You have been part of shaping us to what we are and though we all, like you, have had to compromise at times at least we have had our say. However, if you leave you won’t have a say any longer and if you want to play with us it will be to our rules and you paying for any extra costs. You were a big team once but now there are many big teams and as an organisation we are much bigger than you.

We want all the teams in the organisation to improve and get better as we know this will improve all of us, help us compete against the other big players out there. For this to happen there is cost involved but in the long run we will all benefit, especially the poorer teams. The organisation says to the grumbling team ” you only seem interested in winning not improving as that would come with a cost.   You rather stand outside with no influence over the game than share the cost for all to improve.” There will be a time when you stand outside, you no longer win, you have no influence on the rules of the game and the costs will become higher and higher to keep up. But it’s your choice……..


That time of the year

When all the 6 week rugby fans appear.

Yes they do annoy me. But the ones who annoy me the most are the ones who say “we love rugby but we have no region to support so we support Wales”. The second bit is so much rubbish!!  I can understand the ones who only support their national team as that will be the case in any sport.  There will always and should be a bit of extra interest in the national team . Also who doesn’t watch odd sports during the Olympics just because their country is doing well.

Let me tell you a story

I grew up in north Sweden in a football loving family but since 2006 I live in Swansea. I grew up playing football myself, watching my brother play, hanging around the teams my dad coached.  I watched the local top team, division 3 at the time, and the senior men’s team in my club.  But I still had a favourite team in the Swedish top division because I enjoyed watching their style of football. I was 14 the first time I quickly passed through that town (which is 1 1/2 hours away by plane) on my way to play a football cup in Denmark. On top of that I had a favourite team in the English top league and still have, Liverpool FC. I was 41 the first and so far only time I have made it to Anfield.  I wish I could go more but every Saturday morning I coach my son’s U10s team and every Sunday morning I coach my daughter’s u14s team so it’s a bit tricky.   I have been to the odd Swans game as I love football but I only have so much time (and money)

When we moved to Wales and Swansea both my husband and I started to follow rugby. We started with Wales as the 6Nations are easily accessible. However as the love for the sport grew we wanted more.  We started to go and watch the region our area belonged to which was Ospreys. At the start we knew some of the players from Wales but some we had no idea who they were. I chatted to Justin Marshall and his wife at the school quite a few times before someone told me who they were. In the beginning, we used to bring a blanket for our youngest so he could go to sleep during the evening games.  However, quite quickly when we started to follow the Ospreys by being season ticket holders we got to know  who all the players were. We enjoy watching the young players coming through as well as watching the established players.  We enjoy it because we love the game of rugby and  by following the region we can  follow and support rugby on a day to day basis.

We also follow Wales, go to the odd game as they are too expensive and because of Roger Lewis I decided not pay for a ticket during last few years (managed to win 5 free tickets over the years).  But just watching Wales is very much a part time affair and if you like us love rugby it’s not enough.  From my background you should realise that I have much respect for grassroots and I do understand to a certain extent people who only watch their local club. I say to a certain extent because after all, for me, if you love the game I think there naturally is an interest to watch it played at a higher level. A season ticket with Ospreys is VERY affordable so price can’t be an issue compared to watch Wales.

Now to the important bit, we do this without being born in Wales. Our families are not from here, we are not in any way connected with the region before we moved here because of my husband’s job.  Some people are born into supporting a club/region but it is NOT a prerequisite!!! It can be a choice. If you decide that you don’t want to follow a region it’s your choice, it doesn’t have anything to do with “there  being no region for you”.

I don’t know how many Swans supporters who I have spoken to who has a second team in Premier League as they grew up when Swans played in a lower league and then chose a Premier League team to support. I have a favourite team in the Top 14 etc..

The regions will not succeed without the grassroots and Wales will not succeed without the regions. So if you are professing your love for rugby and say you support Wales but there is no region to  support you are not really a supporter of the Welsh National team either.  (And yes I do watch my local rugby team every now and then.)




DAVID PICKERING is one of the most powerful men in Welsh rugby.

As chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union, the former international plays a key role in the running of an enterprise with an annual turnover of £61 million pounds.

But the performance of many of the other businesses he’s been involved with has been disastrous.

A raft of companies have gone bust — costing the public purse more than £4 million in unpaid taxes.

He also has personal county court judgments against him for unpaid debts.

One creditor has even taken a charge against his Cardiff home.

But Pickering has a new game plan.

He’s embarked on a career as a developer in West Wales with a reported half-share in a major industrial estate.

But aRebecca Television investigation reveals that all is not what it seems…


ONE OF David Pickering’s oldest companies is about to go under.


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Parent and coach

Last week a dilemma came up. I was asked if I would be willing to help out as an assistant coach with an U10 boys team next year. My son is the same age but plays for another club so that would mean moving him as well. He is a very decent football player so most local clubs would be very happy to have him.  With three children and one car we have to be at the same place on a Saturday morning though.  What to do?

As I have an UEFA B-licence I have invested a lot of my time to become a coach, I have done this as I really enjoy it.  I was helping out somewhat with my son’s current team but they were not really interested in my input as a coach, I was just another adult at the training sessions as the group is very big.   The way they decided to do things was not the way I would have done at all so I decided to leave as more parents had come forward to help anyway. Now there is another team interested in what I can offer.  (Both teams have coaches with leader’s awards but there are no C-certificates or B-licence coaches involved.)

I have decided to let my son do a few training sessions with the new team (he knows a few players there from rugby) and then let him decide what he wants to do, at the moment he wants  to stay with his old team. I do find it frustrating standing on the sideline not being able to say anything when I see things in training or in a match that could easily be coached and improved upon. I am a good parent though and keep quiet 🙂  However, maybe it’s good for my son to be coached by someone else (I already coach him once  a week in an independent academy). I also coach three teams already so better for me as well?   

There is also the issue that one team has a working club organisation behind it (his current team) while the other has a few teams but only in a few age groups.

Oh well, enjoyment for the little one is the main thing really so I will leave it to him. He will be playing rugby this weekend even though I have been told that there will be scouts at his football game from Swansea City. At the moment he wants to be a rugby player and in his blue scrum cap and number 7 on his back he’s doing really well. His favourite player is Justin Tipuric whom he tries to learn from and I am happy with that!