Graham Elkins, the chairman of the Surrey Youth League, caused a media storm recently when he claimed that some of the parents at youth football matches in the UK are behaving in such a violent and threatening manner that ‘Somebody could be killed’.
What a ridiculous statement. At a kids football match? Killed? Tragically, the ridiculousness is not in the statement itself, but in the fact that this has a very real chance of happening.
It has already happened in the Netherlands, when U17 footballers kicked a linesman to death. Insane.
Last year, The Standard in London reported that a man who should have been old enough to know better beat up an U9’s football coach because the coach dared to ask the man not to tell his son to hurt other players – The coach, a volunteer, who was trying to help young players improve was left with two black eyes and a broken nose.
You hear justifying statements such as ‘its a mans game’ or ‘you have to toughen them up’ or ‘its a passionate game’ but these are flimsy excuses for parents who, in the words of Ray Winston in the FA’s respect video, “need to take a long, hard look at themselves” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezZ2ZRfSsLY
Its a sad state of affairs, but something drastic has to be done because as in so many areas of life, the minority are ruining it for the majority. Its the kids who are losing out, and that is a crying shame.
Just this weekend I heard a little 8 year old boy say, through sobbing tears, “My dad keeps shouting at me and I don’t like it”. Something has to stop, now.
Some parents seem to be living in the old days where a football manager would shout and swear and scare players into a performance, but at the top level now that manager is rare. Ferguson and his ‘hairdryer’ are a thing of the past in the main. Players have the power now and my understanding is that managers have to be more ‘carrot’ and less ‘stick’ in todays elite world.
So why do we subject our babies to this treatment, if England internationals are not expected to put up with it?
I have my own ideas on what should happen to stamp out this horrendous behavior, but I am very keen to hear from others what they would do to stop it if they were at the FA now?
Please take time to comment.
Here is an article in the Telegraph, that quotes Me Elkins of the Surrey FA: