When Bharat Bhise HNA first came over to see me in the UK he wanted me to take him to some sporting events so that he could get a taste for how we do things here. The first thing that he noticed however was the significant lack of support which we give to our local sports teams. In the USA people turn out in bog numbers for little league teams, college teams and local teams, yet here in the UK we shun the little men in favor of the bigger teams. Bharat was absolutely right about this and he spoke to me at length about the importance of doing so, something which I know understand. If you are guilty of not supporting your local team, here is why you should.
They Need It
Local teams do not have thousands of people buying replica shirts or clothing, they do not have league money and they do not have huge gates which boost their takings. These clubs, be they rugby, cricket or soccer absolutely depend on the money which they take on match days, from food, drinks and admission to survive. These clubs need our support or they just won’t be around for long enough.
We have to avoid these clubs not being able to afford to continue, or else where will the youngsters learn their trade. Every footballer, rugby player and athlete has started at one of these locals clubs, and began to work their way up the ladder in their sport. If these clubs don’t exist then the youngsters will have fewer opportunities to get on.
Last year I ent to watch Gateshead play in front of 2,000 people, a far cry from the 50,000 which Newcastle pack into their stadium on a Saturday afternoon. The biggest difference here however was not the quality of the football or the noise of the stadium, but the passion which was on display. Most of those players will hang up their boots at the end of the day, and start getting themselves ready for work on Monday morning. The men and women playing for local clubs are doing so as a labor of love, not because they are making big bucks, but because they just want to play. When the money comes in, many players lose that edge, this is not so with local teams.
Sport is at the center of a community and through our support of smaller clubs we can help to bring the community together as one. Over the last couple of decades the spirit of community has been greatly lost and the consequences of this are very dangerous indeed. It may only be a small gesture but in attending games and events at your local team, you can play your part in helping to bring the community back together.
Why not give it a try this weekend? Get out and see your local team play.