August is normally a time of excitement and anticipation ahead of the new season but for Aylesbury’s local grass roots league, there isn’t quite the same enthusiasm this time around.
Firstly, the Aylesbury Summer League played its first mini-season which saw seven 11-a-side teams play 50 minute games over seven weeks. The aim was to grow interest in local football, especially in larger sided games and to keep some sides going as often they fall apart in the close season.
After massive initial interest, only two brand new teams participated – the other five were mainly four ADL sides and one Sunday side in Bucks FC who took home the trophy last week.
The main season is due to start but, sadly, there will be no SLN Aylesbury Sunday Combination which has had to fold after 43 years.
Despite the endless effort of the league’s secretary who has contacted local footballers young and old, close by and in neighbouring towns with 8,000 leaflets delivered, only one side wished to start and put forward their paperwork.
A lack of competitiveness was identified as the key reason for clubs not wanting to continue as many did not wish to pay to play and then get well beaten week after week.
Only two teams will continue from last season: Aylesbury Flooring (Chesham Sunday League) and Two Touch (Leighton Sunday League).
The good news is that the Aylesbury and District League Saturday League will continue.
Still run by a large dedicated committee, 39 teams– as of the last committee meeting – have signed up, although that is down from the 58 sides which took part three years ago, and instead of five divisions, this season there will be just three.
Despite local football suffering, there are some positives in that there are still plenty who are willing and hungry to help clubs and players play the game at local amateur level.
From elder football statesmen and women, referees and even the local county association who have employed younger representatives, help is available. What is needed is the keenness of sporting footballers both male and female to rekindle the love for the sport.
Assistance is waiting to be given from general basic tips to financial assistance. Got a few mates and want to play most weeks? Go and see for yourselves. See http://www.adl-football.co.uk/ for more information.