Amateur football is a big part of many people’s lives in London. The camaraderie that comes with playing in a successful team, the banter each Saturday and the benefits of physical activity, all make playing amateur football something that is loved by many. If you are in one of the amateur leagues in Ilford you will no douby have come up against a wide range of teams and the standard of football has dramatically improved over the last few years.
Ilford has one of the most competitive amateur leagues in the London area. Most teams in the Redbridge area play in the amateur football combination league. This league operates a pyramid structure divided into North and South and each area has 8 leagues, with each league holding 10 teams. The association ensures that there is always promotion and relegation from the league and the top division is made up of the best teams from each of the feeder leagues.
If you are thinking about entering a team into the Northern division, your team will have to start at the bottom of the pyramid and you will be working your way up from division 10 of the league. There are also a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to enter a new team in the league.
- Ensure you have enough players to fulfill your match obligations: The number one reason why teams fold is that they are unable to get enough players together on a match day. Starting games without the full contingent of players, or having to forfeit games prior to kick off is a significant reason why teams fold. Ensure you have enough players available before creating your team.
- Collect The Match Fee in Advance: All leagues in Ilford require payment for both the facilities and the referee. If you want your club to last longer than a few weeks, collecting payment for the season ahead should be paramount. The money will be used to pay all ref fees and the rent for the pitch. This is an important aspect of running any grassroots organisation and without the contribution of the players, it’s very tough for a team to complete a full season.
- Find a Sponsor: A club sponsor can also help raise the profile of the club and also provide a much needed injection of capital. Similar to how Vanarama sponsor the national league, a club sponsor is a much needed resource and with it you can keep your club afloat and pay for things such as training sessions, gear and kit for club members.
- Build a Sense of Community: A sense of community is important as any amateur football team is built on a sense of belonging, togetherness and the shared ownership. Players will often stay at a club for a long period of time and part of this longevity is due to the warm, friendly nature of many amateur clubs in Ilford.