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How to Protect Grassroots Football in 2024

Away from the glitz and glamour at the top, grassroots football is the lifeblood of the game, providing a platform for players of all ages and abilities to enjoy the sport and develop their skills at any age.

What is ‘Grassroots Football’?

In its simplest terms, it’s the foundation of the UK footballing pyramid.

You have professional football, non-league football and then grassroots – a developmental setup aimed to shift worthy players through the upper echelons of the game’s domestic system.

Without it, it’s impossible to picture a world where the tip of the tree is able to flourish and enjoy so much success. Despite that, with the funnel of money struggling to trickle down as it should (and as governors would lead you to believe), it’s finding it very tough going to sustain itself nowadays.

In 2024, it’s more important than ever to support grassroots football and ensure its continued growth and vitality. As well as remedying its lack of funding and declining participation rates. Especially as a fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through this article, we’ll explore various ways in which individuals, communities, and organisations can come together to support grassroots football and nurture the next generation of players.

And have a pretty decent few hours out the house supporting your local area!

Volunteer Your Time

One of the most valuable ways to support grassroots football is by volunteering your time and skills.

Whether it’s coaching a youth team, organizing events, or maintaining facilities, volunteers play a crucial role in keeping grassroots football thriving.

By giving back to your local community and sharing your love for the game, you can make a meaningful difference in the lives of young players and help them develop both on and off the pitch.

Selfishly, it’s not a bad thing to have on your CV as well – especially if you have ambitions of progressing into full-time roles higher up the pyramid.

Promote Inclusivity & Diversity

Grassroots football should be accessible to everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background. Well, really… all parts of football should be.

As supporters of the game, we must actively promote inclusivity and diversity within grassroots football and create welcoming environments where all players feel valued and supported.

This may involve advocating for equal opportunities, challenging stereotypes, and providing resources and support to underrepresented groups within the football community.

Something which could end up being far more impactful than you might expect. Especially for clubs the size of Dulwich Hamlet, who are such vocal advocates for inclusivity in football.

Invest in Facilities and Infrastructure

Access to quality facilities and infrastructure is essential for the growth and development of grassroots football – regardless of where you are in the UK system.

Unfortunately, many grassroots clubs and organizations struggle with inadequate facilities, ranging from poorly maintained pitches to lack of changing rooms and equipment.

By investing in facilities and infrastructure upgrades, whether through government funding, corporate sponsorship, or community initiatives, we can create safer, more enjoyable environments for players to train and compete.

Or if you’re a local billionaire – go and do some good with it!

Simply Showing Up!

As I’ve said, local clubs and organisations are the backbone of grassroots football.

By supporting these clubs through attendance at matches, sponsorship deals, or donations, you can help ensure their sustainability and success.

I’ve also mentioned in this article here, about how important it can be to show up and lend your time to clubs like these, being loud and proud about what you’re doing can have a catalysing effect on the people around you. And that compound interest could be vital to preserving grassroots football.

Advocate for Funding and Policy Changes

Grassroots football relies heavily on government funding and policy support to address key challenges such as access to facilities, coaching, and participation rates.

As advocates for the game, we can use our voices to push for increased funding and policy changes that prioritize grassroots football and address the needs of local communities.

This may involve engaging with local policymakers, joining advocacy groups, or participating in grassroots campaigns to raise awareness and mobilize support for the cause.


The game cannot and will not survive without grassroots football.

And there are few things in this world that can visibly present a return on your investment (be it time, effort, money or all of them together) than this sector of the game.

Sure, you can continue going to your topflight teams and pay £15 for a burger and a few chips, and they’ll pretend to care more about you than the number you represent on a spreadsheet. But the reality is, these clubs are family organisations that crave your help to survive, and for whom you can be a proper advocate and benefit to in the long run.

When’s the last time you visited your local grassroots football team?