FC Burbage was formed in the summer of 2011 by three coaches wanting to create an environment where children can have fun, get some exercise, make new friends and learn to love the nation’s national sport at a pace that’s right for them. Having spent three years coaching locally, from ‘Minis’ through to Under 7 level and having witnessed first-hand the ‘pushy’ and sometimes extreme lengths some parents would go to when they believed their child to be the next Wayne Rooney – Rupert Newman, Jason Lee and Phil Stockton decided to set up their own club in Burbage for Under 8’s (of which their sons are all a part). This was driven in part by the lack of provision for children’s football in the village and in part by the interest they received when they shared the idea not least from Burbage Parish Council who supported by providing an area for training and matches. ”
“There is rightly a lot of ‘red tape’ to contend with when you are trying to set up anything that provides a service for children, whether that be background checks, insurances, coaching qualifications through to funding for basic equipment and beyond so you’ve just got to have the courage of your convictions and be prepared for a few setbacks along the way when you set up a new club – but stick with it, it’s well worth it” says Phil Stockton one of three founding Dads.
….and stick with it they did. Having held their first training session on 20 August 2011 only five weeks after having the idea to set up their own club, the Dads reached their target number of children within two weeks and have a growing waiting list. Jason Lee insists “it is a nice problem to have and who knows what the set up may look like in a few years time, but for now we’ll concentrate on doing a good job for the children who have signed up and take it from there”.
The Under 8’s will have two sides this season and will concentrate on playing friendlies against other local clubs before looking to join a league next season. Rupert Newman the third founding Dad points out that ” just because the club places an emphasis on fun doesn’t mean that when it comes to matches we’re not competitive, however winning at all costs is not the primary motivation, if we do, great, if not it’s no big deal. In children’s football it tends to be the parents who remember the result longer than the children and if we are to ever reach the dizzy heights of winning major championships at international level in this country we have to create an environment where kids can experiment and learn without fear of constant criticism and interference. That starts with everyone at grass roots level taking responsibility for their piece of the jigsaw and for us that’s FC Burbage”.
Football is best played with a smile, at any age but especially when discovering the game. At FC Burbage we strive to provide a good starting point for young footballers to fall in love with football. To develop essential footballing skills and above all to have fun.
In the summer of 2012, the club launched FC Burbage Minis – for children in school years Reception and Year 1. This decision was easy said Rupert, “We’ve established a system and have stability from the original group of players. It is important that we can provide the same enjoyable and safe experience to a new crop of aspiring footballers”. Jason then added that the now under 9s will be the leading age group, setting an example for the younger players and I share the same vision as with Rupert and Phil that our journey does not end here. The Minis of today will become the U7s of tomorrow and so the club will blossom”.