When you hear the fixtures Chelsea vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs Wolves, you think of highly charged derby matches at Stamford Bridge and Villa Park. What many people don't know, is these fixtures also take place in the public parks of the greater Glasgow area.
In the West region there are hundreds of grassroots clubs, many with teams at various age groups. Within the region, is now commonplace to find a boys club named after a professional English club. Not to be left out, the Central Region also has a few teams named after outfits from down south.
The West region has a couple of Arsenal boys club sides (pictured right, the Gunners prepare to kick off) - there is also Fulham Boys Club, Blackburn Rovers and a Chelsea Boys Club. In the Central Region again there is another Blackburn Rovers, quite a few teams wearing the Wolves BC banner and Aston Villa BC..
A lot of people will be wondering why the clubs have chosen to have their name after an English club and that was the first question I asked Steven Clarkson, manager of Chelsea BC U14s (pictured below left, celebrating cup glory last season), who replied: "We had chosen our name because years ago in Blantyre there used to be a Chelsea BC ran by a man who is sadly not with us today. That's when the teams name was retired and we decided to pick it up and start the Chelsea boys club up again."
Roger Campbell, coach of Aston Villa BC Under 13's, responded to the same question: "It's a strange one, I had always wondered this as well but found out that it was Albert Brown the old Manager of the Aston Villa BC who passed away recently who came up with the idea of the name. He said that he didn't want any divide between Old Firm fans so that's why he stayed well clear of the Celtic or Rangers name and was also a fan of the colors and huge admirer of Villas great history of winning the European Cup back in 1982."
You can imagine that with so much publicity for the English game and so much young kids watching and supporting English teams that if they seen there favorite team having a boys club local to them they would jump at the opportunity to join rather than joining another team. Especially with so many of their well known heroes playing for English teams, it may encourage them to join a team like Arsenal or Chelsea. However, Steve Clarkson disagreed. He said: "Most of the team Chelsea BC have now have been with the club from an early age. The name wasn't a big factor."
Campbell also disagreed saying that although he agrees that lots of young boys these days are into the English game, it doesn't make it any easier to get players. He commented: "We have a great reputation in our catchment area of Bothwell, even though there is plenty of teams for young players to join. Aston Villa would certainly be one of the first considered and not just because of the name but because they are well run and have lots of age groups."