Article by Sam Jenkinson and photos courtesy of Zoe Birkbeck
As the opportunity to hear public opinions on the Victoria Park bid nears it’s final days, Broomhill Sports Club insist that a successful reinstating of the sports pitches would boost their youth development success, and offer a “fun… and positive experience” for kids.
The club, currently representing over 750 players in the west end area, have proposed the building of a state of the art astro turf pitch and training facilities, which looks to ensure a guaranteed pitch for the young children involved with the club to use.
Back in 2009, BSC first welcomed the beginning of Saturday morning football sessions for children in Primary 1 to 3. Consisting of 4 versus 4 small sided games and primarily organised by parents and volunteers, these sessions took place rain or shine on the blaise pitches at Victoria Park before moving onto the nearby grass area.
Almost six years later, that hard work and dedication has shown through BSC’s 2001 team, who recently stormed into the Scottish Cup semi-finals with a 5-0 win over Barrhead. No fewer than 11 of the squad began their journey at the 4v4s, with another six moving on from the club to play at pro-youth level.
Parent-volunteer Peter Winckles, who helped organise the very first sessions, felt starting from an early age has played a huge part in the success of the squad. “We began doing seven a side training for half an hour for the older ones, to help with the transition from 4s to 7s… You can see the benefits the early training had now that the boys are transitioning into 11 a side.”
“You see the advanced touch and awareness in the ones that have trained from five years old. That’s something you can only pick up from playing in matches.”
Winkles, whose son is still involved with the club, also pointed out the benefits of the experience outside of football.
“They’ve all had fun, it’s a positive experience for them, and there’s also the social aspect. Through the 4v4s, they were able to meet kids from other schools and many of them formed relationships that are still there now."
BSC coach Peter Vezza, whose son Geo is a member of the successful 2001 squad, could only praise the small sided game training. “Starting football early with the 4v4s has had a very big bearing on the success of the team this season. It’s where the boys got their interest in football, turning up to play at Victoria Park, that was the start of their development!”
Vezza, and everyone involved in the 4v4s and 2001 side, are looking to back the Victoria Park bid in the hopes to ensure the best possible opportunity for Glasgow’s next sport-loving generation.
“The opportunity to train and play on a proper high tech surface rather than a bumpy blaise park gives young players the best chance to improve their technical ability,” commented Winckles.
“Every year there is a massive influx of kids who want to run around, be active, and play sport, and the 4v4s provides that.”
Callum Hughes, a member of the 2001 side and recently selected for the 2001 SYFA development squad, agrees that participation in 4v4s will be incredibly important for the future BSC players. “It (4v4s) was brilliant because it gave you an excuse to just go out and play games against your friends and enjoy yourself. I’ll always remember nutmegging James… I’m sure he won’t forget that either!”
Hughes was also quick to credit his early participation with teaching him vital skills that have helped as he’s continued to grow as a player.
“It taught me a lot. From a young age, I learned to be calm on the ball and during any decision-making… I think I still benefit from that now.”
The proposal, which closes on the 13th of March, is available to read at the following link - http://www.broomhillsportsclub.org.uk/VP-Proposal-Sept-2014.pdf
You can have your say by submitting a response here – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VictoriaParkBlaesPitches