Tuesday, 19 June 2007
While walking little dog on the playing fields early one morning, it struck me that when the football season has finished, and during the nano second before it starts again, there is a quiet time of inactivity on the sward.
We used to have a cricket team here, but the square was deemed too dangerous, and all matches were stopped. Very occasionally there are a few kids playing in an organised junior games session, but little else happens in summer now.
Several years ago, when the square was usable, the football pitch was in regular use on one side, and there was also a big area of spare ground where nobody played anything. I was Chairman of our village Rugby Club then; we barely had enough players for one team, but as is usual in clubs like this, the spirit was great, and we enjoyed the camaraderie and the occasional win. We decided to try and get our home matches played there.
No chance said the Parish council; (although our club sponsored the village fete several times, and spread the money round the local charities). We asked them if we could use other open fields in the village. Ooooh no, they said, we may want them one day; (still taking the cash). We tried for planning permission on a private field next to a lively pub; (we paid for that). Application voted down by the same council; (inappropriate use, could turn into a sports stadium one day)!
This self-interested, small-minded, inward-looking bunch of sad individuals effectively caused the club to wither and eventually disband, and stunted the growth of another national sport in the village. And so there are the groups of fat, idle kids wandering around the playing field now, leaving the usual collection of sicky drink bottles and crisp packets. What a legacy!
So the current Government betrayal of sports organisations and facilities began long ago, when MPs were just narrow-minded Parish Councillors.