This weekend a Staffordshire footballing institution will be recognised as it celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. This institution was started by as a way for a kids of all age groups and abilities to be able to play the game every week by a parent who was annoyed his son was unable to play at the local park because bigger kids were hogging the pitch. That father was a man called Dougie Brown and the idea he would create was Ladsandads.
Outside of Staffordshire I suspect not many people have heard of either Dougie Brown or Ladsandads but I am sure they will have heard of some of the players who spent their Sunday mornings, players like Mark Chamberlin, Steve Bould, Adrian Heath, Garth Crookes, Lee Chapman and Robbie Earle, even Robbie Williams played for his local team before someone convinced him he could sing. It was, and still is, an integral part of thousands of families Sunday mornings.
I was one of those kids for whom Ladsandads was an important part of my childhood and I would like to congratulate Ladsandads for making 50 years and I hope it will still be around in another 50. With the amount of money flowing into the game it is likely the next Staffordshire footballing superstar will have already been spotted and wrapped in cotton wool even before they can register for their local team but that was the never the point of Dougie Brown’s vision.
It was all about kids playing football for the joy of playing football and I for one hope, long may that continue.