Charity Partner Announcement!

Everyone here at ‘Climbing The Ladder’ is delighted to announce that we have teamed up with the charity “The C9 Foundation” as our new Charity Partner.

The charity’s main aim is to tackle mental health within grassroots football, something that we as a website felt we could help them achieve thanks to our main audience being people involved in grassroots.

All donations recieved are used to run matches and events, where they raise awareness, and encourage everyone to speak out when they are feeling low. C9 also host free to attend coaching nights, where they talk about Mental Health, the signs to look out for, and how you can help those you know.

C9 run two amateur football teams for if people need an “escape” or a social group to feel comfortable in. The foundation also run a Facebook page and their own blog where people can anonymously (should they choose) discuss how they feel.

Finally, founder Colin Crawford runs C9 clothing, a brand that is completely in aid of the foundation.

We would just like to thank everyone at C9 for all their hard work and we hope that we can help spread the great things these guys do! Links to all of the C9 Foundations pages will be below #ManUpSpeakOut

“If god had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he’d have put grass up there.”

A quote from one of the greatest football managers ever, Brian Clough.

Idea’s about how the game should be played come and go for example tiki-taka, similairly ‘fashionable’ formations do until they get found out, this is no different lower down the football pyramid where every manager wants to play a different way.

The stereotype of non-league is that its 22 blokes on a mud soaked ‘pitch’, flying into tackles at knee height and booting the ball as hard as they can in the general direction of the opposition’s goal, and don’t get me wrong in some cases the stereotypes are right, often tackles do go in that would need a whole episode of ‘Match of The Day’ to debate and often the pitches aren’t the best, whether its that its on a hill or the mud is knee deep. But sometimes, especially in the semi-professional non-league, teams will do this amazing thing where they keep the ball on the floor and pass it, something that some people seem to think doesn’t exist outside the Football League.

Its simple really, non-league footballers aren’t the most technically gifted in the world, they wouldn’t be playing non-league if they were. Its for this reason that you shouldn’t go to a non-league or Sunday morning game and expect to see perfect ‘Total Football’ or anybody knocking the ball about like they do in the Nike adverts.

(What an advert Joga Bonito was by the way!).

What you will see is 22 blokes, some possibly hungover or that have been roped in at the last minute, who love the ‘beautiful game’ that will give their all for their team, playing as well as they can and thats just one of the reasons why people love the non-league.

Not that it really matters how people play the game, if a team does play the long ball or how some people put it “hoofball”, if they enjoy it or if it works for them then why not? Hell Stoke City got to the Premier League and stayed there playing it. It may not be the most enjoyable thing to watch, but even on a sunday morning you enjoy it more when you win and the pub after is bouncing.

“They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I wasn’t on that particular job”.

The news that Paul Doswell has left his role as manager at Sutton United after 11 years in charge of the club got everyone here thinking, why do managers get more time in Non-League than they do in the Football League?

It’s the same high pressure business where results are all the matters, yet lower down the ladder the boss’s seem to recieve more time to get results out of their playing squads than those at the top of the game.

Perhaps then the reasons are financial, maybe its the cost of managers that we see in the top divisions that give them such a short shelf life. Maybe the only way to keep a job in the top echelons of the sport is immediate success, if this truly is the case then gone are the days where we will see managing dynasties such as Ferguson and Wenger.

Therefore you have too look further down the pyramid for such leagacies such as Jason Ainsley at Spennymoor Town and John Coventry at Havant and Waterlooville, managers who have been given time to develop a team to suit their footballing philosophies. Which has brought success to their clubs all you have to do is look at the progress Spennymoor have made since Ainsley took over, rising from The Northern Laague Division Two, through the leagues and into the National League North, where this season they have secured themselves a playoff spot.

Is it time that managers in the football league are given longer to get their squad and tactics right before they are given their p45 like they are in non-league? It’s understandable why they aren’t with so much at stake, but not everyone is a miracle worker.

Sin-Bins: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Many people, similar to when VAR was first rolled out, are sceptical of the new sin-bins that the FA are rolling out to all Non-League football across all of Step 5 and below next season.

The new rule was piloted in England across 31 different adult and youth leagues, something the FA were able to do as part of new Laws of the Game amendments from IFAB in 2017.

Some teams have stated that if implemented correctly and by a referee who understands the proper uses then it works very well to cut out dissent and addresses an issue that before the trial was a large issue, which I think in every level of the game is a problem that needs tackling.

The full results are published below:

  • 25/31 leagues showed an overall reduction in dissent
  • 38% reduction in dissent across all leagues
  • 72% of players wanted to continue with the scheme
  • 77% of managers and/or coaches wanted to continue with the scheme
  • 84% of referees wanted to continue with the scheme

Others however found it confusing, with some referees not knowing when to issue a normal yellow card as opposed to a “Sin Bin” Yellow, however this has been combatted by the FA revealing that the new scheme will be rolled out for dissent only.

It has also been revealed that training programmes are set to be rolled out by the County FA’s to teach referee’s and clubs the correct uses of the new ‘Sin-Bins’.

The main negative we can think of is that the Premier League and Football League aren’t implementing the new rule, therefore depending on what tier you play in, you are effectively playing a different game, which could make some cup competitions difficult.

We would love to know what you guys think on the issue.

Artificial Pitches in Non-League.

The vast majority of leagues outside of the Football League allow games to take place on artificial surfaces, however the danger comes if a club is too successful.

Artificial pitches are allowed as high up in the football pyramid as the Vanarama National League, they are also allowed to be used in the FA Cup, in the Football League however they must play on grass, a rule that has been debated since articifical pitches became a reality.

Admittedly most football league clubs don’t need the extra income of people using their pitch through the week and other clubs renting it out if they can’t for whatever reason use their own facilities. But what about clubs in the Non-League?

Most Non-League clubs are ran by volunteers, where budgets are tight and a successful season can be the difference between a good next few years or bad ones.

This is where the danger of being too successful comes in, currently there are three artificial pitches in the Vanarama National League, the top division of Non-League football, owned by Bromley, Maidstone United and Sutton United. Clubs that need the income that the ‘3G’ pitch provides as it can be used all week every week, if they get promoted again, they would be forced to rip up their main income provider and install a grass pitch a cost which Im sure they would all struggle with.

Currently under National League regulations, any club which wins promotion but does not install a grass surface to comply with EFL rules would subsequently be demoted to National League North or National League South, and could also be fined. Ridiculous really, but regulations all three sides play under.

So, an artificial pitch, worth it or not? It depends how ambitious your club is.