Darlaston Town FC

On Wednesday 27 November 2013 Valerie arranged a meeting at the House of Commons with Mr Neil Chambers, Chairman of Darlaston Town FC and Mr James MacDougall of the Football Association.

Valerie said:

“I arranged the meeting with Mr Chambers and the FA to discuss what help the FA can provide to secure the long-term future of the Club. We discussed a range of issues and difficulties that small clubs have and what the FA can do to support them. Mr Chambers outlined to the FA some of these difficulties, including finding appropriate grounds to establish a presence for the future.”

“Neil and I emphasised to the FA that the club is a vital community asset and is central to the local identity of Darlaston. Since the Club was founded 14 of its former players have made it to the top division of English football, showing the importance of local grass-roots football to the elite game. Following the discussions at the meeting, I will continue to talk to the FA about how it can provide support for the Club.”

“Speaking in September, the Chairman of the FA Greg Dyke pledged to support grassroots football in order to help develop the talent needed for the England teams of the future. I hope the FA will honour Mr Dyke’s pledge by providing support to the Club.”

“It was a disappointment when the Club was unable to start the 2013/14 season owing to financial difficulties. It was then that I wrote to the Chairman of the FA, Mr Greg Dyke and to the Football Foundation to ask what support is available. I am delighted that the Club has now almost raised the £5000 it needed to be able to play again next season through its own fundraising efforts.”

“Recent figures, published by Public Health England, revealed that in Walsall just 50% of adults manage the recommended 150 minutes a week of physical activity. One of the reasons for this is the difficulty in accessing local sports facilities. The success of local grass-roots football clubs is one way in which regular and enjoyable physical activity can be made more accessible to people locally. It is important that the Club survives as an inspiration to young people in Darlaston.”