CEO Blog 17-18
This week features Cambridge City's new stadium, Dele Alli's rise and our inclusion advisory group
Planning breakthrough for Cambridge City
The story of the week for Cambridgeshire football came on Wednesday, when Cambridge City’s planning application for a new ground at Sawston was finally approved:
What a battle it has been for the club. With the first planning application being overturned on appeal, it has taken 4 years for the planning process to get to this stage. It is little wonder that Club President, Len Satchell, was quoted as saying that they almost gave up. This is now great news for the club and for local football, as the club’s nomadic existence following ground shares at Histon and now St Ives has proved a huge challenge both on and off the pitch.
The officials and volunteers have stayed positive. While the spectator numbers have dwindled somewhat, with the journey to St Ives putting many off, it is now hoped that the new home in Sawston will bring back many City fans and attract a new generation of followers.
The proposed development will be much more than a home ground for Cambridge City FC. The club’s youth sections are growing, and are already very successful, for example the Women’s & Girls’ section won the FA Community Club Award for 2017. The addition of a 3G pitch at Sawston will provide a further boost, and also provide opportunities to benefit other clubs as well as schools and community groups in the area.
We all hope that the Secretary of State will approve the planning application to make the development a reality by the spring of 2019.
Is Dele Alli the ultimate model for youth development?
Cambridge City’s former home, Milton Road, was also in the news this week as it was at that venue 5 years ago where Spurs’ Dele Alli made his professional debut:
This rise from the first round of The FA Cup to conquering European giants Real Madrid is the stuff of dreams. It shows that we do have talented English players that can make it through to the very top. We also know that there is a crop of very talented young English players right the way through the age groups
What needs to happen is that the journey Dele Alli has taken needs to be fully understood so that it can be replicated for as many of our tournament winning England age group players as possible. Careful consideration needs to be given to the timing of any loan moves from the top 5 clubs, how long should they go for, and where to go, with more players now looking at Germany as a destination to learn their trade.
It is encouraging to see David Unsworth at Everton give opportunities to the young players he has brought through the system there, and also at national level with England this week giving senior selections to Tammy Abraham, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Joe Gomez.
What these young players and their champions in key managerial positions all need is time, but as we know this is possibly the most limited resource in professional football in this country.
Creating an inclusive game
Football needs to reflect not just the modern game but also today’s society. We are working hard in Cambridgeshire to make this a reality, with around 20 new independent members now involved in helping us deliver our work.
We also need to involve more people from diverse areas of our community, and as a result we’re actively seeking new members for our Inclusion Advisory Group:
If you think you can help, we’d love to hear from you.
Until next time