LAST week, Bolton, Bury and District Football League chairman Warren Barlow talked about grassroots sport and how it needs to be looked at and improved. Here, he continues to share his views in the second part of his column.


A lot has been said and no doubt will continue to be said over the coming weeks and months about facilities and I am glad the focus is on the game.

For me, though, the talking needs to stop and we need to start acting.

Councillors, MPs, county FAs and all sports providers need to get together and thrash out a development plan, involving leagues and clubs, so we can get the very best of what we have and seek improvement in areas which need help.

We need to stop working in silos or trying to score points against each other.

And I think anyone who really cares about the game – players, referees, coaches, groundsmen, volunteers and personal development coaches – would jump at the chance.

Every club needs to map out what it has and, aspirationally, what it wants over the next five years and let’s work to get these clubs reaching these shared goals.

Planning for sports development needs streamlining so our clubs don’t waste years and thousands of pounds in legal costs to build what is obviously needed.

We need an overarching body which has key decision-makers from each of the main bodies to make dreams a reality for these clubs.

I say this on the back of trend-bucking growth in all areas of the game in Bolton, with unprecedented numbers joining our league and playing the game.

It certainly isn’t all doom and gloom and I am actually more positive about the future than I have been in the last 10 years I have been involved.

Let’s drive this positivity and show others how it can be done!