Developing Grassroots sports clubs

This month, I have decided to create a mini series of blog articles. The purpose of this mini series is to provoke thought and discussion for the reader.  Each blog will be very top line rather than an in-depth article.

I hope you are enjoying them.

Check out blog article one here

Blog article Two – Developing Grassroots sports clubs

Grassroots clubs (amateur clubs where players don’t get paid) is the corner stone of sport.

In football, grassroots clubs play an important role in their local communities by providing recreational sport for people of all ages.

But how can we develop and strengthen these clubs? 

The following gives a brief overview of the key areas to consider;

1. Volunteers – ensure you have knowledgeable volunteers at the club whose skills are aligned to the clubs needs ie financial, coaching, generating income etc.

2. Structure – ensure your club has a clear structure in place from the Board to Committees. Each committee should have clear roles and delegated levels of authority. In addition, the Board and Committee members must be active and not passive members.

3. Develop a club strategic or development plan – this should outline the mission, vision, values, brand, goals and objectives, giving the club a clear sense of direction to follow.

4. Ensure the club is well governed – from financial management to safeguarding to having a modern constitution in place.

5. Communication – put in place strong communication between members, players, coaches and supporters so that everyone is fully aware of what is happening each month in the club. This may include setting up WhatsApp groups, organising monthly meetings etc.

6. Coaching – make sure you have a strong coaching program in place across all the teams. This also includes regular training and mentoring for your coaches.

7. Community and stakeholder engagement. Make sure your club is fully embedded in the local community.  This includes building links with the local groups, schools and businesses on a regular basis.

8. Generate income – seek to generate income from a wide range of sources; from local sponsors to fundraising to food and beverage to members fees. 

Many people ask me, what are the key elements for running a successful club. For me, this is an easy question to answer. Recruiting great people (volunteers) while not overloading them with too much work (spreading the workload) is key to running a sports club.  It is vital that great people are brought on board with the right skills who can see the impact they are making in their local community via the club.

There are many other things to consider regarding running a successful club, but for me, the above are fundamental.

About Geoff Wilson

Geoff runs his own Sports Consultancy, working with clients such as FIFA, UEFA, AFC and FIBA across the world. He is also on the board of Tourism Northern Ireland. You can follow Geoff on twitter @geoffwnjwilson connect on Linkedin at

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