East End playing in the Friday Night League


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Newcastle East End FC supported by NEIF playing in the FNF League.

Well we are in week four and the whole point of the team is to develop the players, improve fitness and play competitive 11 a side football in a real league.  It has been a massive learning curve for some of the players and they have had to buy into the development philosophy of the coach.   It has not been easy but the lads can see the benefits of playing in the league.

The team have been challenged to step up and most have.  The main thing they have gained is fitness and recognising that they cant hold onto the ball too long as they will be closed down quickly.  This caused the a minor game problem as the players started to boot the ball in the air into the opposition half.

First thing we had to sort out was to get the team passing.  This was done in training and I played a small sided game on a small pitch then after 30 minutes made the pitch bigger.  It was a minor session but with a big impact.  As the players appreciated the time they had with the ball.

On the 11 a side pitch I started to give out two to three tasks for the players to complete on the pitch such as positioning when the keeper has the ball and after they have passed the ball get into space to make yourself available to receive it.  The big thing was to get the players to buy into the development philosophy, I didn’t care about mistakes as long as they were trying to play football.  What I wanted was the players to play with the ball on the ground and not launching it in the air.

This is when we find out who are the thinkers and who are the followers.  It was a big risk to be taken by the coach, but we need to get the players playing football quickly.  The players have vastly improved over the 4 weeks and are now trying to play pass and move football.  They are trying to pass their way out of trouble, there are mistakes but every week they are getting they are getting less.

The players fitness has improved as they are defending around 60% of the game. their teamwork and player support has improved.  The players come off the pitch tired but feeling like they have achieved something.   I have to remind them “win or lose, it is about how we play the game”.

Please remember that we are a grassroots development team and although we would like to win it is not everything.  As long as the team keeps progressing we will get there.

I also like to thank the other teams for playing the team as they forget that the players have various problems.  That is great as the players love being just another player in the League.  This is the point of the team to break down barriers for the players.

Onwards and upwards.

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