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Memories of a football mum

One of the most challenging roles in life just might be the manager of a kid’s sports team. In the earlier years of my marriage, I spent many a Saturday standing on the touchline cheering on my husband’s football team. So, I thought I knew how local clubs worked.

And then a few years later, my youngest son joined our village football team. How my eyes were opened! I watched astounded as otherwise rational parents turned into raging monsters on the touchline, yelling insults at any child with the misfortune to fumble the ball. When one eight-year-old was substituted, allowing another child a chance to play, his dad loudly declared the replacement to be a ‘load of crap’. After one match, the manager’s car was keyed. There was even a parental punch-up on the side of the pitch, while the young players looked on horrified. Eventually, the worst offender started a new team where his son could get the glory he deserved. That went so well, the new team ended up kicking him out.

I’ve sat through team meetings debating whether winning takes priority at all costs, including our children enjoying themselves. The boys usually reacted to their parents ridiculously overinflated competitiveness with bemused embarrassment. All they wanted was to have fun playing football with their mates. Thankfully, most of the time that’s what they did.

In Always on My Mind, the main character, Jessie, offers to help her friend manage the village under-nines football team. He’s making the team all-inclusive, so pretty much anyone can join, irrespective of their ability, and it’s about to cause a whole load of trouble. I had so much fun recalling some of the choicest moments from my football-mum days, while writing these fantastic kids the kind of story that every child should experience, no matter what team or hobby they take part in.

To all the team managers out there, I salute you, and I really hope you enjoy reading about a club that focusses on what actually matters. May your team’s success always be judged on how it makes the members feel about themselves, and how they treat their teammates and the opposition, rather than how many games they win!

Start reading Always on my Mind here:




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