SUNDAY league football is a key part of some communities, especially in small communities like the ones in the Rhondda Valley’s.
Peter Roberts, 47, a disability officer at the university of south wales has written a book summarising the games of his local Sunday league team, Maindy Conservative football club over four seasons as player manager.
Roberts was involved in setting up the team and spoke about the challenges that face Sunday league football every week.
When asked about how much of an impact the poor standard of pitches impact Sunday league in the Rhondda, Roberts said he is an advocate of summer football.
He thinks that Sunday league in particular should be played over the calendar year rather than from august to may.
“we almost get an unwritten winter break in January and February because of the weather”
“people didn’t play football for a month not because they didn’t want to play but because all the games were called off.”
When a multitude of games get called off over a long period, towards the end of the season sometimes Sunday league teams play three games in five days.
“it takes away the meritocracy of the league” he added.
“it’s difficult to get a group of boys to play Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday because one you’ve got injuries, two you’ve got people working and you might have to play away at 6 o’clock because the other team haven’t got lights.”
Roberts believes that all of this could be resolved or at the very least improved if the season didn’t include the winter period of the year.
He also added that artificial pitches like 3G and 4G surfaces helped but of course at amateur Sunday league level the finances aren’t there to have artificial surfaces.
Summer football could also improve the standard of football at grassroots level Roberts believes.
If the weather has had an adverse effect on the playing surface the forty-seven-year-old thinks that often the team that wins is the more physical rather than the most talented.
“if we played in the summer on better pitches it would encourage a better standard, more technical style of football much like they do abroad.”
British football in general is considered more physical than the styles abroad such as Spain and Portugal where the weather is better.
Countries like these seem to produce more technically gifted players that are more exciting to watch and by this example Roberts point is extremely valid.
Peter Roberts’ book, ‘Park Life: four seasons of Rhondda football’ is available on Amazon