Modern football is all about the money, with TV rights and transfer records grabbing the headlines, but here in Salford there are clubs playing the same game that are struggling to secure the funding required.
Sides like Beechfield United help make up the foundation of the local area’s grassroots football scene, but find it difficult to attract the necessary financial backing to help serve their players.
A community-driven side, the club is struggling to find the money to even regularly rent out all-weather football pitches for its young players to play at.
Beechfield under-9s manager Gareth Booth said he hoped that at least some part of the money that is seen at the higher levels of football could be spent helping out those clubs that make up the local grassroots game.
“We just seem to be forgotten”
He explained: “Not even five per cent of one footballer’s wages could probably build us a 3G pitch and it could solve all of our problems, but like I say we just seem to be forgotten.
“There may be the next kid here who’s the next Messi for all you know.
Clubs like Beechfield rely on volunteers and community members to operate, voluntarily giving up their time to help keep the teams running.
However, for all these volunteers, the ability to help provide a safe, organised and supportive football club for the young kids is a key motivator. By giving up their time, they ensure that local kids have a place to play football and remain active, hopefully keeping them away from getting into trouble.
Mr Booth explained: “”With the kids in this generation, with the Playstation and the Xbox, [they’re less active].
“When I was a kid I’d go to Maine Road and come home and want to recreate it on the football pitch with my friends, but now kids are just sitting in the house playing Xbox
“So to get kids out the house and get them playing and to get kids from standing outside shop doorways and getting into trouble is what it’s all about.”
These opinions are not just shared by Mr Booth, either.
Paul McGuire, who is Youth Development Manager at League Two Macclesfield Town and manager of Manchester-based amateur club Manchester Central, has had a key role in youth football and football development in Greater Manchester.
He shared similar views to those at Beechfield, suggesting that money from the higher tiers of English football should be spent to support the grassroots scene – but admitting that he did not necessarily believe anything would happen unless government legislation became involved to enforce it happening.