Next up in our popular Your Club in Focus feature, we catch up with Andy Thornton, Ladies Manager and Committee Member at Grimsby Borough FC.
What is the background to your club?
The club was started in 2003 as one adult team before joining up with a local junior team in the early 2000s. Then followed a merger with a local girl’s club to create the organisation you see today.
How long have you been involved at the club?
I have been involved since 2012 and the girls’ first adult football incarnation, as a club and a merger since 2014.
How and why did you get into grassroots football?
I got into grassroots football because I wanted to be a coach, working in schools I saw lots of children miss out because they were either not good enough at the time or didn’t enjoy other set ups. We started as a simple Saturday club made up of players who couldn’t get into other clubs.
Why do you think grassroots football is important to so many people?
Not everyone can become a professional, but every player growing up deserves a professional experience if given the correct environment. This means fun, development and all the social aspects of being part of a group
As a club, what do you feel you do best?
As a club I feel our best asset is that we support all sections and stakeholders equally, from junior to men to ladies. The focus is clear that each section matters and will be given equal consideration and application.
What achievements are you and the club most proud of?
For me there are a few, from being one of the biggest junior boy’s section clubs in the county producing lots of players, to the men’s winning the league last season to gain promotion. My remit is to push the girls and ladies’ section and last year we were the biggest girls club in the area, so development and increasing the number of female players is massive, and as an achievement that sits alongside us going unbeaten and winning the north league in 2013.
What are your areas for development as a club?
We are hoping to improve some of our facilities and offer to our players. We are also keen to produce our own coach development programme for coaches in the near future.
This is a very difficult period for grassroots football as a whole. What measures are being adopted to see the club through these challenging times?
Firstly, everything we do will follow government and FA guidelines. Adherence to the rules are key and we hope to have many teams back training under this remit. We have also earmarked new facilities for the future to provide a safe environment for players and parents.
If somebody wanted to join the club, in either a playing, coaching or volunteering capacity, how should they get in touch?
As with most organisations, Twitter and Facebook provides a platform to access numerous feeds. These give access to our committee members at any given time, they will then filter you in the right direction from your queries. The website is in development so using social media right now would be best. We are also in all league handbooks and have numbers posters around the town for our sessions, from tots to adults.