We hope you’ve been enjoying our ‘Your Club in Focus’ features recently! This week, we continue by catching up with Shane Ward, a coach (U6 and U10s) and committee member at Greenbank FC.
What is the background to your club?
The club was founded in 1978 by Geoff Guest and Phil Franklin, playing from the fields at Greenbank Drive, and initially wearing red (as that's the coloured top they all had). This team then started to develop interest and other teams began being set up. These first few teams included managers Terry Atkin and Tom Fable, who are still involved in the club today.
In 2008 the club made the move to be fully based from One NK in North Hykeham for training and matches, and have been there ever since. When we moved to the centre we had 15 teams and we now have 34 and nearly 400 players from 4-years-old to 16 years.
2010 saw the club adopt a black and green striped kit as our identity and that remains the club colours now. The most well-known former players are Sam Clucas and Ellis Chapman, who have both worn the Greenbank kit, and played in the biggest leagues in the country. Hopefully they won't be the last.
How long have you been involved at the club?
Since my third year placement at university in 2004 when I was completing my FA Level 2, so 16 years. I started with the under-18s for one season, then moved down to coach the U11s with then-chairman Ady Coy. When they reached U15 I moved to run a new U7 team as manager, before re-branding our U6 section to Greenbank Kickers in 2014 and leading that ever since.
How and why did you get into grassroots football?
University placement; always liked the idea of coaching a team as a hobby and seeing them develop.
Why do you think grassroots football is important to so many people?
So many reasons across all the roles involved. Not only does football give players a hobby but it also brings families together, builds lifelong friendships and allows children to play and enjoy sport.
Additionally it provides our volunteers with opportunities to develop their knowledge and experience, support career development, develop friendships with fellow coaches, be part of something and support their physical and mental well-being.
As a club, what do you feel you do best?
Create teams from an early age, offering all players attending Greenbank Kickers the opportunity to be in a team. We also have very dedicated managers who care about their players and the club, alongside a committee who put in so much time and effort to better the club and service we offer.
We own up if we do wrong, and put processes in place to ensure they aren't repeated.
What achievements are you and the club most proud of?
The number of children and volunteers we offer opportunities to. We've increased the number of teams we have at the club, and in turn volunteers, to be in a position where 34 teams will represent Greenbank FC next season and we have over 60 volunteers helping run the club and teams.
We're also proud of the fundraising we've done for local charities over the last 15 years. In total the club has donated over £14,000 to a variety of charities including the Air Ambulance, L.I.V.E.S and Macmillain Cancer Support.
What are your areas for development as a club?
We'd like to develop facilities. As it stands we're nearing capacity and we don't want to turn players away from the game we all love, at an early age.
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?
We are running virtual committee meetings to keep things ticking over, along with online individual and team challenges. We're trying to remain as business as usual as we possibly can with trophies distributed for virtual presentation nights and planning for season 2020/21 well underway.
If somebody wanted to join the club, in either a playing, coaching or volunteering capacity, how should they get in touch?
Email the club at: firstname.lastname@example.org or message us via the Facebook page.