Alan Pardew has talked about why the new Walker Activity Dome is so vital for English football and the facility is just along the road from the Primary school I attended until I was 11 – Wharrier Street school – and it was the dome is now that we used to play football for the U11 side.
Ben Arfa – what a player this lad is
The dome allows kids to play football in all weathers, and they have the changing room facilities so that youngsters can play football all year round, which is important for a place like Newcastle, because it gets rough during the winter ( and some would say in the summer too).
It reminds me in the late 1980s, when I took my three kids to Tynemouth, and we were living in south Florida at the time and if was July, and we were on the seafront.
It was 52 degrees F with the wind blowing from the sea – it was absolutely freezing – the Newcastle summers can be pretty rough too – and (of course) I took the opportunity to tell the kids you had to be tough to live in the Newcastle area, and just imagine what the winters are like.
Alan Pardew has talked about all the positives of the new facility, which he and a couple of top Newcastle players visited recently:
“I was only talking the other day about English footballers and the lack of them coming to the top level. Facilities like this one are great because the young kids can have the ball at their feet and play in all weather. These pitches can be used non-stop. It’s a fantastic facility.”
“It also gives the kids somewhere to go, it’s organised and gives them some discipline. It’s not just about football. It’s about life. Fortunately, with the finances that do come into the Premier League, there are sufficient funds to spread it down – and thank God for that.”
“There was a period when all the school pitches were taken away by the government – they were sold off – and that was a massive problem for English football. You started to see a lack of people playing football. But these facilities, with the lighting and somewhere you can get changed and keep warm, all helps.”
“This gives them a chance to play with the ball at their feet, which really helps. We don’t do enough of that, which is the reason we don’t have the technical players we should have.” “But it is difficult to play football and improve on skills when there are no pitches. It’s as simple as that.”
“We brought along Papiss Cissé and Cheick Tioté today who are heroes to the young kids. It’s good to see them with the kids and they get asked a million questions; they don’t understand three-quarters of them, but are still smiling away.”
“There is a lot of good news surrounding football clubs, which goes unreported, to be fair.
“The foundation we have at Newcastle is fantastic. It’s a great thing to be part of. The foundation is down at this facility three times a week. We work with people who are disabled or blind, and not just local kids, to make sure they get some football.” “We support these events and always get the players down to lend a hand.”
“The one thing about the Astroturf is that it’s much better now. You don’t get those horrible burns you used to get and the surface is far truer to a football pitch.” “It will never be the same, but it’s as good as it’s going to get, I would think.”
“What we don’t want to miss are the local boys. That is really important to me.” “This year we’ve got Sammy Ameobi, Shane Ferguson, Adam Campbell and James Tavernier. If they were part of my squad next year then that would be a great result. It would prove we are doing good work.”
We’ve thought for a while there’s not enough concentration on the basics of the game of football in England, as there is in other countries, like in France for example, which has football academies where the best young players – like Ben Arfa as one example – are sent to learn the basic skills.
Hatem Ben Arfa is an excellent example of a player with just wonderful technique, and just think of that goal he scored with his right foot (the weak one) against Aston Villa in early September – it must have traveled about 90 mph into that goal – a fantastic effort from the French International.
Here it is:
We need to see more English players in the future master the skills and it all starts with the basics – and that’s how Ben Arfa became the wonderful player he is for Newcastle.
What do you think?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org