FROM the brink of folding, new life has been breathed into the Exeter & District Sunday League, providing social footballers with the environment to continue enjoying the beautiful game.
There has been a nationwide decline in Sunday football and the Exeter & District Sunday League appeared to be following this worrying trend, with only three teams initially registered from the seven competing last year.
It is down to the determination of people like League Secretary Graham Moore and his colleagues, joining forces with Devon FA, and their refusal to give up on the League that they now have seven teams registered for the new season.
There is also plenty of time for more teams to join and real excitement about the new season. For Graham, the survival of Sunday football is a battle with a changing generational culture but there is a future for this particular format that focusses more on the enjoyment of playing the game.
“We had three teams, with only seven last year,” said Graham. “It is a generational thing, mainly. When I was younger, we would go out on a Saturday night and be home by midnight. Things have changed and youngsters stay out a lot later because the bars are open until the early hours.
“It was a challenge for several people, phoning teams and players to see if they would like to enter the league. There were a few teams from Saturday football who had dropped out of their league, so we managed to pick them up.
“We plan to start the league in the second week in September but we have left the door open for new teams to register, which will last until October, because we have a small league and therefore time for teams to catch up on fixtures.
“There is something special about Sunday football, it is a social event and enjoyment is the main objective. We have players well into their fifties who still love to play football and this gives them that chance.
“The standard is not incredibly high but it is an opportunity for people who love to play football. We are still recruiting teams and one side from Newton Abbot possibly joining as well, which is fantastic news.”
For any teams wanting to join the Exeter & District Sunday League, please contact Graham on firstname.lastname@example.org and look out for a new Facebook page being put together for the league by their media officer Victoria Kendrew.
The League sponsors, T V Mills & Co Accountants from Exeter, have also subsidised the entry fees for the next two seasons, allowing teams to join the new league for just £25.