The secretary of a Sunday morning village football club in West Lindsey could not disguise his delight after winning a grant to secure its long-term future.
“I cannot wait to see the smiles on our players’ faces,” beamed Matt Lawson after hearing that Scotter United had been awarded £750 through an FA initiative.
The money has come from the FA’s Stay In The Game scheme, which is specifically designed to help clubs retain male adult players and encourage more to take up football, or return to it.
It is feared that too many young men are quitting the game after playing for youth teams and after leaving school or college.
Stay In The Game, which is funded by the FA and delivered by the Football Foundation, aims to give grassroots clubs, such as Scotter, the financial support to cover the costs they incur in fielding a team or teams every season.
Established way back in 1894, Scotter run two sides in the Scunthorpe and District Sunday League, and their first team were crowned Division One champions last season, after winning 19 of their 21 matches, losing just once and firing 83 goals. They topped the table by fully 15 points.
They started this term with a rare defeat, but returned to form with a 3-2 victory away to Crosby Colts in the Lincolnshire FA Junior Sunday County Cup last weekend thanks to a hat-trick from Shaun Dalton.
Scotter Reserves play in Division Two of the same league, and they also tasted cup success last Sunday, pulling off a fantastic fightback to recover from 3-0 down to beat Barnetby United Reserves 4-3 with goals from Jack Shaw, Ben Sausby, Daryl Parkes and Andy Hood.
Such fighting spirit will be intensified now that Scotter know they have the money in the bank to continue offering playing opportunities to locals.
First-team manager Darren Swift said: “We are very pleased to receive this grant, and I can’t thank the FA and the Football Foundation enough.
“It will enable us to continue the running of two male adult teams for years to come, and we are very grateful for that.
“Our club celebrated its 125th anniversary this year, so here’s to another 125!”
The push by the FA to sustain male adult teams follows the recent Grow The Game funding scheme, which made £1.5 million available for grassroots clubs looking to create new female or disabled teams.
A spokesman said: “The grants can be used towards matchday and training facility hire and league affiliation costs, as well as covering matchday subscriptions for players who can’t afford regular fees.”
The Football Foundation gets its funds from the Premier League and the government, as well as the FA. Since 2000, it has backed more than 16,500 grassroots projects worth more than £1.5 billion.