Author Archives: Kevin Bryant

An A-Z of the Beautiful Game – 17th May

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you
about my one-man show, Football Fanatical: An A-Z of the Beautiful Game, but I’m trying to promote a performance at the Terry O’Toole Theatre in North Hykeham as part of the Lincoln Book Festival on Thursday 17th May. Attached please find a few reviews, the latest press release, some song lyrics and poems and a pdf of my flyer.

I live in Lincoln, I report for Talksport and the show started life a couple of years ago in Grainthorpe near Louth. For the last two years, I’ve been performing it in village halls, community centres, libraries and football clubs in Lincolnshire, Hampshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lancashire via the rural touring network and I’m now starting to find work on the arts centre / smaller theatre / studio theatre circuit after receiving a very encouraging response from audiences, promoters and reviewers. I’ve done the show in theatres and arts centres in places like Sudbury, Derby, Rotherham and Stafford this year.

Essentially, the family show is a light-hearted look at the language used by everyone involved in football. It’s based on the length of a game – roughly two hours including a 15-minute interval – and features local radio commentaries, post-match quotations from players and managers and a few poems and songs about people such as the Beckhams, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren, Jose Mourinho, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Thierry Henry. I also invite the audience to sing along in a special version of Who ate all the pies? about famous fat footballers and I play the commentaries via a hand-held control from the stage.  

As well as the attached reviews, promoters at village halls at Waters Upton in Shropshire and Stoke Prior in Herefordshire have recently described the show as “a very funny, clever entertainment” and “a farrago of fun about football…a good value performance.”

I hope this gives you a good idea of the show you can expect at North Hykeham on Thursday when I’ll be doing the hour-long version, A Game of One Half. We kick off at 7.30 pm and tickets, priced £6, are available from the box office on 01522-883311 or at the door on the night.

I’d be grateful for any pre-event publicity you can give the show via your club and it would be great if you were able to come.

Many thanks for your time.

All the best

Grahame Lloyd

01522 – 542555 or  07980 – 541899


Futsal Update- Thursday, 19 April 2007

April. A FA futsal practical demonstration was followed by an FA presentation to the LFA and interested parties, detailing the position held by futsal within the FA.  Those present were able to ask questions direct to Mr Dermot Collins, Head of Small Sided Football, so no one was in any doubt that the game was seriously supported by the FA.  

The Lincs FA is one of a small group of county FA’s designated to develop the game, the development plan is currently being written.

Mr Collins mentioned at the meeting that over 1000 coaches had taken the ‘introduction to futsal course.’  The FA Futsal Cup had passed 400 teams entered for this season’s competition.  He also spoke of a German study that had shown that two groups of players, one coached by a futsal coach, the other by a football coach, had revealed that the futsal group had improved better, during the study, to play football than the football group.  I have heard that the study is to being replicated for the FA at an English University.

Graham Dell (England Futsal Manager) has said that both the FA and Loughborough University have studied the aerobic benefits of futsal and how they may be of benefit to football.  Both studies are complete but and are at a publication stage.

To my knowledge the first girls’ futsal tournament will take place this Saturday at Second Ave Resource Centre.  Details Brian Noble

Now that mini soccer is finished advertising has been booked with the Grimsby Telegraph to promote the start of junior futsal leagues and tournaments.  The rules were sanctioned by the LFA some time ago.  If there is interest girls leagues can be included.

This years FA National Championship will include a ladies tournament for the first time.  Sara Teal was discussing with Dermot Collins the logistics of a local qualifying tournament.  A great opportunity missed if we do not go for it.

FC Grimsby vs. Hull

Score 1-3

SCORERS Hull  A.Ninje 1 , D.Buttle 2
Yellows : D.Buttle Dissent : G.Hobson Dissent
Red : Paul Rudd 2xYellow for Dissent

SCORERS Grimsby J.Archer 1

A hard fought battle between two teams strongly contrasting in age and experience.  FC Grimsby has a youthful team, 4 players under 19 that said all the players have 200+ futsal games under their belts.  Hull by contrast has more professional / ex professional players than any other FPL team, what they lack is futsal game time.  From a Grimsby viewpoint it was the Hull experience that was the difference, Hull when in possession were patient and always difficult to get close to; forcing Grimsby to have to defend deeper than they would have chosen. Defending deep meant to often attacks having to start from deep defensive zones.  From such a situation Grimsby keeper, Dean Gladwell, misplaced a throw out that saw the ball nestled in the back of his net before the situation could be retrieved.  Grimsby than had a strong period of player as Hull conceded 6 fouls leading to 2 free shots from the 10 meter mark, Sam Tatari and Callum Blythe missing both; costly mistakes.  This was followed by a Grimsby  shot that hit the post, and then smothered by the beaten Hull keeper. With almost the last kick of the half James Archer leveled with a smartly taken goal rolled into the goal corner after first looking as if to finish in the opposite corner.  

The second half was nip and tuck, the game so tight that a mistake or chance not taken was going to be critical. Hull slipped a neat pass towards the Grimsby goal, Dean Gladwell came out, changed his option and stepped back, as he stepped back the Hull player shot into the net. A well taken goal rather than a keeping error.  Grimsby chased the game, with sound performances rather than outstanding performance from all the team; Hull then found that extra class Grimsby were seeking in their play,  Adam Ninje, a Tasmanian international, placing a perfectly hit volley into the Grimsby net.

Sheffield Stormers      4      3      0      1      31      27      4      0      0      9      LWWW (0)
Middlesborough Futsal      4      2      1      1      26      21      5      0      0      7      DWLW (2)
FC Barca (Leeds)      5      2      1      2      33      30      3      0      0      7      DWLLW (2)
Team Birmingham      3      2      0      1      25      19      6      0      0      6      LWW (0)
Hull Gemtec            3      2      0      1      15      13      2      0      0      6      WWL (2)
FC Grimsby            5      1      0      4      16      27      -11      0      0      3      LLWLL (0)
York University            2      0      0      2      10      19      -9      0      0      0      LL (0)

The table does not make pleasant reading that said we have beaten Leeds, had top placed Sheffield facing defeat to lose in last minutes, all the other games have been close.  The team is competitive, and has to move on from that situation.  If you have played football professionally and would like to experience futsal please give Kevin Bryant a call 07980 286663.  

Lee Graves concedes 19!!

Grimsby Futsal League
Friday, April 13, 2007

Grimsby Futsal Cup.
Qualifying Group

Only 1 game to report; Wanderers clinically seeing off Gy Auditorium 8-0.

Monday Premier League

Only one game as Bank Holiday.  Young’s loosing a 2-0 lead to Gy Catalonia and then having to fight back to 5-5 in a game they should not have let slip.

Second Avenue
Tuesday Division II

Second Ave has improved out of all recognition since I last watched them; when the teams walked out I was expecting a close game.  How wrong can you be?  Second Ave were brilliant, they cut through Magpies like a knife through butter.  Marshaled by the experienced Vic Harris in goal, the younger legs of Kirk Russell, Gavin Harris, Neil Watts and Gavin Broughton ran amok.

ACD left it to last kick to win against StreetSoccer.      8-7

Wednesday Division III

A change of name from Thorpe Park to Soccer PM did not have the desired result as Grange de Saloa got back to winning ways.       8-1

Expressions continue to score but the defense is leaking.  7 against Hemswell are good but you can’t concede 10 in the process.

Kent Street League

The hit you in the face result is Littlefields 19 Nelson 2.  Can Lee Graves remember the last time he conceded a goal every 2 minutes?  We now know Littlefieds top place is based on merit and not beginners luck.

Football Wizards dealt comfortably with SuperStar Tradesmen who are an unpredictable team.       8-5

Warriors can’t get that elusive win, but they have closed their losses to narrow margins. O’s 9-4.

Grimsby Futsal win over Aspels has put them in the heady position of the top half of the table.  Real progress.      6-4

AFC Snoop is strangely in the bottom half after some sound performance. Snoop 12 Evergalze 2

Friendly Matches

Futsal is a very fast, highly competitive game of five aside.  Research has shown futsal benefits 11v11 football more than traditional coaching methods.  Futsal is the only game of five aside recognized by FIFA.  ( search futsal for rules).  A visit to the web site will illustrate the vastness of the game in Europe.  For UK news visit  To play locally at any level contact Kevin Bryant 07980 286663 or visit

Magpies cut Gunners lead, no major cup shocks

Nicol Magpies recorded an excellent win over Gunners Watch.  The difference between the two teams was Magpies finished a higher percentage of their chances whilst at the opposite end their remarkable  record of conceding only minimal goals per game continued.  The game leaves Gunners still in the driving seat  4 points ahead, Magpies has played 1 game less, and the teams have played each other twice.              7-2

In the cup Heta had Shamrock Rovers (old Springway Eagles) 4-1 until a late Shamrock rally abetted by Heta defensive fragility led to a dramatic end.            Shamrock 5-4

Silver Star had Grimsby Catalonia cling on, but cling on they did.        7-6

Harvest 4 Grimsby All Blacks 1 was not a major shock as Harvest has over run opponents in the Tuesday league.

AFC Snook traveled to Second Avenue and went home with a close 3-2 win over Grimsby Baptist Church.

Eagles traveled the opposite way to their old stomping ground, but Nelson prevailed 10-3.

Rob Phillips experienced Young’s’ Seafood’s’ had to fight all the way to overcome Football Wizards.  Rob’s had fears of his team performing on the smaller Kent St pitch.       6-4

Possess the ball – a new philosophy – Craig Foster

One of the challenges facing this country, and particularly the FFA in their quest to make improvements in the long term to Australian football, is to develop a culture of football, which is almost the complete opposite to where we are at this point in time.

A culture, which values the ball over the athlete, skill over strength, and football intelligence over graft and effort.

We will need to develop intuitive players who are adaptable during a game by instinct not input, and the natural precursor to this of course is first to develop intelligent coaches.

As Johan Cruyff once said, how can the student be better than the teacher?

So, to produce outstanding players we need excellent coaches who have an understanding at the highest technical level.

This is indeed a long-term project requiring tremendous improvement in our licences and methodology, but in the meantime one area that can be addressed is to continue to advance the understanding of the football community, particularly at the grass roots level, of what represents ‘good football’, and of the importance of a philosophy of play based on possessing the ball.

Yet when we talk about a culture of the game and particularly a philosophy of play, all those reading this with a good understanding of the game will know that all around us are signs that at present our national philosophy is deficient.

For instance, visit any junior club around the country and you will see more running than playing, and most players being encouraged to play the ball forward as soon as possible, regardless of the quality of the pass or any evaluation of the option chosen.

In other words, there is a predominance of lumping the ball forward for big, quick and usually strong kids to chase, to the detriment of players who prefer to hold the ball and build up play in a slower and more intelligent manner.

This is a by product of a poor football philosophy inherited from England, which values fast play over good, and which manifests itself in poor youth coaching.

But this is a short sighted strategy which is anti player development since, whilst this may win games for now, this style of play produces technically deficient players who will be learning nothing about how to play the game which is precisely, and only, what junior football is for!

And not only is it boring for the players, enforces results over fun and enjoyment and therefore arguably produces a larger drop out rate of youngsters in the early teens, it is in fact also ineffective once the players mature and their physical strengths converge as adults.

Every junior club in the country should be teaching their coaches to appreciate that until the very late teens, the total focus must be on producing players who understand and can play the game, that is to say they can control and manipulate the ball with great skill, maintain possession both individually and collectively, intelligently construct an attack and respond well in defence, and that teaching these principles of play fundamentally must take total precedence over results.

And we will only be starting to improve when every youth coach is judged on the quality of players he produces, not on the amount of trophies he wins.

We must all recognise that effort and running alone don’t win football matches, technique, skill, and intelligent players do. That is why Brazil and Italy have nine World Cups between them, Germany three and Argentina two. Because their football cultures, and their philosophy of play, are based on these characteristics.

If you want absolute confirmation of the need for change, this year take a look at the Under 14 or 15 National championships where tour best juniors come together, and you will see that I am right.

These championships are shockingly low on teams that are both technically (that is the individuals are capable), and tactically (the team works together, demonstrates good cohesion, and can solve problems collectively), competent at keeping the football for long periods.

Or, better still; take a look at our national teams.

Both the Joeys and Young Socorro’s who failed at even the earliest Asian pre-qualifying stage could not keep the ball; clearly neither could the 17 girls. In fact the only team that played with any reasonable tactical skill was the Under 20 Young Matildas, as yet our only youth age team to qualify though Asia, who were intensely trained to do so and proved, as did the Socorro’s, that when our teams are well coached they are capable of adaptation.

This inability to play to a high level is a factor of both culture and philosophy.

And it remains a fundamental problem even at the highest senior levels of our game.

In the last few weeks you might have noticed Sydney FC struggle for long periods to keep the ball against pressure, likewise Adelaide United against the Vietnamese, and the best sign of what our poor philosophy of football and no insistence on playing from defence at junior levels produces, is to see Australia struggle to play under defensive pressure against China in the second half of the recent international.

So, enough of where we are, let’s explore some key elements of a good philosophy of football.

Here is a start for any youth coaches and parents interested to know where they now stand, and in what direction they should be heading:

1. To play the ball on the ground at all times, which requires both supporting play and good technique;

2. To play short passes, which requires players to support each other in attack and defence, and is harder to defend and anticipate;

3. To play only longer balls in response to a movement by a team-mate not in the hope of one – to move and ask for the ball after which the pass is delivered;

4. To play longer passes, and particularly those in the air, predominantly only when there is no closer option and always into the feet of an attacker, never just into space for them to chase;

5. To discourage young keepers in kicking the ball long unless there is no other option (and even here one can almost always be manufactured) and at all times have the keeper roll the ball to a team-mate so the team can begin to play immediately from the back;

6. If, at any time, a youngster has no option to find a team-mate, they should be encouraged always to keep the ball. This may mean shielding it, keeping it moving to wait for a pass, or to dribble forward to attack an opponent. At no time should they be told to kick it away regardless of the position they play or where they are on the field, and if the child loses the ball they should be encouraged to try again;

7. To encourage players to express themselves through their football and recognise that everyone is not the same, and shouldn’t play so. Some play fast, others slow, some play simple, others read situations and find more complex solutions, and some have enough skill to individually dominate a game, while others can only dream of doing so, but all should be allowed to find their own game not forced to conform to a uniform way of playing;

8. And, to SLOW DOWN, or more specifically, vary the speed of play during a game, which requires a team to hold the ball. After working to recover possession, every young team should break forward only if they have an advantage in attack, otherwise they should slow the play down and possess the ball, back and across the field, resting and starting to position themselves in attack to take advantage of overloads in numbers, or weaknesses in defence. Youth coaches need to understand that the object of football is to keep the ball and to score goals through breaking down a defence with passing and skill, not by booting the ball forward hoping for a defensive mistake.

And of course a change in philosophy has ramifications for youth training.

It means that at youth levels, the only suitable training sessions should be completely with the ball, with every player touching the ball between 500 and 1000 times, refining technique and 1 v 1 skills, learning the game principally by playing in small games of 2 v 2, 3 v 3, 4 v 4, 5 v 5 and overload practices such as 4 v 2, 4 v 3, 5 v 2.

In this way good coaches can coach the key moments when in possession, the opponent in possession or the changeover, build awareness in the players to aid understanding and decision making, and allow the players to develop a fee for the game that comes only from thousands of hours playing it.

But at the same time the uneducated coach – such as the voluntary parent supervisor – can, by playing these games, give the players a structure, which aids their learning process without having to coach specific points of play.

All fairly straightforward, but a long, long way from where the bulk of our young teams are at right now.

So, how do you know where your club or coach stands from a philosophical point of view? One of the best ways is by their instructions to the players.

If the coach encourages players to slow down and relax on the ball, to take their time, to possess the ball, to support each other, to play together, to take opponents on, to take up positions at angles to each other, to circulate the ball quickly around the team, to play one and two touch football, to create triangles and diamonds in their play, to pass backwards when no forward option is rational, to use the goalkeeper to maintain possession, to read game situations and play away from pressure not into it, and to recognise and create numerical overloads, they are on the right track.

If you hear a coach telling players to ‘get rid of it’, ‘clear their lines’, ‘get it in the box’, ‘get stuck in’, ‘don’t play at the back’, ‘don’t take risks’, telling a keeper to kick the ball long or players to ‘hit the channels’, run a million miles.

Your child is in danger of becoming a boring and uninventive player, and is most unlikely either truly to discover the joy of playing the ball, or to even excel in the game against other players who have spent a decade or more possessing the ball.

And as to the physical aspect and all those coaches who want to make their young players run instead of learning to manipulate the ball and the game itself, yes, at the elite level players are very strong and often gifted physically like Thierry Henry and Kaka, but just like these two the best are footballers before athletes, and value technique over physique, because they recognise that runners don’t make it to the top any more in football.

And don’t forget that Australia has always been physically strong, but we only started to improve when Guus Hiddink finally told the players to keep the ball, to play out from the back (or in his words, ‘to start the attack from defence’), to use space more intelligently through better positional awareness, to stop hitting the ball forward in hope or desperation, to understand how to utilise the team’s spare man to keep possession, to support the ball possessor in attack, and to be patient and play in all directions in the build up phase until in a position to strike at the opponent.

These are the principles, which underline the correct philosophy of football, and the very ones every junior club and coach should be required to teach.

Sometimes, of course, pictures tell a story most effectively and I was recently sent an excellent video presentation by former Marconi player and now youth coach Vince Colagiuri, which is one of the best discussions into a youth development philosophy of football that I have seen.

It compares the philosophy of play at youth level in the USA against that of Brazil, and the findings presented about the USA correlate exactly to what is happening here in Australia.

The video, titled Player Development Philosophy can be seen by clicking here and should be required viewing for every youth coach in the country.

Once you have watched it, you would do the game a great service by distributing it to your entire football email database, and thereby being proactive in encouraging debate about Australia’s philosophy of football.

Because through debate comes understanding, and until we arrive at a better one, our kids will not be given the best chance to excel.

Let me know your thoughts at

Best wishes and, as always, enjoy your football.

Last modified: 29 March 2007 05:27:02

Futsal referee course update from FA

At present we are aware that there is a demand for Futsal Courses for the training of referees. With this in mind we are embarking on a training programme which we have trialled and are now commencing the delivery of to County FA instructors. This will commence with two instructors per County FA being trained to deliver the Futsal Referees Course… to both existing referees & new referees.

This course for the East Region, which includes Lincolnshire, will be on Sunday 13th May 2007 when two referee instructors from Lincolnshire FA will be trained in the delivery of this course.

After the above course has taken place there will be a trained resource available to Lincolnshire FA for the delivery of this course… as and when required.

As I am sure you are aware, this is an area that all in football are interested in developing but at present our trained resource within refereeing is very limited. We are dealing with this through the up-coming courses… so please bear with us.

When the course has taken place, you will be able to approach the Lincs FA/Lincs FA CTO & make arrangements for a trained Futsal Instructor for Referees from Lincs FA to come to Grimsby & deliver the course.