Welcome to this week’s edition of From Communications Corner, and it comes with a difference!

A lot of people at Tividale Football & Social Club have asked myself over the past few weeks “Steven, what exactly does Ground Grading entail?”

So, I thought I’d give you a little insight.

First and foremost, there are Grade A-H, plus a minimum level of requirement to play what is currently known by the Football Association as Step 7 Football.

You can find all the Ground Grading criteria by following the below link:

Click here

Tividale Football Club were required to meet Grade D specification by Tuesday, March 31st to ensure we retained our status at Step 4 in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Division One South.

We all know what happened regarding the appeal so we won’t dwell on that side of it too much.

So, the main questions I’ve been regularly asked are:

“Why do you need to meet ground grading criteria when you are already playing at the level?”

Ok, so when we were promoted to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League last May, we passed the Grade E specification a month earlier, and that gives you 12 months ‘grace’ to match the aforementioned Grade D criteria. To conclude, we were handed a specification to meet, and we’ve done that which therefore means we are able to continue at this level so long as the ground continues to be at the standard as it is today.

“How often do these inspections take place?”

A Ground Grading licence is for three years, unless the Football Association feel they need to return for an inspection in the meantime.

“Is there consistency across the board?”

This is where I feel for the Inspectors to a certain degree. Much of Ground Grading is down to perception, and personal taste. It’s not easy for them. Having said that, I do feel that there could be improvements made to the system. That’s my opinion I must stress, rather than that of Tividale Football Club.

“Are the specifications easy to follow?”

Again, this is my own personal opinion having played a part in this scenario for the very first time from start to end, but no, I don’t believe the criteria is easy to follow. Again, much like the Inspectors, we’re making choices based on perception and gut instinct.

“Was it a good experience, and would you do anything different next time?”

Retrospectively, I think it’s been a fantastic experience. If you’d have asked me that just over a week ago then the answer would probably be different, and I accept that.

But, if nothing else, it was an exemplary example of teamwork. Our Bar Manager, Sally Webb, Treasurer Richard Harrison, First Team Manager Ian Long and many, many more people from the committee, playing staff and members of the social club put a terrific amount of work in to ensure we met the criteria.

Although we had our initial application rejected, we always believed we could put a strong case together for the appeal, and we did just that and more.

Wembley was a terrific experience, and the appeal hearing was handled very, very well, and we never once felt we were being pushed aside or ignored.

Do things differently? That’s difficult to say, and you can’t say for certain until that time comes along. The bottom line is you have to live within your means, and we’ve proved that it can be achieved if you have the right people and attitude in and around the building. 

CONCLUSION:

Tividale Football Club is remaining at the level of Step 4 Football, and we consider that to be job done as it were. We’ve learned lessons, we’ve had our depressing moments along the way when we felt it wasn’t going to happen.

Having said that, we’re strong, we work hard, and most of all we believe in our own ability.

We’ve endured a terrific first year in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Division One South and we’re already working hard on plans for the 2015-16 campaign.

But, most of all, take my advice and remember the word ‘perception’…..it may well serve you well one day!

See you at the Bar, Submariners!

Steven.