18 months ago I launched a petition calling for the Premier League to put more money into grassroots football which was supported by over 30,000 people.
Today on talkSPORT radio I launched a brand new petition with the aim of collecting over 100,000 signatures in the next 12 months. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/66835
I think the time has come to really build meaningful support for this campaign. More and more people are recognising the problems facing our national sport and becoming open to new ideas to try and put things right.
Over the last two years I have heard stories from around the country about rising fees that are too high for ordinary families to pay, poor quality pitches that are closed half of the year, and children forced to change in the car are by the side of the pitch because there are no proper changing facilities.
Every child deserves the opportunity to take part in organised sport, and football is the most popular sport in the country, and yet we are seeing participation falling.
Most public pitches are owned by Local Authorities, but huge cuts passed down from the Government mean they have very difficult decisions to make and I don’t think it would be fair to ask them to put more into football in the face of big risks to vital frontline services.
It’s time for us to find a new funding settlement that will allow for meaningful investment into grass roots facilities and open football up to everyone who wants to take part.
Shortly before this campaign was formed the Premier League signed a deal for their broadcasting rights over three seasons that is worth £5bn. Clearly there is money in football, but it is being concentrated at the top. I don't want this cash boost to be wasted on even higher wages for managers and players, it's time for the Premier League to give more back to the grassroots.
I know it won’t be easy to get more money out of the Premier League, they are a business after all and have their own interests in mind, but I think with enough support we can do this.
Sign the petition and share it as widely as possible –
If we reach 100,000 signatures then this will be considered for a debate in the House of Commons. That would be a real sign to the decision makers in football that the public want change, that there is real grass roots support to save grass roots football. It will also help to raise awareness among MPs and Government Ministers so that they can add extra pressure.
Keep talking about the campaign and sharing your stories. Do you volunteer with your local team? Are you a parent whose kids love football? Your experience of the state of grass roots football in England today can really help to change minds. Please get in touch.