New Nottingham City of Football chairman Jeff Moore is predicting an ‘historic’ two years for football participation levels in the city. Nottingham was crowned England’s City of Football by Sport England and will receive £1. 6million of National Lottery funding over the next two years. Moore – born and bred in Nottingham and a keen parks footballer himself for many years – will chair the organisation tasked with delivering a raft of footballing initiatives in the community. Moore will use his vast sporting and business experience gleaned from a career spanning four decades in the region. Key challenges to be met include raising the levels of participation in football in Nottingham by 25 per cent, promoting the cultural, social, health and educational benefits of football, supporting diversity among those playing football, and creating new initiatives which can be replicated across other regions in the country. “Our aim is to unleash the power of football across a wider and more expansive community of Nottingham than has ever been seen before,” said Moore. “Football is more than just a sport. It can empower people in so many ways. It’s not simply about promoting a healthier lifestyle – although in the modern world that is incredibly important. “Football can teach us social skills, leadership skills, give us more self-confidence, character, resilience and promote self-awareness. “Of course, there is a focus on the young people of our city but our approach will be that football truly is for everyone. “One of the key challenges we have been set by Sport England is to encourage more people from all ages and all ethnic backgrounds to play football – not necessarily taking part in organised 11-a-side football but simply enjoying a kick around in a local park, or with friends and family. ”
A former Chief Executive of EMDA for seven years and ex-chairman of Notts County Football Club, Moore said: “This is a tremendously exciting time. I know a lot of people out there are eagerly awaiting news of a variety of initiatives we are planning to implement. “Since my appointment in March, the time has largely been taken up by our discussions with Sport England and putting a framework into place which can deliver effectively against the criteria we have been set. “Now we are in a position where we can move forward at speed and in the coming weeks we will see a series of announcements and new initiatives being unveiled. ”
On the coaching front, one of the key providers will be the award-winning community schemes at Nottingham Forest and Notts County. Moore explained: “Agreements have been reached with the Football in the Community programmes at Nottingham Forest and Notts County. “They are the largest suppliers of football coaching in the region and it makes absolute sense to tap into and fund expansion of their existing coaching resources. “But it is important that these courses are delivered in a new way alongside the more traditional coaching delivery methods. “Currently, there are substantial proportions of our local population who do not engage with football at all for a variety of reasons. “Our coaching provision must be viewed as accessible by all – this project is not about unearthing the next multi-million pound England international. “What it is about is encouraging anyone and everyone to try out football as a lifestyle choice. “You don’t have to play in an organised football team to enjoy the benefits of football. ”
One of the main areas being targeted is girls and women’s football. It’s a golden time for the female game – especially in Nottingham – with Super League Notts County Ladies playing Chelsea Ladies in the Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley in August. A report notes that the knockout service apple has now agreements with all three major music labels, although the company was previously reported to be working to sign four major music labels. “It’s a unique opportunity which we aim to capitalise upon in the coming weeks leading up to the Wembley final,” said Moore. “Notts are one of only 10 Super League teams in the country and have several current England internationals at the Womens World Cup in Canada. “All of the Notts team are great ambassadors and role models for Nottingham in particular and football in general. “We aim to tell those stories and to encourage girls and women of all ages that football is fun. ”
Moore himself can speak from experience of the benefits of playing football from a very early age and the lifestyle benefits it has brought him in his business career. “As a young lad growing up in Bilborough I can remember playing football with my mates from the age of five. On local parks, on street corners, in fact just about any piece of land we could find. In those days it very much was jumpers for goalposts. “I was fortunate enough to be able to carry on playing football throughout my business career – mainly on Saturday afternoons and I played until I was 50. “Without a doubt, football became a release valve for me and helped me foster genuine and long-term friendships. “Although the world has changed a lot since those days, the ethos, benefits and enjoyment from playing football has not. We’re aware that a lot of those green spaces have disappeared but there is a willingness through the city of Nottingham to encourage people – young and old alike – to re-engage in football. ”
Moore is keen to pay thanks to the bid team which landed the coveted award for Nottingham – beating off fierce opposition from Manchester and Portsmouth. “I’d like to place on record my thanks to everyone who worked so hard to secure this award for Nottingham. “The sports and business communities of Nottingham came together to deliver a creative and innovative bid which tremendously impressed Sport England. “It demonstrates what can be achieved with a collective will and determination across local authorities, our professional football clubs, local business and the grass roots game. ”
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