Humans of Grassroots Sport | Billy Beckett
18 July 2019 • By - Will Chrimes
Read time 2 minutes
Terrible Football founder Billy Beckett shared his thoughts on the importance of accessibility and how Football is such a powerful tool in bringing people together.
Terrible Football all began in 2015 on wet and muddy afternoon on Weavers Field in Bethnal Green. It was just three good mates kicking a ball about and now we’re proud to have organisations in Berlin, Amsterdam and even South Korea.
Our mission is capturing the camaraderie of casual football games that are played in parks, playgrounds and pitches across the world. Sessions are free, friendly, and form a part of the local community. We wanted a different approach to the hyper-competitive fixtures where I’d be all too regularly nutmegged by kids more than half my age.
Accessibility was key for me too. Many games that similar minded players would join felt they were outsiders and players tended to pass amongst themselves. It’s understandable, but something I definitely didn’t want at Terrible Football.
An open-door policy is paramount. Everyone is welcome, regardless of ability and experience. Once we see our weekly turnout, we’ll arrange games and if you’re lucky you might get some bibs and cones. Refereeing is done by committee and fair play is a must from our players. Terrible Football is managed by volunteers, who dedicate time to organise the football groups.
MeetUps has been integral in helping Terrible Football grow to its size of 7,000 members today. Players can simply sign-up to our games across London and then just turn up for a kick-about – it’s all very organic. That kick about mentality is our very essence and reason why we have been so successful in running games.
Controlling that ethos is my main mission. Any players who display actions that fall short of our ethos standards are instantly dismissed and will be removed from the community groups.
Football is such a powerful tool in bringing people together. The language, ideals and origins make it incredibly accessible. There are many connotations with solidarity that hail back from factory teams from coal mines to steel works.
We have a diverse range of players, with many different backgrounds, sexualities and talents. The feeling of belonging to a group is the goal we’re all after. Players will usually go out for some food after or perhaps catch the Super Sunday clash on TV. There are Christmas events laid on and we celebrate religious occasions like Eid and Ramadan.
Some of our members now even go on holiday together and this makes me particularly proud that Terrible Football was the catalyst for friendships that go beyond the pitch.
Terrible Football has exciting plans for the future. First up is our Summer tournament where we have 10 teams signed up. As a competitive format this will be a little less terrible than our weekly sessions, but fun remains the core driver of the games.
We’ll also continue to collaborate with wonderful charities like Football Beyond Borders and form partnerships with similar minded initiatives that focus on making a positive difference.
To find out more about any of our Terrible Football sessions, please visit terriblefootball.co.uk and Meetup.Com/Terrible-football-in-London