Extra Time: Local Tournaments

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It’s off to the north west for this case study, as MAN v FAT Bolton’s Nik Bryant gives us the lowdown a local tournament ran by the lads.

What is your inspiration for holding the tournament each year?
After the first tournament I was asked if we would do it again and it just kind of turned into an annual thing. I think there is a big love of 6/7 aside tournament style football within the community.

The first year was supposed to be a one off and it just was really well received so we went again. It’s always good to have something for those that don’t want to play 11s and getting to meet MAN v FAT players from other clubs.

How did you organise the event?
I spoke with our league pitch hosts and tried to find when they had availability for us to take over for a day and I have a really good connection with them as we host regular games for 11’s and extra weeknight football too. 

Once the pitch was secured, I reached out in the WhatsApp groups and Facebook for teams who would be interested in playing. The wider community is something to be used and is always pretty friendly.

How did you get the MAN v FAT community at Bolton and wider?
We have a pretty decent bunch at Bolton who are always up for extra football. Its not hard to get the lads together for extra games. We have built up our league with friends and family and luckily a few little media interest stories. 

What were the main issues in organising?
The hardest parts were telling lads they couldn’t play! We had a lot of interest and could easily build more teams than we can enter. The other stuff was pretty easy especially now where we have a pool of refs happy to help the games but originally this was tough to get. 

Grouping the teams and fixtures can be tricky if you end up with last minute dropouts too but all in all everyone wants it to be a good day so will always help sort it. 

Why do you believe it’s important told hold the tournament each year?
It brings the north west (and further) together for a day plus it solidifies the Bolton community. I think playing in tournaments against like-minded people with the same goal is always good.

Plus the lads that haven’t experienced a MAN v FAT style tournament football get a great day out of it too. Making those connections can be great for 11s teams for friendlies also.

What are the future plans for the tournament?
At the moment I don’t know. There will probably be another tournament in 2024 but it takes up a lot of time with logistics and planning but there is always a demand and i am a sucker for organising things.

It would be great to see it develop into something bigger but then it comes into costs and having to split that over the teams can be a tricky one.

I am always open to ideas on how to make the day better. I love the format we have at Bolton and don’t think I want to change it. It seems to be really well received so much so that other leagues have taken it on to organise their own tournaments which is great to see!

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