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Lads, Dads and Lasses F.C. of Cockermouth

Cumberland Football Association Charter Standard Club of the year 2007 – Lads, Dads and Lasses F.C. (LDL) Cockermouth.

A local football club where the emphasis is very much on participation has been awarded the 2007 Football Association Charter Standard Club of the Year by the Cumberland FA.

The award ceremony at the Greenhill Hotel was held on the 25th May 2007 after the annual dinner. Lads Dads and Lasses FC was given the award as Charter Standard Club of the year for the way it developed an inclusive ethos over the last 5 years giving youngsters and their parents /guardians a platform to take part in friendly, fun and non threatening football on Saturday mornings at the Cockermouth Astro turf pitch.

Lads, Dads and Lasses F.C. of Cockermouth - or “LDL” as they are commonly known – was founded in 2002 and meet every Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at Cockermouth School AstroTurf pitch. Currently there are over 60 members comprising, you guessed it: lads, dads and lasses! One or two mums play as well, while others form a regular team of backroom staff and supporters.

The club is the brainchild of Kevin Green who set out to elevate the ordinary family kick about to new levels. After many wet Saturday mornings playing on the local green, the opening of the Astroturf in 2001 enabled Kevin to operate every morning even in the rain .This facility was instrumental in enabling the club to grow and it was the vision of Mike Wilde, the head of Cockermouth School and Len Cockcroft, Chair of Governors to bid to the National Lottery to finance the facility.

Graham Lee with experience in fundraising for the scouts was instrumental in securing funds from the Cumbria County Council Neighbourhood Forum. For LDL F.C.The equipment, kit and coaching badges could now all be funded and the Quality of provision grew The first Level 1 coaches were Kevin Green and Paul MacDonald, followed in later seasons by Steve Lee 18(who has recently secured a coaching position in Majorca), Barry Messeger18 and most recently the club chairman Neil Hadfield.

The number of those attending grew rapidly and a typical Saturday morning session sees nine or ten adults working with and playing alongside thirty to forty youngsters whose ages range from 7 to 17. They are mostly boys but a small but determined group of girls make their presence felt! Another aim of the club is to provide reasonably priced opportunities to watch professional football and at least one visit a season has been made to a Premier League match.

A normal session consists of coaching led by FA accredited coaches – LDL now has 8 FA Level One coaches who through the club have achieved the award. The coaching session is followed by small sided games contested seriously but in good spirit. When the local FA development officer Ben Snowden visited last year to award the Charter Status, he commented favourably on the attitudes he saw: “It's lovely to see so many people playing with a smile on their face!”

This season the club entered its first team in the Penrith and District Under 14 league which plays matches on Sundays enabling the LDL Saturday sessions to continue as normal. The idea of joining the league came about when Kevin Green attended last years Charter Standard Festival at Frenchfields in Penrith. Here Kevin made contact with Colin Hodgson the then Secretary of the League and was invited to apply. Although the U14 section had many teams the Penrith committee decided to give LDL a place provided it could find a grass pitch to play on.

Enter Bill Ford of the Grasmoor Centre of Cockermouth, a neighbour of Kevin’s. He suggested that with Cockermouth junior football club moving to the new pitches at Cockermouth School, that there was some capacity at the Centre for junior football on a Sunday –LDL Grasmoor was born .A new sub committee was formed to run the team in the League consisting of parents of team members with Andy Walsh as Chairman and Assistant manager, Kevin Green as Manager, David Gamberini as Secretary and Julian Simpson as treasurer.

The first season was a real success from the clubs angle, we were the first team to finish playing all its fixtures and although we were in the bottom half of the table the lads grew in confidence and produced some outstanding games in a well organised and friendly league. If you need more information on the team check out the website which was set up by Andy Walsh.

One of the reasons the team was able to finish all its fixtures on time was it had use of the Town Council Tarn Close pitch when Grasmoor was waterlogged, thanks to Alan Ostle the senior club manager and David Bertram the town clerk an arrangement was made to use this facility which ensured all our home games went ahead and the teams used the changing facilities at the Grasmoor Centre.

As we approach next season the dilemma is what to do when half the team are going to be over 14? We may look to enter 2 teams in the Penrith and District leagues, the U14 and the U16.However to do this we need more players to form two squads so if you are reading this and are in these age groups, LDL starts again on Sat 16th June at 11am.

Allerdale and Cockermouth Neighbourhood Forum have assisted the development of the club with grants used to purchase equipment and the club has joined Young Cumbria. But the Club of the Year Award that marks official endorsement of an approach to football that is developmental, participatory and above all, great fun!