Tony Callister Lancashire Football Association

Wed 12th June 2019 at 18.30 - 20.00

Tony is a man of many talents and joined us to talk about his work with the Lancashire FA.

Our guest this week was Tony Callister, Football Development Officer for the FA (Barrow & Lancaster).

Former Barrow Mayor Tony Callister was guest speaker at this week’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Furness.  

Tony is a man of many talents as he arrived fresh from presenting a programme on Cando FM, and he is also quite musical, playing the drums and singing, and admits that heavy metal is his guilty pleasure. 

Tony’s brief at the meeting was to explain about his work as Football Development Officer for Barrow & Lancaster at the Lancashire Football Association. 

The recently retired firefighter has worked at the Lancashire FA for 15 years and offers support and guidance to clubs in Barrow, Lancaster, Morecambe and South Lakes. He has all his coaching badges and works for 19 hours a week. Lancashire is one of the biggest setups within the FA and offers support to over 5000 teams. 

Tony explained that the biggest driver in his work with schools is safeguarding, the need for which was highlighted by a recent case in the professional game. He said that everyone connected with football has a duty to protect the many children who were learning to play. 

One of Tony’s ‘problems’ is that some parents expect that their child should be playing more than they do, rather than spending some of their time ‘on the bench’ as is normal in the professional game, and that sometimes manifested itself by those parents being abusive to referees from the touchline. Indeed, there were many referees who had given up officiating because of the abuse they had taken. 

Tony said that he thought that the ‘powers that be’ should try to be more flexible in their outlook, and not insist on games being played at 3 o’clock on a Saturday, as there are many people who miss out through work and other commitments.  

Tony also explained that more teams are now playing on 3G and 4G pitches, and Asda are very supportive of local sport by charging a peppercorn rent for the for the use of pitches on their land around Holker Street, where Tony recently stepped down as Head of the Academy. Several of the Academy players have had trials and gained experience with North-West based Premiership teams, such as Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City, a club of which he is an ardent fan. 

Tony then invited questions, of which there were many, which is always a sign that a speaker has held the attention of listeners. In his vote of thanks Ron Duxbury said that Tony had painted a picture of life behind the scenes of grass-roots football, and his passion and enthusiasm for the game was obvious to all who were privileged to listen.