Dear Reader: The FA, grassroots campaign and my dreadful football

Graham Chalmers.
Graham Chalmers.

Column by Graham Chalmers

It’s a sure sign a campaign is going well when FA chairman Greg Dyke sends you a handsigned letter of support.

The Harrogate Advertiser Series’ bid to halt the decline of grassroots football across the district is one particularly close to my heart.

In the days of yuppies and mullets I played regularly in the local leagues for Hampsthwaite and, then, Granby.

Despite being a lot fitter and younger then, it was more a case of graft than any real aptitude.

My team-mates must have noticed they had a headless chicken in the mud of the midfield area for I was always been substituted - even after scoring the occasional goal.

The final straw came while acting as a stand-in linesman at one match when I was booed by my own comrades for not waving the flag in our team’s favour every time.

I felt a bit sorry for that. though not quite as sorry as I was that I wasn’t nearly as good a footballer on the pitch as I was in my head.

But I never for one moment regretted sharing in the camaraderie and endeavour and sheer excitement of grassroots football.

I enjoyed a good chat with Sharon Canavar, the dynamic head of Harrogate International Festivals, over a coffee recently.

She is clearly excited about this summer’s offerings in what will be this annual feast of the arts’ 50th event, as well she might be.

Although I’m more of a rock n roll man than a classical one, from its first year in 1966 the festival has aimed, and reached, higher than any one could possibly expect from a town of Harrogate’s size.

This landmark year will see the likes of fabulous singer Gregory Porter coming to town.

But what I’m most looking forward to is Psycho Live when the Harrogate Festival Orchestra will be performing at a screening of Hitchcock’s scariest movie.

Just imagine, this spa town playing host to cinema’s most famous shower scene?