A Guide to Pub Football
What You Need to Know
- Pub Football is, quite simply, amateur football that is played on pitches across Britain on Sundays.
- Very few teams ask for any minimum amount of skill. What most will require, however, is commitment from their players.
- Get in touch with your local County Football Association (FA) if you want to find a team to play for or to enter your own team into a league.
- If there isn’t enough interest among the regulars of your own pub, consider joining forces with another local.
- It’s a good idea to have more than 20 players signed up to a pub football team as there will likely be several absences each week.
- If you know you will not be able to field a full team, be sure to get in touch with the league administrator as soon as possible.
- Be aware that you will have to pay a subscription to cover the cost of hiring the pitches, paying the referees and for the league administration.
Pub Football Overview
Also known as Sunday League Football, Pub Football is, quite simply, amateur football that is played on pitches across Britain on Sundays. While the professional or higher-level amateur leagues might have traditionally held their games on Saturdays, the last day of the weekend was always reserved for the lowest level of sporting ability, with players of all ages and abilities competing, not for money or fame, but simply for the love of the game.
Teams can be made up of friends or workmates, though traditionally, it has been local pubs that have contributed the most teams over the years, hence the name Pub Football.
As well as a lower level of skill, Sunday football also requires substantially less commitment than its Saturday equivalent, with very few pub teams ever training. Rather, many players just turn up once a week for a game, often worse for wear after spending the previous evening in the pub they are representing.
Joining a Pub Football Team
Again, standards are low in Pub Football and, as such, very few teams are likely to hold trials for new players. Indeed, generally speaking, a willingness to turn up most weeks and to represent your local whatever the weather throws at you is guaranteed to land you at least a spot on the substitutes’ bench.
In order to join a pub team, the first thing you will need to do is find one. So, check with your local pubs and ask if they either have a team or are thinking of putting one
together. If not, the landlord might know some other establishment on the lookout for players. If this is the case, you usually don’t have to worry about any tribal loyalties as, again, few pubs will turn away committed newcomers, regardless of whether you’ve been propping up the bar for years or have only just started frequenting it.
Setting Up a Pub Football Team
If your local pub doesn’t have a pub football team, then setting one up is a relatively straightforward process. In fact, the hardest thing is likely to be finding 11 players week-in, week-out.
Firstly, you should get in touch with your local County Football Association, the contact details for which will be available online. You will be asked to submit your team name, as well as the names of your captain and, if applicable, a manager and a treasurer. You will also be informed of what subscription your team will have to pay to be a member of a league for a season and you will be asked to agree to the rules and regulations of the league.
Once you have registered with your local FA, the main thing is recruiting a team from your fellow drinkers and, more importantly, making sure they turn up for your matches.
Things to Consider
Again, Pub Football is very much an amateur affair, with no minimum level of skill required. That said, however, all leagues, no matter how lowly will have rules and regulations you will need to abide by in order to be allowed to carry on competing. As such, someone with at least a modicum of responsibility should be in charge of your team, and bear in mind:
11 players is usually not enough. There will always be someone who drops out, whether it’s through injury, illness or lack of commitment. A well-run pub football team should have a large pool of players to draw on. Fortunately, unlike many Premier League stars, most lower league players are only too happy to be substituted part-way through a game.
Consider merging with another local pub if you don’t think you have enough players to last a full season.
Look into getting health insurance. Not only are pub football pitches often in a dangerous state, some teams may like to play dirty, so injuries are pretty common.
All a league will ask for is for commitment. Be sure to pay your subs on time, turn up for your games and, if you know you will not be able to field a full team, get in touch with the league administrator as soon as possible.
- In London, the Hackney and Leyton Sunday Football League has produced numerous professionals over the years. Visit their website to learn how to get involved.
- Are you more or a tactician than an athlete? Read our guide to fantasy football and find out how you could make the most of your managerial mind.
- Do you see potential upsets coming or can you predict correct scores? If so, find out how to bet on football by reading our guide and don't forget to check out the latest Premier League odds for the matches coming up.
- You may be a football fan, but it is worth reminding yourself the complete rules of the game so that you don't get on the wrong side of the referee when playing.