The team behind the team by Kajal Malhotra

Kajal Malhotra. Photo: Darren Woolley.
Kajal Malhotra. Photo: Darren Woolley.

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A far cry from the glamour and pay checks of the professional leagues, the backbone of football thrives on the dedication of countless unsung heroes; the volunteers and selfless individuals who operate behind the scenes. The team behind the team.

As a player I’ve had the privilege of simply turning up to a training session or game day with no care other than the football itself. That can only happen thanks to the tiresome work of all those involved off the pitch – and lets not be mistaken, there is A LOT of work that goes on. But what I love about the game stems from how little we’re reminded of the efforts involved; everything runs seamlessly behind the scenes and is fuelled simply by a passion for the game and a love of the club, rather than any financial incentive or recognition.

From coaches who are there before I arrive and leave long after I’ve left, to parents sacrificing their weekends to shuttle players to and from matches. The backbone of these local clubs consists of the unpaid crew—the volunteers who maintain pitches, wash kits, and ensure the logistical ballet of match days runs smoothly.

Kajal at the Berkshire Football Awards with her Maidenhead United team mates. Photo: Neil Graham.

Growing up I was likely unaware of just how much goes into running a game of football, and now that I can appreciate the work involved it only adds to what makes this level of football so special: all of the time and energy dedicated is done simply for a love of the game and a shared passion for the club.

Their efforts might not make headline news, but they are the lifeline of a sport that resonates at the community level, where the true spirit of football is cultivated. For me, I can just focus on the game, content in the knowledge that everything else is in safe hands.

Kajal Malhotra

This article appeared first in the Football in Berkshire Friday newsletter. To get your regular dose of Berkshire football news and stories in your inbox, click here to subscribe. If you’d like to feature here, please email tom.canning@footballinberkshire.co.uk to enquire.

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