Non-league football club Bournemouth Poppies coach John McKay claims that players are less committed than before the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Poppies social media manger has been coaching in non-league football since 1989 and has seen the huge adaptions in football.
He said: “The levels of commitment these days are very low.”
The Poppies finally ended their 20 game winless streak with victory over Portland on Tuesday but remain deep in relegation danger.
Therefore, his comments will not come as a shock to fans.
Mr McKay blames the decline on young men having lots of different options.
”Modern technology has opened multiple different avenues that act as alternatives and distractions to football,” he said.The Poppies coach used an example of gaming which is a common distraction for many players comparing it to when he first started coaching:”Playing football was their main commitment outside of work.
“In the modern day there are multiple options if you want to socialise or do activity rather than football.”
Covid-19 had a huge affect on non-league football in the UK causing 2600 clubs to fold and 8000 still at risk of closure. However, it was not just financial struggles as McKay claims the Coronavirus pandemic affected the commitment of players.
He said: “Not being able to play and not being able to train meant players were finding other things to do, so when the lockdown ended people had additional options.
“The increase in options outside of football whether its being more used to relying on technology or finding different activities caused commitment to fall. Guys with families maybe valued their families more”
There is evidence of this within the club from Poppies goalkeeper coach Martin Pidgley who said that one of the biggest challenges working in non-league football is sacrificing lots of family time.
The social media manager and first team coach, who is well respected in non league circles, has concerns about local football as a whole shrinking in recent years with “Dorset shutting down their Sunday league football altogether” and “Bournemouth leagues being roughly halved” showing the issues do not only stem at Bournemouth Poppies but all around the grassroots level.