Look At It This Way - April 27, 2012

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You never fall asleep during football, I was told the other night, having been ticked off for nodding off during another somnolent soap episode.

It comes down to multiple club allegiances. It means I’m always on the winning side. Chelsea’s my late London gran’s old side. Arsenal was my grandad’s. Liverpool’s my team. Blackpool’s my adopted side.

Then there is AFC Fylde’s promotion to the Evo Stik League Premier League next season (and don’t you just love the title?).

Having followed their fortunes since they won the FA Vase in 2008, having beaten Lowestoft, the news gladdened my heart.

Fleetwood Town’s a firm favourite. It looks set to take League Two by storm, following promotion from the Conference Premier League, and shows dreams really can come true. Third time lucky.

Some long-time fans recall the old speedway dirt track on which the club played. As vice-chairman Phil Brown puts it: “If you had told me 20-odd years ago we would be in the Football League, I would have said you needed psychiatric help.”

If anyone had told me 20 years ago I’d be waiting for Fleetwood’s score with bated breath I’d have packed myself off to counselling.

Yet that’s just what happened.

We all need the feelgood factor our football teams bring when doing well. Forget VAT on the pies and double dip recessions with all the trimmings and think of the hundreds and thousands that a sprinkling of football fairydust could bring to economic fortunes.

I chatted to Morecambe’s chairman Rod Taylor about how the resort’s fortunes had been boosted by Morecambe’s promotion to the Football League.

If it helped revive tourism there, it would net bigger money for the Fylde.

And if Blackpool bounce back into the Premier League it will be a triple triumph. But the greatest strength of all three clubs is their commitment to the communities they serve.

One of the most outstanding examples is Blackpool FC Community Trust’s Kickz programme.

Since it started offering footie sessions for 12-18-year-olds in Revoe on Friday and Saturday nights, anti-social behaviour has reduced by over 50 per cent, and criminal behaviour by 70 per cent in the target age group.

Craig King, the volunteer who runs it, has been shortlisted for a national award.

Blackpool bobby Sgt Steve Hodgkins has won praise for his contribution, too.

Now there are plans to extend the scheme to Mereside and off Caunce Street.

That’s the right sort of home goal for community-conscious clubs.