“Volunteer, volunteer. It is fun and the football is excellent!”

The SYACL Website interrupts our busy Website editor, Margaret Gregory, for a chat.

After the thrilling return of South Yorkshire Ability Counts League 5-a-side football, and with the next 7-a side matchday very much in our sights, it’s a bit closer to home for www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com this week as we profile our website editor, Margaret Gregory. Margaret is very much the brains behind any number of football club, League, and organisation websites, so she kindly broke off from checking for our spelling mistakes to talk to the SYACL Website.

As usual, we started by asking Margaret a little about how she came to take on her role in the League.

SYACL: “Margaret, you’re website editor for www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com. Can you tell us about how you came to be involved with the League?

Margaret: “During the time that I was program editor at Parkgate FC I came into contact with Social Eyes Rotherham and I was so impressed with the organisation that I stayed with them through their move to affiliating with Rawmarsh St Joseph’s JFC. Many years ago, my son was a goalkeeper for St Joseph’s so I knew they would be a good fit for the Social Eyes team, as both setups are passionate about inclusive football for everyone.” 

SYACL: You’re also a committee member and website editor for Social Eyes, and a reporter for their SYACL 5- a- side team. Tell us a little about the Social Eyes organisation and their football journey – you have had a big part in. 

Margaret: “The boys and girls, both in the team and those that support them, are all passionate about football. Each one has their Premier Division team that they support, and the team have been fortunate to take up invitations to visit a number of grounds.

Social Eyes is a disability group for adults with learning difficulties and autism with a wide range of ages, which is reflected in their team. I developed a website for them as they have an open-door policy [when there is no pandemic] so that everyone could see all the activities they enjoy. Parents and carers enjoy seeing the activities and being able to discuss their loved one’s day. The group is like a huge brother and sister family and the original lockdown was very difficult for many to understand the restrictions it imposed. This time around they seem to be less anxious if they have to miss their daily visits. During the summer months their open air sessions were held at the football ground of Rawmarsh St Joseph JFC in the sun, rain and wind.

Many sports are played within the group – football, tennis, golf, bocchia, ten pin bowling – alongside their crafts and social outings. You can see what they are up to at

www. socialeyesrotherham.co.uk/daily-blog/

However, it would be fair to say that football is one of their main passions and they have been devastated that this year they could not compete in the League [after winning it last year] because of the Covid-19 outbreak and the vulnerable conditions many of them live with, that puts them at greater risk.”

 SYACL: Margaret, you have also been program editor at Parkgate FC and are website editor and acting Secretary at Swallownest FC. Tell us a little about those roles, and what the attraction is of working in Non-League football? 

Margaret: “Safe to say I keep falling into these roles! An older lady with time on my hands; a love of computers stretching back to 1963 when my computer at work filled a room; and my one and only visit to a Premier club, also in the sixties, in the snow and wind and I turned around and missed the only goal. After that football did not hold much attraction until my boys became schoolboy footballers bringing me back to the touchline.

Fast forward to a chance meeting in a library and I offered to teach a football Chairman how to use a computer with the intention of using their program as practice.

The websites I edit are not your flash Premier League all-singing-and-dancing sites; they are designed for the novice computer-user, to enjoy the game and sometimes see what goes on behind the scenes at a football club. They are easy to navigate and I always place a huge emphasis on photos of the action for those who just wish to flick through.

I have taken on the secretary role at Swallownest while the secretary is ill, as I am now unable to help in their café due to illness. Their website carries football reports and photos https://www.pitchero.com/clubs/swallownestfc2  Many of these grassroots clubs are headed up by the silver generation who have been involved for many years, but as the clubs evolve they need the younger volunteers to step up and help; and the volunteers are much appreciated.”

SYACL: What would you say about anyone who might be interested in getting involved with Disability Football? 

Margaret: “Volunteer, volunteer!! It is fun and the football is excellent. Sunday afternoons watching the South Yorkshire Ability Counts League is exhilarating. The prowess of these players is equal to any higher League players and at our matches there is always a smile on their faces. No swearing, no fighting, no spitting – just pure enjoyment of the game.

“I have been so impressed with the www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com. Mike, Darren’s and Colin’s organisation and attention to detail during this worrying time is second to none; during this pandemic they should be applauded for the management of the safety aspect of all the games.” Darren, especially with his illness continues to battle on.

www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com would like to thank Margaret for her time and wishes her continued success with all her projects.

If you have something you would like to see on our Website, you can reach Margaret via the contact form on the site. 

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