A community football club has launched a plea for more nine-a-side pitches to keep young people active and out of trouble.
Junction Elite urged Wandsworth Council to provide more facilities after the club launched an under-12s team to keep children on football pitches rather than on Battersea’s streets.
Although the team needs a nine-a-side pitch to play on, there are just ten in Wandsworth.
Junction Elite’s vice chairman Dean Brooke, 33, said the council should paint more 9-a-side markings on existing pitches.
He added: “We’re not asking for the next Emirates to be built in Battersea Park.
“We just want a few lines.
“You don’t hear a lot of good on the news or the telly about Battersea.
“We’ve all grown up and lived there most of our lives and it’s about trying to feed back into the area.”
Brooke said sometimes young people need someone to push them down the right path.
He added many nine-a-side pitches were either largely booked up or too far away for their young players.
A Wandsworth Council spokesman said: “These claims are without foundation.
“Wandsworth offers a total of 76 football pitches that are available for use by local clubs, including ten that are marked out for nine a side matches.”
Billy Oram was one of Brooke’s neighbours growing up, and at 15 started playing for the club.
Now aged 22, Oram runs his own football coaching business and is in charge of Junction’s youth section.
Oram said the club has tried to find a pitch for the U12s for months.
He explained: “You have about 50 teams in the area for kids.
“As a club you want to have all your teams in the same place so every parent very player knows where home is.
“We have a lot of parents that are single parents within the club and that’s just how it is.
“They’re working off one income.
“Now if we want to have a really nice venue I have to up the price.
“That just goes against what we’re trying.”
Featured image credit: Chris Matthews