Sunday morning football is somewhat on the decline in London, but the popularity of five-a-side teams is booming. There is not of lot of certainty as to why this is happening: perhaps it can be difficult to get 11 players together plus substitutes, maybe it is a lack of officials available, following years of abuse at amateur level or perhaps it is down to the five-a-side game being available to play at any time of the evening.
Five-a-side pitches can be played on hard court, indoor or out on grass. When you play grass roots level 11-a-side, it has to be on an outdoor football pitch and played during daylight hours (unless you have a stadium with floodlighting). This, perhaps is why five-a-side is taking off in London.
Playing 5-a-side in London is not always a riveting experience. You may see a phone number tied to a lamppost somewhere in the capital that boasts of London 5 or 6-a-side leagues where you turn up and hope that enough players arrive to make up a full ten are present for a competitive match.
Organised 5 a side football leagues in London are the best way to get your 5-a-side footie fix. However, you do have to be of a certain standard to get into some of these sides. A number of dedicated league players have taken time out to set up their own leagues and even run it as some kind of lucrative business. One expert on London 5-a-side has even written a book on the topic.
It is also worth noting that 5-a-side football in London is not limited to men’s’ leagues – women’s leagues are growing both in number and popularity as the 11-a-side game flourishes. There are 5-a-side football leagues that are springing up all the time over London. Every Wednesday night (under floodlights which double as tennis courts) there is a Battersea Wednesday League and in Brixton there is the SW2 Recreation 5-a-side League, and then there is the Shoreditch Power League – the lists just go on and on.
But it is worth bearing in mind that as one league thrives, others fall by the wayside. Lack of players and poor organisation can see a league diminish, but as one dies out another will build and become successful. Almost all leagues are on social media, so it is worth following a Facebook page or a Twitter feed for updates.