THE chairman of an East Lancashire non-league club is calling on Football Association chiefs to dig deep and spread their wealth in order to help secure the future of the game at grass roots level.

AFC Darwen’s Jack Lord is acutely aware of the difficulty of running clubs lower down the Pyramid and he believes the time has come for FA bosses to start to nurture the game from the bottom up.

And Lord also believes that professional clubs could also do more to help out their smaller neighbours to ensure the game at grass roots level prospers for years to come.

And he says he is far from the only North West Counties League chairman who feels that way.

“Travelling around to away games, I talk to many other chairmen who tell me the same thing, that they are struggling to keep up with the demands of the FA,” said Lord.

“They tell you how to run your club – but clubs just don’t have the cash flow at times.

“Many chairmen tell me that they have put in for grants for ground improvements without any luck – yet we keep hearing that grants or available.

“We at Darwen have done the same and in some cases never got a reply. If money is available why don’t the FA have a meeting for all local clubs and tell us how we go about getting grants?”

Lord also believes that professional clubs can also do more to help and added: “I have made contact with local professional clubs asking to help, maybe with a pre-season friendly.

“If we played someone like Blackburn Rovers, the gate money would keep AFC Darwen solvent for two seasons but for some reason they just don’t want to know.

“My warning is that if the FA doesn’t help more in grass roots more instances of clubs like Great Harwood disappearing will happen.

“We at Darwen play in a semi-pro league with all local lads who play with pride for their town and club and over the years some have moved on to the professional game.

“Why not spend more time looking after clubs like Darwen and others all over the country?”