Director, founder and driving force behind SKFC, Joe Godfrey, is as Cheadle Hulme as it gets…A product of Lane End and Cheadle Hulme High Schools, still involved with his boyhood club (Inter Cheadle JFC – he played in their inaugural team) he’s virtually an SK8 celeb, and his reputation precedes him.
Joe created SKFC with two former coaching colleagues, Pete and Ryan. All three were at something of a crossroads in their careers: Joe was working in business development at Stockport County’s community operation; Pete was completing his degree and Ryan was working in the care sector. All still volunteered as junior football club coaches when time allowed, but football was their true love, a way of life.
As Bill Shankly put it ‘Some people think football is a matter of life and death…I can assure them it is much more serious than that’ – these lads would concur.
They still considered their footy and coaching an all-consuming hobby, but really missed actual hands-on (well, feet-on) football in their lives.
Recounts Joe “A wise parent suggested we set up on our own, and that the other parents were all behind us. So, we did. In 2017, SK Football Coaching was born.”
Playing the SK Way quickly became the company’s mantra. Horrified and scandalised by some of the profiteering and misleading football coaching companies, as well as frustrated by the lack of quality coaching available in grassroots football, the lads have an ‘everybody plays’ ethos. Yes, it’s about real development – for everyone – but it’s also about fun and anyone who’s watched an SK team or taken their kids to SK Camp will vouch for that.
SK NEVER charge parents for ‘introductions to football talent scouts’, they don’t demand silly money for kits and their holiday camps and development centres are kept refreshingly affordable. SK simply don’t believe that cost should be an obstacle to quality coaching. They do their utmost to accommodate.
Now, a well-respected and ever-growing organisation with ten members of staff, several well-known junior football club partners (including Juno United, Inter Cheadle JFC and Mountfield Rovers), two development centres, roles in both primary AND high schools plus various other coaching programmes. The SK Way really IS different; SK create an environment of professional coaching coupled with community values and NEVER to the detriment of their grassroots clubs.
One of SKFC’s guiding principles from get-go is that SK Football Coaching is NOT a ‘football club’. As an organisation, SKFC believe that junior clubs are best run WITH their support, rather than organisations running their own clubs and competing with long-standing local clubs with a rich tradition and history.
The SKFC coaching philosophy is extensive but based around both individual and team development across the FA’s four-corner model. SKFC help all players become:
• Creative, tactical decision-makers
• Comfortable on the ball with both feet
• Confident leaders and comfortable being led – so great team players!
• Skilled players in terms of speed, agility, and core strength
With SKFC, there is so much more than this. Within minutes of talking to Joe, Pete or Ryan – or, indeed, any of the coaches, the enthusiasm and dedication is tangible. It’s crystal clear that SKFC, and what they do, is everything to them. This isn’t just a business, or just a job. It matters. And it goes so much further than coaching.
The new motto is ‘SKFC – We Do More’. Yes, they always go the extra mile for their players and with their coaching, but even more. They’ve built friendships and camaraderie unlike any other organisations. The kids want to play football. They want to train and improve. The parents want to be involved. There are tournaments (often affording those ‘introductions to football talent scouts’ which simply happen, with a good team at a good tournament), social events and the now-famous SKFC Wales Tours. SKFC also run incredibly popular footy parties.
Parties are often stupidly expensive, often around £30 per guest! That’s NOT the SK way. An standard SKFC football party package which includes two experienced lead coaches, an hour of football fun, including challenges and matches/tournaments, a personalised trophy for the birthday girl/boy, a certificate for each guest AND a completely FREE half-day at holiday camp for every guest is – like everything SKFC do – refreshingly reasonable.
But keep watching this space. There will be more. Much, much more.