Following on from our article on Artificial Enhancement: The Solution for Grass-Roots Football? Here’s Pepe’s guide to those who have gone artificial by playing 5-a-side….
Across London there are thousands of men and women itching to take a break from their long working hours and focus on the important things in life…5-a-side football.
With hundreds of artificial and indoor football pitches dotted around London for use during your lunch break or after work. It’s always a time-consuming hassle to check out all of your nearest centres to find a decent league, so hopefully I’ll be able to help you out by providing a bit of unbiased info about the best league-running organisations in town.
If you want to join a 5-a-side league, Top Corner is a good bet. With dozens of leagues for 4, 5, 6 or 7-a-side, for men and women in 20 different locations (as shown in the map below), it caters for all abilities – and you probably won’t have to travel far to get to the game.
They’ll organise everything you need, fixtures, referees, league tables, bibs, trophies, and of course the pitch – which is either astro-turf or 3g rubber crumb (depending on what centre you go to).
Matches will generally cost between £45-60 per game depending on the location, whether it’s 5-a-side or 7-a-side (the more players the higher the cost), and how long you play for (generally between 30-45 mins per week). This should work out at less than £10 for each game played for at least 30 mins of competitive football.
5aside.org does a similar service to Top Corner, with loads of between 5 and 8-a-side leagues fully organised and based at 13 different locations listed below:
Balham, Battersea, Battersea (Newton Prep), Brixton, Chelsea/South Kensington, Clapham, Clapham Junction, Clapham North, Fulham, Ladbroke Grove, Marylebone, Mild End, Old Street.
With the locations being less central, match prices are cheaper and generally range between £35-60 per match, with matches lasting between 30 and 40 minutes. The majority of pitches used by 5aside.org are either 3G or 4G rubber crumb surfaces.
Another alternative is PlayFiveASide, with 5 centres in Zone 1 (Euston, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, London Bridge & Paddington) and 6 more outside Central London (Chiswick, Fulham, Richmond, Shepherds Bush, Westway & White City).
Games last between 30 and 45 minutes and will cost between £35-40, pitches range from indoor, Astroturf and 3G rubber crumb.
Elms 5-a-side runs 3 leagues inside the square mile (Mile End, Shadwell & Docklands) and 5 others in Greater London (Battersea, Battersea Park, High Wycombe, Wandsworth & Westway).
Games last between 36 and 50 minutes and will cost upwards of £35, on a range of surfaces.
There are a few Powerleague (Old Street & London City) and Goals Soccer (Gillette Corner) Centres dotted about central London, both provide top of the range facilities for 5-a-side football and run dozens of leagues for all abilities throughout the week at each centre.
A completely different way of finding a league is by using PitchFinder created by Football Foundation, simply type in your postcode and a whole load of available football pitches near you will come up. You’ll then be able to contact the relevant people and see if they run leagues you can join.