ABOUT THE SPA
The Sports Parents’ Association
Providing impartial, independent, informed advice and support in regards to the development of young people in sport at all partcipation levels.
Helping to facilitate understanding between all parties of their responsibilities in ensuring children have a happy, joyful, confident and successful experience participating in sport.
Assisting families & young sportspeople in having a fair and reasonable opportunity to develop to become part of elite sport’s ‘one per cent’.
Founding of The SPA
The Sports Parents’ Association
The Football Parents Alliance (FPA) was formed in the summer of 2016 following various conversations between former Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United and England ‘B’ footballer Mel Eves and his good friend Keith Trubshaw. Bemoaning the lack of anywhere to go for parents of young footballers to receive truly impartial and informed advice regarding everything their child could encounter during their journey through the football academy system, they decide to do something about it. Hence the FPA was born.
Over his many years previously advising players and parents in his role as a FIFA Players agent Mel has seen plenty of good practice when it comes to the way that clubs operate and treat the players. However has also seen at first hand, and had countless talks with parents and young players, some of the less than empowering tactics and practices adopted by some clubs, or more especially certain individuals at those clubs. There can be a culture of fear at some establishments which dissuades both the player and parents from ‘rocking the boat’ as this may risk the player being released from the set up, and thereby, they perceive, the chance of achieving their goal of becoming a professional may be lost.
The FPA have advised parents of children from ages 7 to 18 at clubs all over the country, from the Premier League down to grassroots football. The FPA has directly assisted parents with regards to alleged bullying by coaches of players as young as eight years old. We have also supported one of the early members of the FPA whose son suffered verbal and emotional bullying whilst he was a full-time scholar at what would normally be considered one of the more reputable football academies in the country. The parent’s bravery and persistence in not allowing his concerns to be swept under the carpet resulted in action being taken to deal directly with the issue.
The growing reputation of the FPA has led to representations from parents and coaches in other sports besides football. They explained that the issues experienced by youngsters, and their parents, in a variety of sports are all very similar. Following meetings with key figures, and parents of youngsters who are involved in sports such as rugby, cricket, tennis, athletics, gymnastics, and even one parent whose daughter had been with a leading ballet school, the FPA decided to embrace all disciplines and the Sports Parents Association (SPA) was born.
The SPA was formed in April 2017 as a not-for-profit organisation, providing impartial and informed advice regarding every aspect that a child could encounter throughout their sporting journey, with the well being of the child the overriding concern.
The Sports Parents Association exists because creating a lifetime of fun through sport is a serious business.
The Sports Parents’ Association
Mel Eves was educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School where he represented England Schoolboys against Wales and Scotland. He also gained 8 O Levels and A Levels in Maths and Physics.
Mel then joined his home town club Wolverhampton Wanderers aged 18 as a full time professional footballer, where he went on to make 214 appearances and score 53 goals during his 9 years at Molineux. More international recognition was gained receiving England ‘B’ honours when he played under the legendary Sir Bobby Robson. He played in the team that won the League Cup at Wembley in 1980 beating the then European Cup holders Nottingham Forest 1-0. Mel was top scorer in the 1982/83 season, with 19 goals, when Wolves gained automatic promotion back to the old 1st Division.
Mel had a career threatening injury aged 27, rupturing his Achilles tendon, which saw him leave Wolves and have spells at Manchester City, Sheffield United and Gillingham before having to retire from the game prematurely through injury.
On retiring Mel became an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) before becoming one of the most respected FIFA Player’s Agents in the country. Mel Eves, following 20 years of acting as a football agent, is now a fully qualified Performance Master Coach, helping to transform people to play and perform to their maximum potential, whether that be on the field or in business.
Mel is also a sports journalist and pundit, writing his own weekly sports column in the Birmingham based Sunday Mercury newspaper as well as being a regular contributor on BBC Radio. He also appears on BBC TV, SKY TV and the Midlands based Made in Birmingham TV.
If that’s not enough he has been the Player/Manager of the Wolves All Stars Charity Football Team for the last 20 years which in the process has helped to raise over half a million pounds for charities and good causes.
Mel has founded the Sports Parents Association (SPA) which has been set up to provide impartial and informed advice regarding every aspect that a child could encounter throughout their sporting journey, with the well being of the child the overriding concern.
Born in Wolverhampton Keith was educated at Bilston Grammar School before attending college in Wednesbury where he gained a professional degree as a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators which took some seven years of part time study. Leaving school at 16 he became a commercial apprentice at the Patent Shaft Steelworks in the heart of The Black Country,
An entrepreneur at heart, Keith’s ambitions always lay in working for himself, and 18 he set up his first business selling table lighters disguised as Hand- Grenades! “You could do that sort of thing in the 1970s” Keith laughs. 1980 Saw him start in business for himself, and in his own words he enjoyed some wonderful success but also some resounding failures. Nowadays it is the lessons learned in those failures which serve him so well in helping businesses achieve success that so often would otherwise elude them.
Always a keen sportsman, Keith’s involvement nowadays is dominated by ferrying his youngest son to football and athletic events. Keith has been a musician and entertainer for over 5 decades. He has played on stages as far apart as the NEC and Las-Vegas. Nowadays he can be found strutting his stuff with Shropshire-based Bluzebox. In the 90’s he managed young bands with the aim of helping them avoid the pitfalls of the industry which are not so readily apparent to ambitious youngsters.
Having met Mel in early in 2016, they became firm friends. Mel’s passion about youngsters in sport having the right environment that allows and encourages their natural talent to flourish struck a chord with Keith who has always been passionate about creating opportunities and fair-play in all walks of life.
“As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realise that life isn’t about the size of our bank balance, or flash cars and big houses, It’s about being able to give others a hand when they need it. I see the SPA as my chance to make a positive contribution towards the well- being of young people. In years to come I know that lives will be changed for the better as a result of what we have set in motion.”
Aims, Objectives and Valuesof the Sports Parents' Association
To provide impartial and informed advice and support to families in regards to development of young people in sport at all levels.
To assist young people, their families and others to fully understand the elite sports system.
To help ensure understanding amongst all parties of their responsibilities in ensuring children have a happy, joyful, confident and successful experience participating in sport.
To assist families and young sportspeople in ensuring they have access to every reasonable opportunity and advisory resource in order to optimise their chances of being the ‘one per cent’ to progress to elite sports (should they wish to).
To assist families and young sportspeople who are not one of ‘one per cent’ to understand the outcome, and optimise how they benefit from participation in sport.
To ensure that all sports participants understand their individual and collective responsibilities in ensuring a child’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is properly looked after when participating in sport.
To assist in providing and/or sourcing qualified advice relating to a child’s development through participation in sports, including : physical development, treatment of injuries, self-esteem, confidence issues, mental & emotional intelligence, employments & contracts, communication, and bullying & intimidation in all its forms.
To encourage young sportspeople have the freedom to express themselves as individuals.
To encourage best practice by those responsible and involved (e.g. clubs and coaches) in the development of young people participating in sports.
To ensure the development and wellbeing of the young sportspeople is seen by all involved in their participation as the primary and overriding concern at all times.
To empower and support families, parents and young people to love sport and not be ruled by the fear of failure.
To facilitate the freedom of parents, families and young people in voicing their concerns and observations of their sporting environment.
To help ensure that through sports participation every young person is given a fair and reasonable opportunity to develop as a well-rounded and secure individual.