Thousands head to Bognor Regis for football festival

A previous winning team celebrate their success at the festival
A previous winning team celebrate their success at the festival

Young footballers and their families from around the country are queuing up to come to Bognor Regis.

Some 5,000 people have turned a major football festival in the town into a sell-out six months before a ball has even been kicked.

A waiting list has been formed of hopefuls because the interest in the Easter and Spring Festival of Football, based around Butlin’s and supported by Arsenal, is the highest it has ever been.

Organiser Martyn Young said: “The festival has been the same size for a number of years.

“We are limited by the capacity of Butlin’s.

“What is different this year is how quickly the festival has sold out.

“Bookings are up 100 per cent based on like for like booking rates from last year, and we have a large waiting list of teams trying to get into the festival because of the huge demand for it.”

The 24th annual festival will take place during the next May bank holiday weekend of May 4-7.

The keen interest in attending confirms its status as the biggest youth football festival of its kind on the south coast.

Some 160 under-seven to under-15 teams of boys and girls battle it out in seven and 11-a-side meetings for honours at venues which include the Arun Leisure Centre just along the A259 from Butlin’s.

The holiday resort is booked exclusively for the 5,000 taking part or watching the matches.

They will be travelling from 19 counties as far afield as Staffordshire, South Wales and Essex.

An overseas contingent is also taking part from New Zealand and Guernsey.