This case study is based on interviews with the Scottish Football Association Football Development Officer (FDO) who oversees the programme, two coaches, six participants (males aged 8 to 17), and two Senior Community Wardens.
This Midnight League is a diversionary programme located in one of the 15% most deprived neighbourhoods in Scotland, and has been running almost every Friday evening since 2004. On average, 40 to 50 young people (usually all boys) attend the league and while ages range from primary school age to 24 years old, most participants are between 12 and 16.
Discussions with coaches and young people in the programme indicated that many of the league players were already involved in organised football activity. Some of the young people said they would be playing football elsewhere if the Midnight League was not available. However, others thought they would be playing their X-Box, or out drinking with his friends.
While the Midnight League might not be a participant’s first experience of football, there are examples of young people becoming more involved in the sport after participating in the programme. The coaches identified some young people who joined teams, progressed to regional squads or developed ambitions to become a football coach, as a result of the programme. The two coaches interviewed played at the Midnight League before becoming coaches and now work for the Scottish Football Association and Greenock Morton Football Club.
Data supplied by Inverclyde Council suggests that the Midnight League may be having a positive impact on crime and antisocial behaviour in the Greenock East area where the Midnight League takes place. Since the activity began, the percentage of antisocial behaviour incidents recorded on a Friday evening when the Midnight League is on is lower than that recorded on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday nights. While there are likely to be several factors contributing to this trend, this data and the information from interviews suggest that Lady Octavia Midnight League is having a positive impact on antisocial behaviour in the area.