The Guardian, Dec 3rd 2021
A game requiring unique physical and mental skills changes its players for life. Now the FA wants blind football to grow.
Late morning at St George’s Park and the weather is perishing. Freezing rain is driving across the landscaped parkland that is home to England’s national football teams. At the back of the complex, apparently oblivious to the conditions, are the men’s blind team, thudding each other into the hoardings.
“If you’re not talking, you’re not doing the right thing!” hollers the head coach, Jonathan Pugh, known by everyone as Pughie, as he watches his players go through their drills. This is the first day of a crucial training camp, with a number of new young talents to be bedded in and two fixtures against Germany squeezed in for good measure, but it also comes at an inflection point for the sport.