In an interview for the Daily Mail, Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson reflected on how times have changed for youth football coaching:
“’Today is very different from when I started as a coach,’ he says, pointing out that in 1974, when he became manager of East Stirlingshire, the drive came from people like himself, parents and youth clubs. ‘Now I’ve got 30 staff here. We’ve got welfare officers who deal with parents, we’ve got an education programme, child safety; every coach has to do a programme under the Child Protection Act. I had to do it myself. So we’re dealing with young people today in a completely different way.
‘You’re ever mindful about how close you can get to children. It’s ridiculous. Do you know what my wife said to me? “Don’t ever put a child on your lap for a photo”. I’m going to a game and the parent asks you to pose for a photograph with their child. Three years of age and you’re taking the kid in your hands and thinking “Watch where your hands are”. It’s unbelievable but that’s the world we’re in today…. There’s a lot of changes discouraging good people from working with children.’”