As Manchester Futsal Club close the curtain on another successful season, their role in the rapid growth of the sport has never been more evident.
The three-time northern champions are one of the leading lights in the national indoor five-a-side version of football both on and off the court.
The club, who were founded in 2006, are eagerly anticipating the next stage in the development of the men’s game according to chairman Simon Wright.
“The national Super League is a big step, we’re moving away from a regional set-up and the FA want to take Futsal onto a higher platform,” he said.
“Hopefully it will mean that the competition and the quality of the game will raise up a level for both the players and the fans.
“More people are getting involved in the game and more people are watching it, so the buzz around Futsal will only improve.”
The club has also developed a women’s team that play in a recreational league, with ambitions of a national league and international team yet to be realised.
“We started the women’s programme around two years ago, it had never been done in Manchester before but we knew there was a target audience,” Wright added.
“There were a lot of female players possibly dropping out of 11-a-side football, which is a similar trend to what we were seeing in the men’s game.
“Women’s Futsal is just as exciting as the men’s game and it has a lot of opportunity to grow and develop over the coming years.”
Men’s captain Stuart Cook began playing Futsal six years ago and believes the signs of progress he has witnessed point towards a bright future for the sport.
“It’s definitely an exciting time for Futsal, the interest is picking up from football and there’s a lot more investment – getting it televised is the next step,” said Cook.
“There are a lot of players coming from abroad to play in England now, there’s a bit more money behind it and it’s more professional.
“The club itself is growing year on year, we’ve got several younger age groups and there are a lot of people coming down to watch.”
Men’s head coach Chris Vernon was delighted as his side continued their regional dominance, defending their National Futsal League North title this season.
“It’s important to win and get that title, it’s always the first thing on the list of honours we want to win,” he said.
“Next season in the Super League we’ll go with the same mentality to win every game, it’s what we’re used to and we don’t like losing.”