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Heads Up for the FA Cup

The Coronavirus seems to always take centre stage with news items and over the last few months people have been missing so many things. For many people the things that are missing are the very things that help with people’s mental health. Sport is starting to be played again but only at elite level and behind closed doors. However, for many this is giving people a light at the end of a tunnel and something to look forward to. Premier League football is starting this week and despite there being no crowds or places where supporters can gather this will be a real boost for sports fans.

We have often featured articles promoting mental health and have covered the Heads Up charity which back in January when the world seemed normal, delayed the start of the FA Cup games by a minute to raise awareness.

This season’s FA Cup final will be renamed the Heads Up FA Cup final to raise mental health awareness, says the Football Association. Title sponsor Emirates has agreed to the name change for the final, which is scheduled for 1 August at Wembley. The Dubai-based airline has sponsored football’s oldest knockout competition since 2015. FA president Prince William says the final can be “a moment to promote good, positive mental health for everyone”. The Duke of Cambridge has been at the forefront of a season-long campaign around mental health with the FA working alongside a group of charities in the Heads Together initiative.

Hopefully with the extra coverage that this new name will bring and the fact that this high profile competition has taken this stand can only be positive.

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Little did he realise how much good his action would do.

We all enter raffles and it is often a really great way of raising money for charity. Sometimes we win things that are absolutely fantastic and then others not so good. One raffle winner certainly caused an internet storm when he entered a raffle for a Birmingham homeless charity called Outreach Angels. Mark Whitehouse won tickets to the Championship football game between West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City. Mr Whitehouse is a West Brom season ticket holder and already had tickets so he decided to donate the tickets back to the charity.

The charity gave the tickets to a homeless man named Sean who was a Baggies fan. News of the donation spread and in no time at all money was raised for the homeless man so he could have an Albion shirt and a scarf plus £20 to spend at the game. A charitable foundation set up by former West Brom striker Geoff Horsfield heard about the act and are now trying to help the homeless man to find accommodation and get him medical attention. More money has been raised to try and get him a season ticket.

This just shows how a small act of kindness can snowball. Not only has this man been helped but it has raised awareness and shows that through sport amazing things do happen.

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It only takes a minute…

All of the 32 teams competing in the FA Cup third round ties will have their start delayed by one minute  as part of a campaign to promote mental health. These matches will take place between 3rd and 6th January 2020.

The campaign has been called the “Take a Minute” initiative and is being run in partnership with the FA’s Heads Up campaign and also Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters Programme. The idea of delaying a match by 60 seconds is such a simple idea but it is one that will reach a massive audience. The idea is for people to take some time to discuss their mental health. People can be reluctant to talk about their mental wellbeing and for footballers to be able to endorse this programme is a great way of reaching so many people. The idea is to say to people that it only takes a minute to start thinking about your mental health. During the minute delay fans will be encouraged to consider the positive impact 60 seconds can have on their own wellbeing or in supporting a friend or family.

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A classy gesture from a classy player. 

Raheem Sterling used to play for Liverpool FC and now plays for Manchester City. He was loved at Liverpool but when he went to his new club the Liverpool fans said that he only had changed clubs as he wanted the extra money and they felt he had let them down. Every time he has played against Liverpool the fans have shown their anger towards him by booing every time he appeared, touched the ball or even had his name announced.

In the Community Shield when the two teams came together, Raheem Sterling scored  and also converted a penalty despite the boos. After the game whilst his team celebrated the victory Raheem Sterling went to both sets of fans and had his photo taken with fans from both teams as well as signing autographs. He also gifted his shirt to a young Liverpool fan. A classy gesture from a classy player.

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The stuff dreams are made of…

Daniel James (21 years old) made his dream move from Swansea to Manchester Utd on 6th June 2019. Sadly only a couple of days before this his Dad passed away so missed out on seeing him make his dream become a reality.

Fast forward to the opening weekend of the Premiership and James came on as a substitute for Man Utd and scored on his debut to make the score Manchester United  4 Chelsea 0. As James celebrated he looked up to the sky and dedicated his goal to his late father. A goal I am sure he was watching down on.

James looks like a classy player who will score many a goal for club and country.

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It’s back ……

Yes, football’s Premier League returned last night with Liverpool giving newly promoted Norwich a tough re-introduction, beating them 4-1 in the opening game of the new season.

A full weekend of fixtures follows and will then continue all the way through to May 2020. A total of 380 games comprising 34,200 minutes of football.  With many games being shown live on TV by Sky Sports and BT Sport and the BBC’s flagship Match of the Day programme showing highlights there is more opportunity than ever to catch a game.

So whether you go to the stadium to watch or an armchair fan we are sure that are a lot of you out there getting yourselves ready for another topsy turvy season.

Enjoy and we hope that you get pleasure out of watching your chosen team.

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The Lionesses create history but are going for Bronze

In the year’s most viewed television programme the nation were once again brought to tears when the gallant lionesses lost to the current World Champions USA in a nail biter of a game. Despite having a goal ruled off side by inches and a penalty miss in the Football World Cup semi finals the nation came together to support the team that has done so much for women’s sport.

Today (Saturday 6th July) England will take on Sweden in the match for the bronze medal. This tournament is the first competition where literally everyone has got behind the women’s team and this was shown with those exceptional viewing figures for the Tuesday evening game.

Since that game and the tournament started there has been so much talk about women and football and the positive impact that this competition has had. This is such a positive step and we hope that this is the start of something even better.

The nation will definitely be behind the team when they take on Sweden today and we would like to wish Steph Houghton and her team all the very best and we hope that they continue in that positive vein.

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Sport is for everyone….

Roll the clock back 40 or 50 years and the world of women’s sport was a completely different place. The Women’s Football World Cup  kicked off on the 7th June in France and these games are being shown on prime time terrestrial television.

I have always loved sport and would have certainly wanted to play both cricket and football when a child but this certainly wasn’t an option. I remember a very dear friend of mine, several years older whose father and brother both played county cricket. Brenda was part of this cricket loving family and was determined she would play. I remember her telling me about how she played for many years with her hair pushed up inside her cap, wearing tight tops so that people don’t notice she was a girl.  I remember her saying how she was forced to stop after someone pointed out this fact and how much she had missed being able to play. People like this were the real trail blazers for todays sport where girls/women are encouraged to do anything they want to.

On the BBC news last week it was been reported that actually an English team entered the unofficial women football World Cup as far back as 1971 and how the players who played were then banned from their respective clubs for taking part. How things have changed. Below is a photo showing the pennant for the 1971 competition, held in Mexico, and this goes to show all that was wrong with women’s sport then. What a stereotype and so glad to see that things have changed and there isn’t the same almost laughable attitude to women’s sport and that governing bodies are now embracing these competitions.

The pennant for the 1970 Mens World Cup was also held in Mexico and it certainly wasn’t like the ladies one. Take a look and draw your own conclusions…

There are so many positives for sport, it helps with health, fitness, team spirit, organisation, discipline and keeps people off of street corners to name but a few. Take advantage of all of the sports that are on offer today and realise that we are not bound by any rules and regulations about what we can and can’t do and within reason anything is open to us all to try.

Good Luck to the home nation’s football teams and do your country proud and prove if you love sport it doesn’t actually matter who is competing, it is the event and the spectacle we are all watching.

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Soccer Aid – the World wins….

Last night (Sunday 16th June) the World’s biggest football charity match took place at Chelsea’s ground in London. The World won in more ways than one, with the World XI getting revenge for last year by beating England on penalties with over £6.7 million being raised for UNICEF. This was the thirteenth year that Soccer Aid has taken place and this year was a first with two female players Katie Chapman and Rachel Yankey taking to the pitch. Since Soccer Aid started over £30 million pounds has been raised for UNICEF.

Soccer Aid brings together many football legends and celebrities who play to raise money so that children around the world can grow up happy and healthy. Managers on the night were Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid who had help from professional Managers Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp.

England took a 2-1 lead at half time thanks to two goals from Jeremy Lynch for England followed by a Usain Bolt response for the World XI. In the final ten minutes Kem Cetinay scored a fantastic equaliser to take the game to penalties. Nicky Byrne was the penalty shoot out hero saving two of the England penalties.

Rita Ora provided the half time entertainment whilst the celebrities playing included Usain Bolt, Niall Horan, Lee Mack, Michael Owen, David Seaman, Ben Shephard and Sir Mo Farah.

As man of the match Jeremy Lynch said in his post match interview, “it’s not the result, it’s the cause”.

A fantastic achievement from all involved, long may this fixture continue.

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Why was the grave of David Danskin so important to Arsenal FC?

David Danskin is recognised as the founder of Arsenal Football Club. Danskin who died in 1948 at the age of 85 created the football club Dial Square for him and his co-workers. They all paid a sixpence to play at the Woolwich Arsenal factory where they worked in 1886. Dial Square was then renamed to Woolwich Arsenal and the rest as they say is history.

The very first match was a 6-0 win over a team called Eastern Wanderers on 11th December 1886. Danskin, himself was the captain of Dial Square.

Sadly his gravestone had fallen into disrepair and so Arsenal stepped in. When the new gravestone was unveiled it was at a ceremony with four generations of the Danskin family. The club’s managing director Vinai Venkatesham, Pat Rice and members of the Arsenal supporters club were all present.

Danksin’s grandson Richard was reported as saying

“The memorial that is unveiled today is a fitting tribute to David Danskin, his family and the legacy that he leaves for us all to enjoy.”

The unveiling of the new headstone had taken over twenty years to happen and was a culmination of work between the family, football club, supporters and historians.

When people set up up sports clubs, it is usually because they are passionate about the sport and want an opportunity to play. Little did David Danskin know how his initial dream would one day become one of the largest and best football clubs not only in the UK but in the world.

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