The Northerncare Tournament - April 2007
21st April saw the second northerncare/FC United of Manchester football tournament take place. This tournament built on the success of last year's competition with over 60 children taking part and was won by a team from Salford City Council.
Our coaches, development staff and volunteers arrived at Bury College at 8.45am to be greeted by the sight of Laura Harvie, of northerncare, already introducing herself to the first of the day's keen competitors. A bright sunny day enabled us to set up registration outside, adjacent to the pitches being used for the tournament. We were all soon involved in sorting out training bibs and numbers etc for the various teams of eager youngsters.
Care homes from all across the North West and beyond were represented. Care staff and children from these homes who had come to support their teams made for a large and, in the case of the children, vocal crowd. 12 northerncare homes were involved and staff helped in getting their children involved in the warm up sessions.
F.C. coaches and volunteers were deployed in everything from taking down match stats to making sure the teams were at the correct pitch on time, to setting up the fine array of trophies for presentation to the winning teams. Amongst FC's staff for the day was a North West Counties referee and he commented that he was kept as busy here as at any league game.
Some of the homes combined their squads so were given coloured training bibs to wear over their kit and then referred to by their appropriate colours. These new team formats enabled the teams to be made up of a greater mix of ages and abilities.
A series of hard fought and keenly contested games saw the Sky Blue team run out eventual winners to the delight of the assembled crowd. Possible F.C. stars in the making? Who knows!
A quick shower and change and all the teams assembled in the main hall at the college for an excellent buffet and to await presentation of their trophies from northerncare's Managing Director, David Rae and CSM, Steven Cardwell. All teams who entered received an F.C. goodie bag, T-shirt, certificate and medal. All those who participated in the event attended the Salford City vs. F.C. game at Gigg Lane.. northerncare presented trophies to the Cup winners, overall runners up (The Red team), winners of the Shield (the White team), winners of the Plate (the Orange team) and a player of the tournament from each age group.
Appropriately, as the tournament was held at Bury, a team from Bury won and Bury Looked After Team Manager, Melanie Tunney, had this to say:
A team of eight young people from Bury (the Sky Blue team) were entered in the FC United/northerncare tournament by staff from the Bury LAC Team. At the start of the day the group, who had not met prior to the event (apart from two sets of brothers), were not hopeful of achieving much but looking forward to the games. As the day progressed and they were winning games they became more confident and optimistic.
Winning the tournament was fantastic for the children and the staff were euphoric. The sense of achievement was evident and all of the young people were proud of what they had done. They all thoroughly enjoyed the excellent lunch and superb presentations. The event was well organised and run smoothly from start to finish.
The icing on the cake for the young people was being presented with the cup on the pitch at Gigg Lane, collecting signatures of FC United players and doing an impromptu lap of honour around the pitch cheered on by the fans. They were also happy with the result of the FC United/Salford game.
It was a great day. All eight young people never stopped talking about the day and all have said they want to take part again, many thanks to FC United and northerncare for organising this great event.
All the young participants from northerncare homes were invited to take part in a match reporting competition with northerncare and the winning entry, whose work can be seen at http://www.northern-care.co.uk/football/competitions.htm received a signed FC United football and scarf.
FC United working in partnership with northerncare wish to congratulate the winners and build on the success of this second tournament and seek to make this a much looked forward to annual event. Laura Harvie from northerncare, who co-organised the event, expressed her support for the competition;
This tournament demonstrates northerncare and FC United's joint ethos of involving young people in positive activities in their communities. We were delighted with the response and feedback we have received from Bury, Salford, Oldham and Macclesfield and from the children in our northerncare homes who are already asking when the next tournament is going to be. We believe this successful partnership will continue to benefit the lives of looked after children and look forward to working with FC United in the future.