For those of you who might follow the column my apologies for missing a month it’s been a strange time for me, my family and close friends and knocked me off line a little. Dealing with more than one serious illness hitting people you love and care about can be pretty traumatic at times. One is bad enough but over recent weeks the list hit harder, A brother in law with Cancer and two close friends who recently discovered siblings or a parent had it. A former player with MND and of course more in the public eye young Bradley lowery who has sadly passed on the day of me writing this . These are all people connected in some way shape or form to my life through football. And I know there are more. I also never forget how many people around the world face this on a daily basis.
Therefore, events like our recent SFCA day for coaches connected to our former president Sir Bobby Robson had even more effect on me. Listening to Mark Robson and seeing a video of Sir Bobby in relation to his foundation supporting Cancer Research was meaningful, talk that an actual cure for at least one form of cancer was close. We were as well as continuing the legacy of coach education through our voluntary organisation there raising funds for the foundation and long may that continue, at least to a point where it is no longer about finding cures because we found them all. Impossible dream maybe? But a dream I want to have and believe in.
On July 9th, this year I will be involved as Joint coach of a team representing my former player who was diagnosed a few years ago with another crazy and horrible disease MND possibly recognisable by you through Stephen Hawking and the movie. A game to raise funds for two guys suffering the disease who met during treatment and players and friends who played alongside and are close to them. A privilege for me to be there and another thing football can achieve, raising awareness and fundraising for these causes that need every help we can provide.
Of course, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the recent Grenfell Estate tragedy also at this time and I want to praise the work of our emergency services and all the volunteers including a former player from my Charlton WFC days Eartha Pond who has led the campaign supporting the people in an articulate and determined fashion typical of her persona and beliefs. Again, members of the Football community have played a part in helping these families. I am sure with the money involved in the game it could easily be more but there have been some pretty substantial commitments from clubs and players alike.
I really hope next month to be discussing happier times and looking forward to talking about the new season and how pre-season is greeted and seen in the WSL as well as the upcoming WOMENS EUROPEAN FINALS in the Netherlands which will be covered live by Channel 4. The home nation England are one of the favourites certainly to reach the final. The first game is on the 19th against the Auld enemy Scotland who have reached their first finals. I am sure they will fight hard but are missing some key players like Kim Little of Arsenal through injury and England will be hot favourites to win that one. My dark horses for the tournament & ones to watch are Spain, who have been developing as fast as any in the women’s game through their youth programmes. Enjoy and apologies for the earlier sadness but life is life and one thing I know for certain now is “WE NEED TO LIVE IT “