Salvation Army football match

Paul Merson and Juan Mata cheer on Pickfords at Salvation Army football match

26 Sep 2021

Pickfords sponsors a five-a-side football event to help the homeless.

Manchester United star Juan Mata and former Arsenal and England player Paul Merson cheered on players at the tenth annual Salvation Army football tournament for people who are homeless.

The five-a-side Partnership Trophy tournament held at Goals in Manchester brought together 15 teams from across UK Salvation Army Lifehouses (supported accommodation for people who are homeless) and homelessness services, with the aim to celebrate their achievements on and off the pitch.

Pickfords sponsored the event and submitted a team which included; Craig Wilson, Gareth Hardwidge, David Cooper, Graeme Hardie, Mitchell Taylor, Bradley Taylor, Mark Robinson.

Stephen Davies, Adam Wilding, and John Sammon from our corporate account HCR.

Paul, who was capped 21 times by England and is now a pundit on Sky Sports, spoke movingly about his experiences with addiction and his career, and played for Pickfords in our quarter final.

Pickfords reached the final of the competition and was drawn against Wallace of Campsie House from Glasgow. On the day we lost to a goal and were presented with runner up medals by Juan Mata Our top goal scorers were David Cooper and Bradley Taylor.

Paul Merson, who has spoken candidly about his gambling addiction in his book Hooked, said: “It was a great competition with the players showing real team spirit.

“Many of the players have been or will still be going through a tough time, so I wish them all the best for the future. I know from my own experience that having people you can turn to is a huge help. The staff and the volunteers at The Salvation Army are doing a wonderful job in supporting them and bringing everyone together for this tournament is a great example of that.”

After the trophy ceremony Juan Mata said: “It was a great experience and I enjoyed seeing what The Salvation Army do and witnessing the power of football to make people happy.”

Graeme Hardie, spokesperson and team coach for Pickfords, said: “It has been great to be part of this event. The Pickfords team has thoroughly enjoyed the day and we will continue to support The Salvation Army and its volunteers to raise money for this worthy cause.”

Lorrita Johnson, director of The Salvation Army’s Homelessness Services, said: “What an exciting day of football with the players giving it their all. It was a great opportunity to bring together our service users, staff and volunteers who have all shown resilience during what has been a challenging 18 months. Paul Merson said a day like this brings people together. Addiction wants you to be alone but when you’re around other people it helps – that’s what today is all about.

“The Partnership Trophy is part of a holistic approach which helps residents with their recovery and mental health. It plays a key role in helping them move on from the causes of homelessness, such as addiction, poor mental health or trauma.

“Our thanks go to Paul and Juan Mata for supporting the players and The Salvation Army today, as well as our sponsors The Guardiola Sala Foundation, alongside Puma and Unilever, and Pickfords Removals, the players and staff team that contributed towards a great day.”

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