Homeless Centre in Bristol Win Football Tournament as Former England Captain - Mr Arsenal Presents Trophies

published on 10 Oct 2014


A Salvation Army centre for homeless people in Bristol has carried home the cup after competing against dozens of teams from across the country.   Hundreds of people from The Salvation Army’s centres for homeless people had the opportunity to learn skills from the legendary footballer Tony Adams MBE, nick-named “Mr Arsenal” by fans, (Thursday, October 9) as part of its annual five-aside football tournament in Birmingham.  

The former England captain presented the trophies to winning team Logos House in Wade Street, Bristol, as well as running a football master class in the afternoon. The former centre defender captained Arsenal to four league titles during a two-decade spell in north London and earned 66 England caps. Arsenal Football Club unveiled a statue honouring Adams outside the Emirates stadium in 2011 alongside statues of footballers Thierry Henry and Herbert Chapman.

People living in our Lifehouses often are facing a range of personal struggles which we support them to overcome. One of those struggles can be alcoholism. Adams also understands that particular situation. Adams admitted he was an alcoholic in the 1990s and his admission proved to be a turning point in his life. He has since founded the Sporting Chance Clinic to help sports men and women with addictions.    

Tony Adams MBE, said: “We’ve had a great day – it’s been fantastic to see the boost this tournament has given to people – many of whom are facing their own struggles – to see their confidence grow and have a great day.   “Football’s a great way to help build people’s confidence and it’s been fantastic to see people develop their team work skills.  

"The Logos House team did so well - it was brilliant to see some impressive skills at work!   “It’s also been fantastic to hear about some of the work The Salvation Army does with the homeless people they come into contact with – their dedication and compassionate support -and their work in helping people move on from alcoholism and addiction and get back on their feet.   “Having gone through my own journey from alcoholism – I’ve seen how important it is to have support and help to move on from it – it’s great to see The Salvation Army helps provide this for those that need it and in a way that values the contributions of the people they come into contact with. ”  

The Army’s Partnership Trophy is an annual event for homeless men and women living in Salvation Army Lifehouses and other supported housing units run by The Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA) at the Power League Stadium in Aston, Birmingham.   Last year a team from Logos House in Bristol won the trophy. It is hoped that this year’s winners will take to the field again later this year in a charity football game against 11 MPs and parliamentary staff.   

And former resident of Salvation Army Lifehouse – King’s Ripton Court in Huntingdon – Josh Brinkman – who played in last year’s Partnership Trophy, has now been selected to play on the England team of the Homeless World Cup.   

This year 30 teams took part in the Partnership Trophy – with people from Lifehouses across the country competing in the tournament and as far afield as Dundee, Dublin, Cardiff and Plymouth.  

Daniel England, 38, took the team up to Birmingham, and organises weekly football matches for current and former residents of the Lifehouse in Bristol. Daniel volunteered at Logos House, setting up the weekly football matches. He later became the centre’s receptionist and now works for Logos House as an early intervention worker. He said: “It was an absolutely brilliant day. There was torrential rain to begin with but then the sky cleared and it was a fantastic day. The guys are still buzzing this morning. Tony Adams signed all their football shirts which was great and he obviously has gone through some things himself so it was inspirational for them to hear from him and how he turned his life around."  

Major Howard Russell, The Salvation Army’s Deputy Territorial Director of Homelessness Services, said: “It was great to see many of the people who stay in our Lifehouses really enjoying themselves, gaining in confidence, and growing as a team today.  

“They were so excited to meet Tony Adams – and it gave them a real boost to get tips from him and to know he had watched them playing football.  

“To hear from him about his own journey through alcoholism was very encouraging for many of those who face their own struggles – it gave them a real boost! It was also great for them to get some tips from a former England captain to develop their football-playing skills.  

“We really believe the tournament benefits the homeless people we come into contact with. From promoting a healthy lifestyle to developing key life skills – it’s a really important event.”  

Last year, Peter Shilton – England’s most capped player, attended the tournament and the former goalie held a penalty shoot-out master class for those who attended.