The parliamentary football team faced fierce opposition from homeless champions at a charity five-a-side football match in London.
Two teams of residents from Bristol’s Logos House and London’s Booth House Lifehouses (homelessness centres) took on the MPs after securing their places as victors and runners up, respectively, at the October 2014 Partnership Trophy – a day of football in Birmingham for our Lifehouse and supported housing residents.
MPs were looking for a victory after a crushing 5-1 defeat in 2013 against Booth House (who are sponsored by Canary Wharf Group PLC).
UK Parliamentary Football Club team’s Karl McCartney, MP for Lincoln, said: ‘Today’s game has been tough but we’ve enjoyed rising to the challenge to take on the two teams. It’s been inspiring to meet our opposition and to hear how The Salvation Army has been supporting people as they rebuild their lives, tackle the issues they face and work towards independence.
‘It’s a great idea to use football to help increase confidence and teach valuable life skills, such as teamwork, and I’ve been really encouraged to hear about the variety of support offered by Salvation Army staff in doing this.’
The Football Association supported the event and arranged for Sky Sports News pundit and retired professional referee Dermot Gallagher to referee. The Salvation Army’s emergency service vehicle was pitchside to provide refreshments and Pret A Manger donated lunch.
On the day, Deputy Territorial Director of Homelessness Services Major Howard Russell spoke to BBC Radio Bristol about the match and the support The Salvation Army offers through various services and Tyrone, who had lived at a Bristol Lifehouse (residential centre), chatted about the day’s football and support he’d received – his interview with Vernon Harwood on the John Darvall show was excerpted on later news items.
Major Russell told Steve Le Fevre and Laura Rawlings on the Breakfast show that ‘Homelessness can lead to periods of isolation and feeling alone and football… can… help with team work, working together, a sense of community and encouraging each other… We think it’s really beneficial and this [was also an] opportunity [for our teams] to meet MPs to break down some of the labels we associate with homelessness – [it] doesn’t matter who we are, we’re normal people looking forward to having a really good day… We have no fear of the opposition… our lads are a tough bunch.’
The first footballers to play were the winners of our Partnership Trophy football competition in October 2014 – which brought together teams from Salvation Army residential centres and supported housing – they were also joined by the previous winners, Booth House Lifehouse (sponsored by Canary Wharf Group PLC).
Karl McCartney, MP for Lincoln, and Russell Brown, MP for Dumfries and Galloway, had parliamentary assistants and Sky Sports News pundit and retired referee Dermot Gallagher as part of their team.
The final scores were: MPs 13: Logos House 7; Booth House 8: MPs 5 (game 2).
You can listen to Major Russell’s interview for 28 more days on the BBC website – from 2 h 25 m 45 s.