When Whitchurch Alport visited fellow top of the table chasing side City of Liverpool at the end of last month, they emerged with a 3-2 win against the league leaders.
However, the Shropshire side won plenty of friends on Merseyside by showing their support to City of Liverpool’s foodbank collection initiative, with a number of Alport players taking the chance to donate before the match.
City of Liverpool Press Officer Martin Stewart takes up the story.
“Whitchurch had been in a lot of conversation with us prior to the match on Twitter and their players, most notably skipper Simon Everall, had spotted the strong links we have with the campaign ‘Fans SupportingFoodbanks’ which is trying to create regular foodbank collections at all grounds in Merseyside and beyond.
“We’ve been running the scheme since our very first home match of the season and its main organisers, Paul O’Hanlon and Dave Kelly are amongst our regular crowd of ‘Purple Partisans’. The fans have really taken to it, but we didn’t expect an away side, let alone their playing staff to pick up on it too.
“We were delighted when Whitchurch contacted our chairman in the days leading up to the game to say their players wanted to bring a donation with them and the picture shows Simon and two of his teammates with just some of the food they brought with them on the night.
“Despite Whitchurch taking the points with two late goals, it was an incredible night for both clubs and a friendly bond has been formed between us that is still being acted out on Twitter weeks later.
“Both sides can’t wait for the rematch in Shropshire and despite them being in a battle with us for the promotion places this season we really wish them all the best in their campaign.
“Gestures like this are exactly what this level of football and this league is all about and we’d like to thank Whitchurch and their players for their generosity.
“There are those that don’t feel football has a role to play in issues like this, but we were created to be a community club that doesn’t just benefit the local community by giving them a football team to be proud of.
“We feel the club and its supporters can take direct action to give off the field benefits to all in our community too and the foodbank programme is just one in a whole series of initiatives we are running this year to create opportunities to do just that.
“The foodbank collections will take place at every home match we play this season, and we will gratefully accept donations of tinned and dried food, cereals, pasta, rice, sugar, tea, coffee and anything else anyone feels can help those in our society who are in the unfortunate position to need help.
“Even toiletries and cleaning materials are needed, and as the motto of the foodbank charity states, ‘Hunger Doesn’t Wear Club Colours’. So if you don’t want to donate to our collection, please get in touch with ‘Fans Supporting Foodbanks’ through Facebook or Twitter and ask them to help you set up a regular collection at your club too”.
Martin Wild, Press Officer at Whitchurch Alport said that the club were delighted to be able to show their support for the work being done at City of Liverpool.
“We knew all about the club’s initiative for games at the Delta Taxis Stadium, and they’re all about the community which is reflected in the huge gates they’ve been attracting there.
“We have been involved in pushing the football club towards a similar objective, raising in excess of £2,000 for local 9 year-old, Zac Harris, who suffers from cerebral palsy. So we decided to take along some non-perishable food items to Bootle, and to be honest, we didn’t expect the overwhelming response we got from CoL – especially after winning there with a late goal.”
Simon Everall, club captain at Whitchurch Alport, added: “We wanted to show that as a club, we had something about us; that we weren’t just a bunch of non-league footballers that don’t care.
“It’s a fantastic cause and it was important that we supported it as we take things for granted sometimes. To get the win was nice, but the way the City of Liverpool lads reacted after this one tiny gesture, was equally rewarding for all of us at Whitchurch Alport.
“They’re a class act and we can’t wait to host them at our place next month”.