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The Power of Football: Liverpool Homeless F.C

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Imagine waking up in a strange place every single day. When people imagine what homelessness looks like they picture an individual rough sleeping. The truth is, it could be a hostel, sofa surfing, a car, a park, an abandoned building, or maybe even a commercial bin. The daily struggle of gathering your life’s possessions and figuring out where your next meal is going to come from will eventually take its toll. This is the predicament that thousands of people across the UK face every day.

Through social media and various news reports more and more people are starting to notice the rising levels of homelessness, Rough sleepers are the visible face of homelessness, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. New figures show that there are more than 300,000 people officially recorded as homeless and one in three families are a month’s pay from losing their home.

The scale of the homelessness crisis is reaching epidemic levels and the problem now effects areas of society that go far beyond what people might imagine. There are many reasons including, but not limited to family breakdown, alcohol and substance abuse, relationship abuse, war and persecution and leaving care.

Since 2007, Liverpool Homeless FC have developed a unique and dynamic approach to making positive change on the lives of the regions homeless. LHFC is an FA Chartered Football Club which exists in affiliation with the Liverpool County FA and operates across the whole of Merseyside. The clubs Patron is former Premier League Referee – Chris Foy.

Liverpool Homeless FC was started by a group of like minded housing providers who felt that they could use football as a way of breaking the homelessness cycle and enhance the lives of some of Merseyside’s most vulnerable people.

One of the companies who was involved at its inception was New Start, a not for profit supported housing company based in Liverpool. New Start Director of Housing Ste Baynes has seen first-hand the opportunities that projects like this can offer. For many residents of such housing companies the opportunity to get active and be part of a team can provide the confidence and self-belief that they have been searching for.

Currently the LHFC league is made up of 18 homelessness organisations that operate across Merseyside, many of them hostels. Monthly ‘Match Days’ are held at the Powerleague Centre in Kirkdale, North Liverpool. Match Days are environments where players can express themselves and has seen players excel and even represent England at various Homeless World Cups around the world.

Once homeless and now England and Reading Ladies footballer Fara Williams has recently opened up about her struggles with homelessness and social exclusion. England’s most capped footballer overcame homelessness and forged a successful career in professional football. The former Chelsea, Charlton, Everton, Liverpool, and Arsenal midfielder was homeless for seven years, playing for England while moving into various hostels around London. Fara attributes football as her main reason for over coming homelessness and the focus and belief that she was good at something allowed her to succeed in her career and life.

While players dream of a chance to represent England and play for a professional club, Liverpool Homeless FC is about much more than that –  inspiring societies socially excluded to feel accepted and become involved. By building issues such as homelessness, social integration, and employability into their football programme LHFC have had the ability to affect the lives of many people across Merseyside.

There are many football projects like Liverpool Homeless FC across the country which continue to have successful outcomes. None of this would be possible without the generosity and compassion of thousands of individuals, organisations, and companies, who give their time, funds, and goods to give an opportunity for some of society’s most vulnerable people. Since establishing the league, LHFC have broken many myths and stereotypes that surround the homeless and have successfully helped many players to access training & education opportunities as well as seeing them enter long term accommodation.

Scotlands homeless World Cup winning team

The success of LHFC is testament to all of the players and what they have achieved in spite of the barriers presented by homelessness and social exclusion.

If you are interested about LHFC’s work please visit: liverpoolhomelessfootballclub.com

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Liverpool vs Roma – A throwback 1984

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As a Tuesday night unfolded in both Manchester and Rome the watching masses had a feeling that the two triumphant sides on the night were destined to be drawn against each other in the Semi Finals of the Champions League.

Klopp’s Kop had seen off City, following up an impressive 1st leg lead with another victory at The Etihad despite a lot of early home pressure. Over in Italy a modern-day miracle was happening, Roma were overturning a 4-1 deficit and were 3 up against a Messi led Barcelona. They held on and the raucous celebrations began right through until Friday’s draw.

Out came Bayern vs Real and left us with the tie we all just knew was going to happen, all things pointed to it as soon as both final whistles went.
Coutinho knocked out, Dzeko and Kolarov through, A Mo Salah return and of course a replay of the 1984 European Cup Final.

The side have met on 3 previous occasion but none more important than the final of this renamed and revamped competition back in 1984.


On that night Liverpool would go on to secure their 4th title before waiting nearly two decades to once again add to that list with that famous night in Istanbul, also against Italian opposition.
The game was decided on penalties after a 1-1 stalemate through 90min and Extra time. A goal from Phil Neal gave Liverpool the lead before an equalizer from Pruzzo just before half time.
After Nicol’s miss early in the shootout it was subsequent failures from Conti and Graziani that handed the Merseyside club the trophy.


Now if you rewind to the Semi-Finals of that season you’ll see an anticipated battle of Britain on the cards.

Roma were up against then Scottish Champions Dundee United and with the showpiece in their own backyard felt it was their right to line up at the Stadio Olimpico as one of the finalists.

The first leg ended 2-0 at Tannadice Park, meaning that Roma had to win by three clear goals to progress to the final. Roma did indeed score three goals to win the tie 3–0 and progress to the final, by virtue of a 3–2 aggregate victory.
In 1986, it emerged that Roma attempted to bribe referee Michel Vautrot with £50,000 before the match

 

The Italian club were suspended from European football for a season, and their chairman, Dino Viola, was banned from official UEFA activities for four years. The referee maintained that he never received the £50,000 – some claimed that the middleman did a runner with the money – but in 2011, Riccardo Viola, the chairman’s son, shed new light on the mystery. He told of a dinner on the eve of the match, when Vautrot was alleged to have informed them, in coded language, that the deal had been done.

Sadly this potentially historic final never materialised and we’ll never know if history for all of the clubs involved could have been changed forever.

There is still a link that holds this whole thing together in the shape of Andy Robertson, A former Dundee United defender that will line up against the once money paying Romans.
There is no doubt that Liverpool will head into the tie as favourites and perhaps it would be some level of comfort for British or maybe just Scottish football if the Italians suffered just like their Scottish counterparts at the same stage of the competition all those years ago.

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Managers – Are the casualties being looked after?

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The latest high profile manager to go was Alan Pardew at West Brom. He leaves the baggies a country mile from safety having guided them to just one solitary victory under his charge.


Rumours are that Pardew is departing with a £500k golden handshake for his “efforts” and this is not the 1st time that he, like many others, will have received a huge pay out for a performance deemed underwhelming by a board of directors. This of course, is at the highest level and with a guaranteed opportunity at another job in a few months’ time. But what about lower down the chain?

Last week we saw the devastating news announced about former Crawley Town Manager Dermot Drummy’s death back in November 17. An inquest has concluded that the former Chelsea youth coach had taken his own life.


Drummy, 56 had been seeking counselling for his “low mood” after parting company with the League Two side just a few months prior. Now let’s be honest being dismissed at this level is totally different to the riches of the PL or the top end of the Championship for that matter.
Guys like Drummy have been hard working coaches, craving a shot at being a number one and just because it doesn’t work out doesn’t make them poor managers. They are dealing with a totally different set of circumstances that a lot with similar job specs will never understand.
Take a look at this extract from a local journalist following the sacking:-

“The appointment of Drummy, whose background was as a vastly experienced development coach, was an interesting one, not least in terms of the style of football he had pledged to instil.
“The early signs were promising, with the club reaching fifth place by mid-October and fans clearly appreciative of the brand of football on offer.”

A glowing reference for a man just weeks into a role and this story got us thinking, what becomes of some of the under the radar sackings lower down the divisions and what becomes of some of the managers. Just how are they looked after? As this clearly shows that Drummy slipped through the net.
A staggering 45 mangers in the professional leagues in England have lost their jobs this season. A near 50% sack rate and we’re yet to reach the business end where key promotions, relegations and ultimately fates are decided.


The LMA is supposed to play a key role in looking after its members, now they do have a “Mental Health” awareness section… Let’s just inform you that it is situated in the 4th category and the 7th subject down on their list. They do however provide a managerial performance table right there on the homepage. A proper own goal from where we’re sitting!

Some other cases include that of Martin Ling and Neil Lennon both of whom have admitted to having their own personal battles, It also looks like we’ll never know just what triggered Gary Speed’s decision on that terrible day.

With all the money in the game we love, every available penny should go towards protecting the people that actually make the game what it is.
They should be rewarded for their services and utilised accordingly even if that is providing local level coaching to grass roots and their salaries are covered by governing bodies.
We don’t want to be reading more stories like the tragic one of Dermot Drummy.
RIP

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Englishman trying to make amends for fans behaviour in Amsterdam.

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An Englishman living in Amsterdam has gone to great lengths — or depths — to right the wrongs o.

 Lance Roberts jumped into action after seeing the videos of an England fan throwing a bike into one of Amsterdam’s canal.

Amsterdam police chiefs described the England fans behaviour as “appalling” ahead of the friendly match last Friday.

Roberts, who has lived in Amsterdam since 1991, later took his boat on the canal and fished out the sunken bicycle.

Roberts’ good deed was spotted by locals and was later gave an interview with Amsterdam broadcaster AT5.

“It was mainly shame, I felt ashamed and I wanted to do something positive,” said Roberts, 48, talking about what sparked him into action. “It was one of these small acts of diplomacy, I wanted to put the bike back.”

“It’s been a positive reaction from people in Amsterdam,” the father-of-two told Euronews. “I think everyone needed a good news story after that.

“The English people who are living here can feel like they can hold their heads up a little bit higher.

“There’s at least some evidence of another side of the English nature.”

The self-employed carpenter said he was also moved to act because his two-year-old’s creche is near where the incident happened.

“I went down to pull the bike out because my kid goes to a creche there and we’d walked past them the night before on the way home,” he continued. “The bike had a kid’s seat on it and I saw that and thought: ‘that could be someone I know or one of the other parents’. In Amsterdam, that’s a family’s transport.”

The troubles saw 100 England fans being arrested over the two days.

“The behaviour of a large number of England supporters was appalling,” said deputy chief constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) head for football policing. “Any attempts to downplay it are wide of the mark.

“The sad fact is that the drunken mob’s behaviour reinforces the negative stereotype of England supporters, and will impact on the treatment all fans can expect when they follow the team abroad.”

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