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University and Local Clubs Set to Mark National Football Day

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The University of Worcester will join clubs and venues throughout the country next Saturday (August 10) in marking Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day.

Organised by the Football Association (FA) as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations, the day – named in honour of the legendary former England manager - will see around 150 events designed to encourage people to come together in celebration of the national game.

The University of Worcester, Oldbury Park Tigers Football Club, Worcestershire Disability Football Club (WDFC) and the Worcestershire FA will jointly stage an introduction to football event for girls and disabled players at the St John’s campus.

David Millbery, Oldbury Park Tigers Club Development Officer, explains: “When we were asked to pitch ideas to the Worcestershire FA for National Football Day events, we were very determined to stage something that would reach out and be inclusive to traditionally under-represented groups – girls and players with disabilities.

“As a club, we already had an agreement in place with Worcestershire Disability Football Club and we thought this was a great opportunity to reach out and engage with people, and hopefully get more locals girls and people with disabilities playing football.”

The day is open to anyone and will see qualified coaches and student volunteers take training sessions between 11am and 3pm on the University’s astro turf pitches.

It is hoped that the event will help swell the numbers of young females and disabled people who currently play the game – competitively or otherwise – in Worcestershire.

Derek Cunningham, from WDFC, says: “Our main aim for the day is to reach out to all those with a disability who may not have easy access to sport, or think that sport is something they can’t participate in.

“The motto for the day is: ‘You don’t know until you try’ – we need to use this opportunity to convince under-represented groups, such as girls, that sport is for all, and anyone with a will and appropriate support can become fully engaged members of the football community.”

Despite what Derek describes as ‘excellent’ support for the club from the Worcestershire FA, the number of disabled people playing football in the county is proportionately much lower than in other areas.

One group in particular which organisers would like to encourage to turn out for the day is blind and partially sighted players – with specially adapted training drills and games planned.

Craig Williams, Sports Coaching and Development Manager at the University of Worcester, says: “As the University of Worcester, we are delighted to be involved in the Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day.

“The day promises to provide an excellent opportunity to promote grassroots football inclusion and I am sure that the event will inspire a new generation of players, coaches, referees and volunteers in the county.”

Any players interested in taking part in the National Football Day event can register their interest and get further details at www.wdfc.org/aug10day.html.