Premier League club Everton FC and one of its sponsors Davanti have come to the rescue of a grassroots football club in Liverpool following an arson attack. Tony McDonough reports
Everton FC and one of its sponsors Davanti Tyres have joined forces to help a grassroots football club that was hit by an arson attack.
MSB Woolton FC, who boasts 151 teams at their Camp Hill base in south Liverpool, were devastated after storage units packed with all their goalposts, balls, cones, boots and bibs, were set ablaze last month.
Club volunteers quickly reacted by fundraising, which has now been boosted by a generous £3,000 donation from Davanti Tyres, Everton’s official global tyre partner, whose roots are in Merseyside.
While the volunteers and parents gather equipment for training sessions, youngsters from a couple of MSB Woolton’s junior teams were invited for a special coaching experience at Finch Farm courtesy of Everton’s Academy.
The sessions gave youngsters access to elite coaching and some of the best facilities available in the game, while also giving the club manager and volunteers the surprise of a financial boost from Davanti Tyres.
Colin Windrow, club manager at MSB Woolton, said: “We didn’t know about this donation and I’m blown away by the generosity. There’s a strong bond between us and Everton and some good friends of mine there asked ‘how can we help?’.
“All of a sudden, we’ve put on this fantastic evening for these fortunate young children – and our next step is to spend this money on the children and get the club back to a level where we can build again going forwards.
“It’s been an incredible response to what happened. Everyone has come together and the grassroots community of football has convinced me to say ‘let’s go again’.”
Colin recalled: “It was a few weeks ago when I got the call from the Police and the Fire Brigade, saying our hut, which has been housing all our equipment for the past 30-odd years, had burned down.
“When I went to Camp Hill and saw the devastation, I had a little cry. All the balls, the goals and even the boots, which we have an exchange for, because children can’t afford them, had all melted.
“From being so down, to where we are now is just amazing and the community spirit has been just unbelievable.”
MSB Woolton can lay claim to being the largest grassroots club in Europe, with teams ranging from U4s to U17s, multiple girls and women’s, disabled and veterans’ teams, and 284 volunteers helping to ensure things run smoothly.
Chris Saunders, UK Brand Manager for Davanti Tyres, revealed a personal interest in helping to get the football club back on track.
He said: “I live locally and as a kid I played football for Woolton at Camp Hill, where the incident occurred.
“When the news came through it was very shocking, so it means a lot more to help out. We are a big, global brand but our roots are local, so any opportunity we get to give back to the local community, we take.”