A Cheshire U14s side has hit a cash, kit and equipment jackpot after winning a national competition aimed at grass roots football clubs.
Football Trade Directory’s competition in partnership with The brmb Grass Roots Football Show, Gazelle Sports, The Non-League Paper and Quick Play Sport has a prize worth more than £3,000 and has been recognised by many at grass roots level as one of the biggest prizes in non-league football.
More than 2,000 clubs entered the competition and after the draw was made by Sheffield FC chairman Richard Tims this week, the lucky team has been revealed as Hartford Boys U14s.
Hartford Boys have been together more than seven years and currently play in the First Division of the Mid-Cheshire Youth League. They are managed by former Norwich City player Colin Woodthorpe, who also entered his team in the competition after visiting this year’s brmb Grass Roots Football Show.
Speaking to FTD Colin said: “This is fantastic news for the club, the boys will be delighted. You never expect to win something like this but we entered the competition at the Grass Roots Football Show and it’s brilliant that we have been picked.
“We’ve actually been mulling over whether to get a new kit this season or wait until next year so it’s great that we will have a new kit courtesy of Gazelle.
“The equipment provided by Quick Play Sport will certainly come in useful and will give us that professional edge in competition next season.”
Woodthorpe is also assistant manager at Blue-Square Conference side Colwyn Bay and is looking forward to next season with his fledgling Hartford Boys team.
“We’ve improved year on year and after finishing fourth in the division last year we have been entered into the County Cup for Cheshire, it’s kind of like playing in the Champions League. Winning this competition and the £3,000 prize is a massive boost ahead of the new season,” Woodthorpe added.
Speaking about the competition, which has seen an unprecedented amount of interest, Football Trade Directory’s Managing Director George Moss said: “We’ve been blown away by the success of this competition. We’ve had clubs from the Football League Championship all the way down to local Sunday league entering.
“Some of these clubs are surviving on a hand-to-mouth existence; one club manager said that if his club won the competition it would be like they had won the lottery – it would give a grass roots club a huge boost.
“I’d like to thank our partners, brmb Grass Roots Football Show, Non-League Football Paper, Gazelle Sports and Quick Play Sports for helping make this fantastic initiative possible.”
Ben Hatton, Director of the brmb Grass Roots Football Show said: “At a time when grass roots football clubs are finding it increasingly difficult to find sponsorship this competition has been a breath of fresh air.
“There was a real buzz around the competition at the brmb Grass Roots Football Show and to have over 2000 entries is fantastic.”
Steve Crosby director of Quick Play Sport was equally enthusiastic: “I didn’t have to think too hard when I was approached by John (Booth) of the Football Trade Directory to supply £1,000 worth of Kickster training equipment for the Grass Roots prize draw.
“Quick Play Sport has been set up with its main objective to create products to help players, coaches and clubs at every level, everywhere to improve and enjoy football. So it was a perfect fit!”
Sam Emery, Head of Sales at the Non League Paper went on to say: “The Non-League Paper is always looking to help grassroots clubs so when this competition arose we were more than happy to be involved. We are delighted with the success of the competition. Competitions like these are so important to Non-League football and we will always try to help as much as we can."