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Non League side get Topps sponsor

Ifield Youth Football Club – which has spent months collecting aluminium cans to exchange for cash – has been offered sponsorship by Topps Tiles.

The cans are being collected as a way of generating money to keep the club going.

The club's can collection ended in near diaster when most of their stockpile was stolen before Christams. But after seeing the article, Glenn Claridge, manager of  the local Topps Tiles offered to sponsor one of the club's teams.

Mr Claridge, who is a big supporter of youth football, said: "I saw the difficulties they were having and wanted to do something to help.

"My nine-year-old son plays in a youth team and I try to watch him as often as I can.

"I'm a big football fan. I support Tottenham but I live in Brighton and now work in Crawley so I follow those teams as well."

Topps Tiles has a national sponsorship programme for local teams.

Kits are provided in exchange for the company logo being displayed on the shirts. The team will also receive a kit bag and a match ball.

An information board, detailing how the team is doing, will be displayed in the company's Crawley store and Mr Claridge has offered to attend some of their matches.

Club secretary Martin Thompson said: "It's fantastic news. Glenn is a big football fan and seems keen to get involved.

"I've spent every spare hour crushing cans and, despite the setbacks with the thefts, we've collected an incredible amount.

"I've been working so hard to raise enough money to pay for running costs and kits so this is a great gesture."

The original offer was to have the team change from a traditional red home kit to the blue and yellow colours of Topps Tiles.

However, the company agreed to supply next season's away kit instead as the football club's other teams will still be wearing red.

The club has collected more than 250 bin bags of cans, the majority of which have been crushed by Mr Thompson.

It is estimated that there could be a total of more than 100,000 cans now stored away.

In May, the cans will be delivered to a recycling depot and exchanged for cash.

Mr Thompson added: "The sponsorship will go some way to helping but the kits are being provided for one team.

"We've got nine teams in total so the money we get from recycling the cans is still important."

KY

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