Football Unites down the lane24 October 2004

FARE partner, Football Unites, Racism Divides showed their support for the FARE Action Week on Saturday 23 October. Staff and volunteers from the project distributed Stickers, Kick It Out fanzines and Show Racism the Red Card team posters at the Sheffield United Vs Plymouth match in the English Coca Cola Championship. Before the match, both sides warmed up in Kick It Out T-shirts. A “Blades Against Racism” banner was also paraded by young children whilst a tannoy announcement was made. At regular intervals throughout the match, the electronic scoreboard flashed up the message “Football Unites, Racism Divides – it's only the colour of the shirt that counts”. The official matchday programme also featured a two page spread on the positive work that the project does in the local community and how people can become involved.

The best however was left until halftime, during which two teams of ethnically diverse youngsters played a friendly match in front of the 19,000 Bramall Lane crowd. The youths had all received coaching from the project up at Sheffield United's training academy. They are proof of the untapped talent that exists out there in the black, Asian and asylum seeker communities.

Luis Silva, ex-Chilean international and Football Unites' head coach said,
“Everyone could see that the players possessed lots of skill and that they could play the game as it should be. Unfortunately, most of them don't participate in league games as they do not have clubs to play for. Three of our youngsters are currently on trial at the academy after we recommended them to Sheffield United. I would encourage all football team coaches to delve deeper into local communities to discover some very good players.”