Erik ten Hag and Terry Butcher join The Salvation Army In Cheering On Players At Football Tournament

Well-known names in football cheered on players at an annual football tournament run by The Salvation Army for people who are homeless including refugees.   

Manchester United Manager Erik ten Hag and former football manager and England captain Terry Butcher attended the five-a-side Partnership Trophy tournament held at Goals in Manchester. The tournament brought together over 20 teams from Salvation Army services across the UK with players a part of Lifehouses (hostels), outreach programmes, and Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA) services, all of which provide support for people who are homeless. 

This year’s tournament also saw the refugees and survivors of modern slavery who receive wide-ranging support at The Salvation Army’s safehouses taking part.  

Winning team Blue Nile from The Salvation Army’s Refugee Resettlement Service in the North West, took the top spot and Mr Butcher hosted a passing skills workshop for the players and presented the trophy to the winning team.  

Photograph by Peter Powell. 29 September 2022. This is the Salvation Arm Partnership Trophy 5 a-side football competition

The Partnership Trophy, which is run in collaboration between the church and charity and its subsidiary, SAHA, celebrates the achievements of players on and off the pitch and Terry Butcher, who captained the England team in the 1990 World Cup and played in three FIFA World Cups, gave a moving speech about his experience of tackling depression after he lost his son to suicide. 

Mr Butcher said: “This tournament is a great way of bringing good sportsmanship, good behaviour and good football together and the most important thing for everyone that took part was to enjoy it! The challenges that all of the players have overcome, and are still overcoming, is testament to their hard work and commitment to being the best that they can be.  

“I know from own experience that having people you can turn to is a huge help and The Salvation Army is a perfect example of how getting the right support can go a long way towards rebuilding lives. Fighting power was evident at the tournament from all teams, and you need that in life, never mind on the football pitch! 

“Everybody that took part is a winner, just for getting up and getting involved, but a big congratulations to Blue Nile, who showed skill and determination throughout the day. Everyone should be proud of themselves and what they  are overcoming every day.” 

Along with Mr Butcher, the tournament was also supported by the Guardiola Sala Foundation (GSF), a humanitarian charity set up by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and his family, who attended the event in 2019, and donated items to the players and supported travelling expenses to enable teams to attend from across the UK.  GSF also arranged for Manchester United manager, Erik ten Hag, to attend the event to cheer on the players and watch some of the matches. He said: “It was fantastic to attend today’s event in Manchester with The Salvation Army. The organisation does great work in supporting homeless people to rebuild their lives. 

“Homelessness is a difficult problem in our city and anything I can do to raise awareness by coming to events like this is important. It was great to see everyone playing football together, showing energy, spirit and teamwork to promote wellbeing.” 

Major Hilarie Watchorn, Assistant Director of the Homelessness Services Unit for The Salvation Army, said: “Our annual Partnership Trophy celebrates those we support through our homelessness services and all that they have overcome and indeed the journey that they are still on. Today has been a wonderful example of everyone coming together to work together and build on their experiences whilst boosting mental and physical health as well as social skills. 

“We’re thrilled that both Erik ten Hag and Terry Butcher could join us today and that they, along with Guardiola Sala Foundation, have supported us at this year’s event and send our heartfelt thanks to them all. It’s encouraging for our service users to see people giving up their time, not to mention a real boost to their self-esteem and confidence, seeing that they’re on the right path and there is hope for the future.”  

Written by: Luisa Dawe 

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