Motherwell FC is to become the latest club in Scotland to embrace amputee football when the Club hosts an open training session as part of Amputee Football Association Scotland's #LegOffGameOn Roadshow.
Motherwell FC Community Trust has hooked up with Amputee Football Association Scotland (AFAS), the new Scottish charity set up to grow the sport north of the border, to invite anyone with an amputation or congenital limb difference to come and try the sport on Sunday 10 September at Fir Park.
In the spotlight
Awareness around amputee football rocketed in Scotland when one-legged man Tommy McKay (32) scored a wonder goal in the half time challenge against Dunfermline at Tannadice in November. The amazing clip was viewed by more than TWO MILLION people on social media, with the man of the moment Tommy, who plays for Partick Thistle Amputees, receiving worldwide attention and an enviable fan base.
Tommy's super strike put the plight of new charity, Amputee Football Association Scotland, into the limelight, an organisation for which Tommy has since become an invaluable ambassador. And now the charity has hooked up with Motherwell FC Community Trust to kick off its #LegOffGameOn Scottish Roadshow - to help raise awareness of the sport and ultimately develop a league.
There are now two clubs offering amputee football training in Scotland, namely Partick Thistle in Glasgow and Dundee United. The teams were established by AFAS, which was set up in October 2016. While provision is made for disability football of varying disciplines by the Scottish Football Association (SFA), amputee football had not previously existed in Scotland. AFAS has seen a surge in demand and there are now well-established teams in both Glasgow and Dundee who are due to go head to head in an East Vs West clash later in the year.
Amputee Football has existed south of the Border since 1987 and is supported by the England Amputee Football Association. Amputee teams can be found at clubs including Manchester City, Arsenal, Brighton, Portsmouth, Peterborough and Everton. But with plans to take the sport to clubs across Scotland, AFAS aims to create Scotland's own amputee football league.
The charity is endorsed by the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and has enjoyed the backing of Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill MBE, Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon and Jags boss Alan Archibald, each of whom has championed the work of the charity in recent months. Edinburgh based O'Neill visited Partick Thistle Amputees as guest coach last year and has supported the growth of the sport in Scotland. Hearts owner Anne Budge recently gave the charity her backing to launch in the Scottish capital and a taster session will soon be held at Tynecastle.
AFAS sent a Scottish squad to Holland in June for its European debut, where the team faced amputee teams from Germany and The Netherlands in a tri-nation tournament in the city of Breda, marking the first-time Scotland has been represented on the European stage in amputee football. The charity also funded two of its junior squad to attend the European Amputee Football Federation junior camp in Warsaw, Poland in July where they joined 60 other young amputees from across nine countries to learn the skills of the game and make new friends.
Dawn Middleton, Community Manager at Motherwell FC Community Trust, commented: "We're excited to be supporting Amputee Football Association Scotland in helping raise awareness of the sport. We have terrific facilities here which lend themselves perfectly to the game and we would encourage anyone with an amputation or limb difference to come along and give it a try."
Ashley Reid, founder and CEO of Amputee Football Association Scotland, commented: "Amputee football is a new discipline in Scotland so to see our player numbers grow so rapidly in such a short time is testament to the demand that exists for the sport. Motherwell FC Community Trust has an enviable disability football programme and the club was quick to contact us about hosting a taster session.
Our aim is to provide the opportunity for anyone with an amputation or limb difference to play football on a level playing field in a fun and safe environment."
Anyone with an upper or lower amputation or limb difference is invited to attend the taster session on Sunday 10 September from 11-1pm at Fir Park Astro.
Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan visited Fir Park on Friday 21 July, the 40th stadium on his "Pipeathon" initiative for charity. Stuart piped at every professional ground in Scotland, starting at the home of Greenock Morton and ending at Hampden Park.
Stuart, who is the Scottish Parliamentary Piper plays official events for and on behalf of the Parliament, played the pipes at each SPFL ground over the course of 5 days in July to raise money for a number of charities.
All donations raised will be divided equally for three charities: Cash for Kids, Clydeside Action on Asbestos and the Andy Adams Fund. Andy Adams is an Inverclyde firefighter whose life has been irrevocably changed due to an incident he was involved in whilst on duty.
Commenting on his charity drive, Stuart said:
"I am always willing to do my bit to contribute in any way I can and, as the Scottish Parliament piper and a football fan, I thought that this would be a great way to combine my favourite hobbies to raise money for some very worthy causes.
All monies raised will be split equally for three charities: Cash for Kids, Clydeside Action on Asbestos and the Andy Adams Fund. I am delighted that all three organisations are happy to receive any financial support that I can help raise, and they have supported this undertaking from the get-go.
I want to thank all the football clubs and the Scottish fire and rescue service who are taking part in this initiative."
Up to 80 children from the Motherwell area will be playing football this summer thanks to a £3000 donation from the Radio Clyde Cash for Kids charity and money raised by staff and customers of Asda in Lanarkshire.
The financial award has been made to the Motherwell Football Club Community Trust, which is running Grass Roots summer camps for children from some of Scotland's most deprived areas.
The donation will fund up to 80 places throughout the summer and will provide lunches for every child attending.
Debbie Fraser, Regional Charity Manager for Radio Clyde Cash for Kids said: "Summer is a time when many children are at their most vulnerable because schools are closed. They are out of their daily routine and very often miss out on the important meal they receive when they are at school. The Motherwell Football Club Community Trust's summer camps fill a vital gap in many children's lives during the summer and, with the amazing fundraising efforts by our friends at Asda in Lanarkshire, we're delighted to be able to help fund places for up to 80 kids."
Dawn Middleton, Motherwell FC Community Trust General Manager, said: "Motherwell Football Club Community Trust is delighted to be supported by Cash for Kids to enable us to bring our summer programme to more children in Lanarkshire. As a charity, we strive to keep prices for all our activities as low as possible; support from Radio Clyde's Cash for Kids has widened opportunities for young people to come along for fun, healthy activity over summer. I cannot thank them enough for their support."
Jason Martin, Senior Director West of Scotland, Asda said: "Asda stores are at the heart of their communities so we are delighted that some of the fundraising our colleagues and customers have raised for Radio Clyde Cash for Kids will be used to support children in Lanarkshire at such an important time of the year."
Asda has been a key fundraising partner for Radio Clyde Cash for Kids for over 10 years raising over £2 million which has been distributed to children's projects in the local communities of each store in west central Scotland.
Since 1980, Radio Clyde Cash for Kids has raised over £35 million and helped more than £1.8 million of the West of Scotland's most deprived children.