Shropshire’s Fire & Rescue Service, along with members of the Shrewsbury Police Force, had decided that this year the proceeds from their charity football match would be donated to Headway Shropshire. What a great surprise & what an even greater honour, that the emergency services of Shropshire would choose us to benefit from their efforts. We all know how hard these guys work to protect us, our homes & our community; so to find out that they would even give up some of their own free time to help a charity like ours was quite overwhelming.
The day of the big match arrived and the sun decided to shine on us & make for a glorious sunny summer afternoon. All were in good spirits, both supporters and players alike, we were all looking forward to the friendly game about to take place.
Now don’t get me wrong we all knew that for the Shrewsbury Police Force there was a matter of pride at stake, after their heavy defeat in the previous year’s charity football match. For the Fire Fighters there was the matter of an unbeaten record against the Police Force at stake. Just the second year into this wonderful annual charity event and there was all to play for, for both sides but we knew it would be friendly, that ambition and pride would not turn it into a game that was anything other than friendly!
The match kicked off, there was a whistle for a fashion disaster early on. The Referee was struggling to establish who was on what Team, so the Police Force were forced to turn their shirts inside out due to both teams turning up in strips that were similar. I don’t think this has ever happened at Old Trafford but in a spirit of good sportsmanship no one objected to a quick shuffling of shirts. And the match resumed. I would bring you a full run down of the action but unfortunately I no longer knew who was who as the reversal of shirts meant the Police Force no longer had numbers & of course we were playing in a charity match not at Stamford Bridge so names were not on shirts either. I could give you a detailed run down on the Fire Service’s play on a shirt number basis but it does seem unfair to the Police Force, who I could not include due to the absence of said numbers! So instead I think I shall sum up the game briefly & then leave you to look through the photos taken by ‘The Snige’, that luckily so brilliantly capture the spirit of the game.
The Fire Service came out fighting early with a superb opening goal, leaving the Police goalie with little he could do but make the best of picking the ball graciously out of the net! The Police Force then found a new incentive to take it up a notch...they were defending their pride! And play they did, unfortunately, although they pulled back a goal, they didn’t have the secret weapon that the Fire Service did....the nippy number 9 who reminded me of an ex Shrewsbury Town Player, Luke Rodgers, who in his first spell at Shrewsbury Town was often referred to as fast as a whippet & as tenacious as a terrier! A description that really could equally describe the Fire Services number 9, he was so quick & determined, just an outstanding player. Fortunately, when asked for our man of the match I was relieved this was the case, because, although I believe everyone played their hearts out & making a great contribution to the match, it would have been tricky to pick a Police Force player as man of the match due to the number issue...we would have had to have given man of the match to ‘Medium’ of the Police Force if it weren’t for Number 9 of the Fire Service!
After much enthusiasm and hard work the final result was a 2-1 win to the Fire Service, ensuring they kept their unbeaten record for this now annual charity event. It also ensured that the Fire Service could ridicule their rivals with an inflatable ‘dummy’ cup which they presented to them after they were presented the winner’s trophy! Either the Fire Service were completely convinced of their pending victory or just believers in being prepared to ridicule when given the chance, I just don’t know but it did ensure we all had a great giggle at the end & thankfully the Police Force were great sports & shared in the joke.
We not only want to sincerely thank our emergency service heroes for all the hard work they put in to making this a success or for the money that will be raised from this event but also for giving so many of our clients & staff a great day out. One client in particular was over the moon to be selected to give out the trophies after the match, I think Andy would like us to thank you on his behalf for making his day out really memorable, so thank you so much!