"over 50’s Muratti match"
TWO charities that care for some of the Channel Islands’ most physically disabled people are to benefit from the first ever over 50’s Muratti football clash. The match in aid of Jersey Cheshire Home and Guernsey Cheshire Home will take place at Springfield Stadium on Friday 11 May with a 6.30 pm kick off and will feature some well-known names from local football of the past.
Everyone who dons the famous red and green jerseys of the respective islands will pay £100 as a donation to the two sister charities, which are both part of the international division of Leonard Cheshire Disability.
There will be no charge at the gate but there will be pitch side collections and also an informal fundraising dinner afterwards at St James Wine Bar in order to try and boost the amounts raised.
The idea came about as a result of the close Cheshire Home connections of the founders of the popular over-50s football team, the Guernsey Super Veterans (GSV).
GSV chair Paul Ockleford has been a board member of Guernsey Cheshire Home since the middle of last year and the chair of the Sarnian charity is fellow GSV player Rob Sheppard.
Among their Jersey contacts were St Peter FC stalwart and boss of CI Engravers Jon Welsh, who managed the Island’s junior side at the same time as Ockleford held that job in Guernsey. They spoke about the possibility of an over 50s Muratti when they both watched a St Peter match in Guernsey last year and the idea moved on from there. Jon recruited Jersey Cheshire Home’s head of physiotherapy Steve Martin to help and they have brought together a team that will be managed by former Jersey FA Team boss Kevin McCarthy.
Kevin was a member of a group who undertook the Trek Patagonia challenge in November last year in aid of Jersey Cheshire Home, which raised about £85,000 towards the £2 million refurbishment and extension project known as the Big Build at the Jersey home at Rope Walk in St Helier.
Guernsey boss Phil Corbett is another well-known name in local football, who has also managed past Muratti teams for the green and whites.
Jon Welsh said that it is hoped that the game will become an annual fixture and already the GSV are ready to invite a Jersey team over to play a triangular tournament with England over 50s in September.
The GSV team was affiliated with the Guernsey FA in November last year and was set up to provide opposition to an England over 50s team that wanted to play in Guernsey. Initially there were 16 players available to GSV who each played two thirds of the first game.
However, Paul Ockleford said that the popularity of over 50s football had grown significantly and between 40 and 50 players now meet monthly for an 11 a side game. ‘The benefits of playing and being involved have surprised me and the comments of enjoyment, feeling healthier by joining in are nice to hear,’ he said.
Jersey FA marcomms manager Joseph Smith said: ‘The Jersey FA is delighted to support this historical fixture in aid of two incredible charities. We would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard behind the scenes to get this fixture on. I now hope the public will come out in force to support both teams.’