Before the kick-off, the event’s organiser - Mossend FC Secretary Billy McQueen, said, “Why are we doing this? Well, raising money for charity is a first for us. We are normally working very hard at raising funds for our own team. However, recently one of the boys in our 2002 squad was diagnosed with leukaemia. Thankfully he is now in remission. He did spend a lot of time at Yorkhill, where he received his treatment.”
He continued, “Our League, The Lanarkshire Football Development League have chosen Yorkhill as their charity of the year. So with both, we felt that we would like to do something to help and we came up with a football day, doing what we love and giving Yorkhill the benefit of it. We are calling it Kids, doing it for the Kids.”
Blantyre Boys Club, Calderbraes FC, EKFC, Mill United, Milton Rovers and of course Mossend FC took part and all the teams donated £35 per team to the charity. Each side entered two teams who played a half each in every match. Normally every participant would get a small memento of the day to take away with them, but all the teams and kids that took part on the day agreed to go without the memento to allow the event to raise as much as possible for Yorkhill.
One team, Calderbraes FC, even agreed to give a donation for every goal they scored. Billy said, “We need to make sure that they score a barrow load!”.
As for the action itself, the football was very good. The kids displayed a range of slick passing, communication and tactical awareness that is way beyond their years.
Mill United’s Jack Dunsmore caught the eye with excellent close control as did Blantyre’s entire squad. Mill United’s goalkeeper Robbie Hemfrey spent most of the morning making world-class saves and Mosspark keeper Caleb McDowell made an eye catching stop when he touched a fierce drive onto the crossbar.
The first round of matches saw EKFC take on Mill United and from the whistle EK were on the attack, leading to some excellent saves from Hemfrey.
EK eventually took the lead with a long distance screamer and it needed to be to beat the keeper who was playing a blinder. Shortly after, Mill United equalized after a defensive error before EK made it went ahead again with a drive from close range. EK struck again but then Mill United turned on the style and scored three quick goals, with Jack Dunsmore scoring a hat trick. EK scored again at the death.
Blantyre BC v Mossend FC ended in favour of Blantyre despite some excellent saves by Mossend keeper Caleb McDowell. In their next game, against Milton Rovers, Blantyre racked up another impressive display, through some well organised and ruthless football.
Calderbraes FC then played Mossend FC and the hosts took an early lead through an unconventional chested goal from a deep corner kick. Shortly after, they scored again after a goalmouth scramble. The early lead gave Mossend the drive to dominate the early stages and before long they scored again after a well placed shot into the bottom corner of Calderbraes net. A spirited Calderbraes fight back was then forthcoming, nearly producing an equalizer.
In the final round of games, Mill United took on Mossend FC and again Mossend took the lead with a great solo effort - a run from the halfway line before the youngster picked his spot in the bottom corner. Goals at both ends followed, with neither team able to see off the other in a six goal thriller, which in the end was a fair result.
Throughout the tournament, parents, coaches and even passers-by out walking their dogs gave generous donations time and time again further to the entry fee they had already paid to get in. Their generosity was only matched by their support as they cheered the teams on from start to finish.
Organiser Billy McQueen said, “The event has been great, everything has run smoothly and the football has been excellent. We were aiming for £500 but it looks like we’re closer to £600 now.”
In the end, the event raised over £800 for Yorkhill and was a marvellous success. Football is more than just a game because it stirs so much emotion and pride within people; it is capable of achieving so much. Following the final games, each of the teams posed side by side for photographs and there was a real sense of unity in achievement within the youngsters. They had put on a great tournament, raised a lot of money for Yorkhill and earned the well deserve applause from the fans. So when the ‘Kids, doing it for kids’ tournament came to an end, who were the overall winners? The answer to that is kids.