A football team in Shrewsbury has received an early Christmas gift from a town businessman – their first ever brand new kit.
The Shrewsbury Up and Comers FC Eagles Under 12s team has been going for five years but has always relied on second hand kits from wherever they could find – never having their own identify or colours of their own.
But now a local businessman and former semi-professional footballer has sponsored the shirts for the whole team of 11-year-olds.
Rob Tolley, director of Fluid Network Solutions – a telecommunications firm in the town – decided to invest in the shirts for the team and went to see them train at Shrewsbury College.
“I have always been an advocate of getting to know local businesses, supporting causes and becoming involved in the local area in which you’re based,” he said.
“I have been in touch with the team and gotten to know them recently, I was really impressed with their values and attitude, it reflects exactly what Fluid is about.
“My football career started over in Birmingham, I then went on to play semi-professional for Solihull and Tamworth, among others, so football has always been a big part of my life.
“Fluid is at an exciting time right now as we start to franchise the business across the UK so I wanted to do something to demonstrate that I am still committed to Shropshire and our current customers too – you can’t get more local than your local football team.”
The team has been handed their new shirts with the Fluid Network Solutions logo boldly in place on their chest.
The Shrewsbury Up and Comers FC Eagles Under 12s were formed in 2011 at Under 8 level and are now in their 5th season.
They play in the Under 12-Green division of the Shropshire Junior Football League and by all accounts the squad of players are a committed team who always give their best.
Manager Dylan Stephens said: “We are really pleased Rob has decided to invest in us.
“It is a huge boost to the team and they have all said how great they think the new shirts are, they look very smart and everyone is pleased.
“Our main aim is to provide the opportunity for the players to develop their football and social skills in an enjoyable and safe environment.
“Developing friendships, teamwork, respect and fair play are the values so our new partnership with Fluid is ideal.”
Sharon Mapp, of Radbrook, whose son Joseph plays in the team, said: “They have been very excited, I think it is definitely important for local businesses to support teams like this and the boys are very grateful.”
Caroline Rees, assistant manager, said: “In five years they have never had their own kits, it has always been hand me downs from teams above and they are just so pleased. It is like an early Christmas present.”
Mr Tolley has long been committed to his local area – six years ago he helped set up Severn Business Network which continues to flourish today with over 30 members from across Shrewsbury, Telford and indeed the rest of Shropshire.
You can find out more about it here: http://www.