A football tournament unlike any other will kick off in Wigan this summer.
It might be made up of amateur players and little-known teams, but the Atherton Charity Shield is arguably the most important football tournament to take place all year.
In June, three days’ worth of fixtures will go towards raising crucial funds and food donations that could change lives for the better.
Atherton-born sports student Chris Colgan developed the idea after watching England star Marcus Rashford battle child poverty in Manchester and beyond – realising he could use his love of football to help deprived families in his own local community.
Chris worked with Manchester Creative Collective Marketing (MCCM) owner Richard Renda to set up a sports tournament that would raise money for those who needed it – earning the backing of FareShare, Sky Sports, Andy Burnham, Mitre Sports, SikSilk Clothing, and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation in the process.
As plans for the tournament were put in place, an opportunity arose to support another cause: Raising awareness of the journey of a young girl called Holly.
The daughter of Chris and Richard’s mutual friend, Holly was diagnosed with a very rare genetic condition called Bloom Syndrome in 2020 – causing immune deficiency, growth impairment and sensitivity to sunlight. Not long after Holly’s diagnosis, she was sadly diagnosed with a Wilm’s Tumour (kidney cancer).
Holly’s parents Mark and Jenny have since begun a research campaign to find information about the impact this will have on Holly throughout her life – and what can be done to help.
Now, as well as battling food poverty, the Atherton Charity Shield will generate money for Holly and her family to attend the vital Bloom Syndrome conference in Chicago.
Chris said: “‘It’s been crazy the amount of kind comments and support we’ve been shown by everyone.
“We still have more really exciting news to announce and some great guests for the event. We are pushing out information daily via Facebook, Insta and Twitter so that’s where people can find out more.”
Miranda Kaunang, head of development at FareShare Greater Manchester, said the organisation “couldn’t be more proud to be involved with the Atherton Charity Shield tournament.”
“The impact of COVID has meant that the need for our service has never been higher, and we’ve doubled the amount of food we distribute in response to the crisis,” she stated.
“Unfortunately, the reality is the hard work is far from over with demand unlikely to relent within the coming months.
“That’s why it’s more important than ever that charities and communities work together to support the most vulnerable.
“Chris’ efforts are a shining example of what can be achieved when we come together with a common aim.”
The Atherton Charity Shield will take place from June 25-27 at Atherton LR’s Crilly Park and tickets go on sale soon.
Teams, event information and ticket updates will all be announced via the Atherton Charity Shield social channels:
Starstruck Bukayo Saka asking Beckham for a picture might be his most wholesome moment yet
England and Arsenal star Bukayo Saka asking David Beckham for a picture might be one of the most wholesome footballing moments we’ve seen in recent times.
While Becks was busy talking to Gareth Southgate and Jack Grealish during a recent tour around England’s 2022 World Cup camp, the seemingly starstruck 21-year-old winger plucked up the courage to speak to him.
Although you might have assumed the two had already met on a previous occasion or, at least, that Saka has probably gotten used to meeting football icons, the Man United and Three Lions legend clearly has a different kind of presence.
Clips like this also serve as a reminder that footballers, especially these young lads like Saka, are just fans like the rest of us — they just happen to be good enough to play professionally — and meeting your heroes is always going to be a big moment no matter who you are.
Say what you will about England‘s chances of actually going through against France in the quarter-finals come this Saturday, but this group of players continues to endear themselves to the supporters watching back home in recent years.
Saka was one of the first England players to score in Qatar and has continued to play a key role in throughout the group stage and the first knockout game against Senegal. He looks some talent — I mean, we knew even way before Euro 2020.
Sharing the same iconic number for his club as Beckham wore for both United and England, we’re sure he’ll go on to inspire a whole new generation of his own in the future.
We look forward to the video of the next young starlet asking Saka for a selfie in a few years’ time.
You can see Beckham’s full visit to England’s training base below:
Upon arriving at the Etihad, food and drink will be available to from a number of different vendors around City Square from 10:00am, with the official welcome ceremony getting underway at 10:30.
Presenters for the day will guide you through all of the pre-match talking points and will also be joined by legendary goalkeeper Karen Bardsley on stage, who made over a century of appearances for the club.
With both City and United boasting nine Euro 2022-winning Lionesses between them, fans can visit the Cityzens hub to have their photo taken with the trophy ahead of kick-off and even create their own Dream Team video.
You can also get involved in a number of other activities such as penalty shootouts, table tennis and its football equivalent, ‘futtoc’ (we know at least one of you had played some form of foot tennis).
Just after the players arrive at approximately 11am and those enjoying the Blue carpet experience are cheering on their heroes as they enter the Etihad Stadium, you can also watch the Battle of the Bands, with local band Strawberry Lemonade playing live at 12pm.
Supporters on both sides are advised to make their way to their seats by 12:15 in preparation for the Etihad Campus’ exciting pre-match fireworks display, which will set the tone for a captivating encounter.
But the matchday experience continues at half-time, with those in the crowd able to take part in a half-time quiz and even be in with the chance of winning an exclusive holiday which will be revealed on the day.
Here’s your full schedule of pre-match and half-time festivities: