Great turnout for football festival

Published on: 28 Jul 2017

MORE than 170 children’s football teams from all over Bristol and some from as far as Gloucester, North Somerset and Wales took part in the annual football tournament held by Emersons Green Junior Football Club.

The competition, which has been running since 2015, was by far the largest, involving about 1300 children and attracting about 6,000 supporters. 

The tournament on July 1 and 2 included several age categories for both boys’ and girls’ teams (from Under 7s up to Under 15s), and Emersons Green had teams entering at every level. 

The winners received trophies – including some of the EGJFC teams – and every team member went away with a medal as a souvenir of the day.

Taking nearly six months of preparation, the tournament was the result of great team effort from everyone involved: the chairman, coaches, parents and volunteers. 

Club chairman Paul Thomas said: “I was really pleased with the outcome of the tournament and cannot thank all of the volunteers enough for their many hours of help and effort put in to make this the biggest and most successful tournament we have hosted. Also, special thanks go to all the referees who attended – most of them only in their early teens themselves – for doing a great job of keeping everything fair.”

One exciting hi-tech update for this year was inside the control tent, where a large screen showed results and fixtures as they were happening. Things also went well inside the catering tent and bar, which provided food and drinks for thousands of visitors. In addition to this, parking ran smoothly with help from two local schools – Blackhorse Primary School and Downend School – who allowed the use of their car parks for overflow. 

 In general, the club received a very positive response from everyone involved showing just how popular the club has become. A parent from one of the visiting teams said: “We’ve been here the whole weekend and I can honestly say it’s the best tournament we’ve been to, thank you!” 

The tournament helped to raise vital funds for the club and will contribute towards updating the clubhouse and facilities. A series of vandalism issues over the past year and an arson attack back in May caused considerable damage to the building. Sadly, the club continues to be targeted with vandalism, graffiti, and anti-social behaviour from groups of youths.  

Mr Thomas explained: “Just one week before the tournament some youths set fire to a motorbike in the middle of one of our pitches on the back field, which caused a lot of damage to the grass. It was a big effort from our groundsman to get the pitch ready in time.”

Anti-social behaviour continued in the area with several fires set in the trees at the back of the clubhouse and on the back field that backs on to residential properties and gardens. Glass bottles were also thrown and smashed on to the grass, leaving broken shards of glass everywhere.

Mr Thomas said the club was continuing to work closely with the police to resolve these issues. The club is appealing to the public to report any suspicious activity or behaviour in the area by calling 101.

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