Sport The Business of Sport

Grassroots football finds another fan in local MP

A local MP is backing an initiative aimed at boosting ‘grassroots’ football in Birmingham and the Black Country. Mike Wood (pictured), MP for Dudley South, made

a return visit to the year-old Dell Stadium in Dudley to find out how Birmingham County FA was boosting grassroots participation and improving facilities in the region. During the visit, Mr Wood met with

young footballers from the Stourbridge and District Youth Football League, as well as some of the staff and volunteers who keep the grassroots game going each week. He said: “I returned to the Dell

Stadium’s 3G pitch, nearly a year after its official opening, to see just how much it has benefitted our football-loving community. “It was brilliant to meet some of the hundreds of

players that enjoy training and playing there each week, as well as the dedicated staff and volunteers. “Investment in grassroots sport for all ages and abilities is absolutely essential and it is great to see

first-hand the difference it has made to the lives of local people here in Dudley South.” Kevin Shoemake, chief executive of Birmingham

County FA, said: “We were delighted to show Mike some of the brilliant work being done to support grassroots football. “In the past nine years alone, over £12m has been invested into football facilities within the County FA boundary, which in turn supports the 1,200 clubs with over 4,600 teams that play the game in a safe and fun environment across the county each week. “Grassroots football not only develops sporting talent and helps people to stay fit and healthy, it also brings the community together and it is brilliant to have Mike’s support

as we aim to increase participation within the county even further.” This visit was part of a new campaign which is

being run by the Football Association, and local county FAs in a bid to connect MPs with grassroots football in their constituencies.

Moors welcome two new players

Promotion chasing Solihull Moors have added two more players to their ranks, defender Lee Vaughan and youngster Ryan Nesbitt. Vaughan is a local lad, having

being born in Castle Bromwich, and has played for a number of clubs, including Birmingham City, Portsmouth, Walsall, Telford and Kidderminster. He said: “It’s a club I’ve always

looked out for being local. For me, at the moment, it’s the right time and the club’s only going in one direction.” Nesbitt has signed from Sutton

Coldfield Town, but has been loaned back to the club for the remainder of the season. The pair join three other signings made in the January transfer window, as the Moors bid to gain promotion to the Football League continues. At the same time, manager Tim

Flowers, who has been working miracles this season, has been named as the Vanarama National League Manager of the Month for January.

Wasps player leaves his mark

A New Zealand rugby international is turning heads after making his mark outside Birmingham’s Custard Factory. Coventry-based Wasps player

Lima Sopoaga, capped 18 times by the All Blacks, appears in a 30 foot street art mural of himself in action on the side of a building opposite the Digbeth’s Custard Factory. The mural of the attacking 27-

year-old fly half depicts him racing through to the try-line and making his mark in a new country, having joined the club from the Highlanders last summer. The artwork is the brainchild of

Sam Taylor, creative director at Tinker Taylor, who are sponsoring the player. Taylor, who is also a junior rugby

coach at Camp Hill RFC, said: “The graffiti symbolises just how big a player Lima is – he is one of the most exciting fly halves in the world at the minute, and he is going to be

a massive player both for Wasps and the English domestic game over the coming years. “Lima is a great player to

sponsor. He is as passionate, committed and excited about rugby as we are about film-making. The opportunity to produce a fun, creative video was too good an opportunity to miss. “People are used to seeing a lot

of street art in Digbeth but such is the gigantic nature of Lima’s graffiti, it will no doubt make people take a second glance as they go about their day-to-day business. Sopoaga said: “It’s been an eye-

opening six months for me and my young family moving to a new country and experiencing a new culture but I’ve come to this country to show everybody what I can do on the pitch, and that’s what this street art signifies - me making my mark.”

Sector Focus

March 2019 CHAMBERLINK 73

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