Fan's flock to the community Open DayShrewsbury Town may have signed off their pre-season campaign with a defeat to Scottish Cup holders Hibernian, but on a grander scale, the club’s Open Day was considered a huge success.
Prior to and after the match with the Scottish outfit, supporters were afforded the opportunity to get up close up and personal with players and staff as well as witnessing all the good work that’s being carried out by Shrewsbury Town in the Community.
The club’s academy, along with the Communities walking football and disability football programmes were joined by Town players after their match whilst also signing autographs and competing with youngsters on FIFA 16 in the Community Hub.
STFC ITC Manager Jamie Edwards paid tribute to supporters and staff for making the club’s Open Day a success.
“This is an annual event that has stopped for the last couple of years for different reasons so it’s great that we can give the families and the young supporters the opportunity to come and play,” said Jamie.
“There must be around 600 people here that will take in all the different events that we’ve got going on and see the good work we are doing throughout the County.
“It’s great that these young supporters and players have the opportunity to express themselves on the training pitch and play in front of a big crowd alongside some of their footballing idols.”
“It’s vital that we show that we’re a local family club,” added Jamie. “It’s more than just a game of football on a Saturday. It’s about making sure that we engage with everybody in the community. One of my main aims is to make sure that no matter what age, gender, ability or disability that you get the opportunity to wear a Shrewsbury Town shirt which is exactly what we are showcasing today.
“If we didn’t have the support of the football club we wouldn’t be able to do days like this and we wouldn’t be able to run our programmes. From the Chairman and the board to the first-team manager, who is absolutely fantastic here and engages with everything and buys into what we want to do and buys into what we’re trying to do with the football club.
“It’s been fantastic day.”
Former Town player and Wales international Dave Edwards was also in attendance throughout the day in his role as Community Ambassador. And in-between signing many autographs and being congratulated for his contribution to Wales’ superb Euro 2016 showing, he spoke about what days like this mean to him.
“Jamie (Edwards) was nice enough to ask me to be involved with STFC ITC and I’ve said all along that anything I can do to help and raise awareness for any charities that they’re involved with then I’ll do that,” said Dave.
“If it’s a case of showing my face and chatting to people then I’m happy to go along and hopefully make a difference.
“It’s great for me to keep a connection to the club being a fan, a player and then moving away. It’s nice to still be involved and I enjoy being part of it and anyway that I can help is great for me personally.
“With Shrewsbury being such a close club with the community it’s important that everyone feels together and if I can play a part in linking everyone together then I feel like I’ve done a good job.”
Another home grown talent to pass on words of wisdom to the young players and supporters of Shrewsbury was Town defender Dom Smith who took charge of one of the academy sides.
“I think days like today you have to express how much the fans mean to the club,” said Dom. “To me, they’re the twelfth man. You want to get as many people here possible to support us.
“Having that bond with the first team will help push them to the best of their abilities. Having an affect off the pitch is amazing and doing things like this is huge.”
Lynne Darlow spoke to Community Coach Steve Brotherhood and was quick to praise the success of the day adding: “Thank you for the opportunity for Fin to play yesterday, in his words it was the best day of his life EVER!
“I have also just signed him up to do the recruitment day.”
To get involved in the Community or to find out more about what STFC ITC can do for you, email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01743 246 942