Adult mental health teams representing Crystal Palace and London rivals Charlton Athletic locked horns to commemorate World Mental Health Day.
The Croydon Eagles took on the Status Addicks at the Crystal Palace Football Club Academy Dome, in a South London Grassroots League fixture. The game was specially re-arranged ahead of today’s World Mental Health Day, in order to raise vital funds and awareness for people suffering from mental health issues including depression and OCD.
Among the watching crowd at the game was Palace first team star Joel Ward, who took time to have a kick around with the Eagles players during their pre-match warm up.
And the right back’s pep talk seemed to do the trick, as the Croydon Eagles stormed to a 15-1 victory.
The Palace boys quickly moved into a three-goal lead as their sharper passing and good movement off the ball began to open up holes in the Addicks’ defence.
More goals quickly followed and the Eagles were flying high at half time with a healthy 8-1 lead.
Captain Paul Richards gave the half time talk and asked his players for more in the second half, encouraging them to pass the ball quickly and to be clinical in front of goal.
This had the desired effect as the Eagles bagged seven more second half goals en route to a resounding win, with Kelvin Olugbosun bagging five in a mon of the match display.
Speaking to Palace Player ahead of the game, Richards said: “We wanted to make sure that with mental health being in the press quite a lot recently that within Croydon we made a point of making sure people know about it.
“We thought this was the ideal time to switch the fixture and make more of a fuss about people with mental health.”
Michael Harrington, from the Crystal Palace Football Club Foundation, said: “It’s fantastic for the lads to come up here. They train on a weekly basis at the dome, they’ve been together for three or four years, formed their own team and are basically running it themselves. It’s great to see.
“The gents and ladies can come to us very shy. They want to play football and get involved but can be very insular. They get brought into the family very quickly and they really enjoy it and make friends.”
Speaking on Crystal Palace Football Club’s involvement in the community, defender Ward added: “It’s great to be a part of what’s going on outside of the club and outside of the football. It’s a massive part of the club.
“As players, we are very privileged to be in the position we are. To come and see everyone getting involved in the community is fantastic and it’s brilliant to see all this that goes on behind the scenes to support our fans and local people.”
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