The junior football team where ex-Wales international and TV pundit Robbie Savage started out is stepping out in style thanks to a leading social care organisation.
The Llay Under 8s team, which plays in the Wrexham District Mini League, were in need of a kit so their manager asked locally-based Pendine Park for a financial boost.
Now the boys, who have former club players Robbie and Chris Armstrong who went on to become professional players to aspire to, look onside in their smart new shirts, shorts and socks.
Team manager Darren Brooks, who runs his own WH Smith and Post Office franchise in Gwersyllt, and his fellow coaches are delighted to have had support from Pendine Park proprietors Gill and Mario Kreft.
He said: “It’s amazing. I have known Gill and Mario a long time and Gill was my accountant.
“As a junior football club we need to raise what money we can if we are to progress as a club. The boys have played in several tournaments throughout the summer and we have won most and at least made the final in every one we have been in.
“I have two boys, Luca, plays for Borras Park Under 11s while Leo, seven, plays for Llay Under 8s. And we have one boy, Alfie Pierce, who is also seven, who is already making a name for himself and has been snapped up by the Manchester United Academy.
“We all want to see him, and all our boys, develop and go onto have the sort of careers Robbie Savage and Chris Armstrong enjoyed. They certainly have role models they can look up to.”
Darren says the job of running a junior football team has changed over the years and now he and fellow Llay coaches, Dave Davies, Andrew Burke and Jamie Scott have all had to gain qualifications.
He said: “We have all been on leadership courses, first aid and coaching courses. Child welfare is rightly paramount and we are very careful to ensure the well-being of all our boys.
“The generosity of Gill and Mario means a great deal and I am delighted at their support. There was absolutely no hesitation when I contacted them to ask if they could sponsor the boys. There wasn’t a second’s hesitation.”
Gill Kreft has a particular love of football because her father, Trevor Atkinson, played professionally for both Barnsley and Hull.
She said: “We have known Darren a long time and were only too pleased to be able to help. It’s important young boys and girls are playing football and other sports and keeping healthy.
“At Pendine Park we strive to play as big a role as we can within the community and enrich lives across the generations through a whole host of sporting and artistic activities which provide the golden thread running through daily life at our care homes.
“The amount of work Darren and the other coaches put into helping and improving the skills of these young players is fantastic and are only too pleased to be able to help.”
Pendine Park’s IT manager, Rob Thomas, was on hand to present the Llay Under 8’ 8 players with their smart new kit.
He said: “It’s been a pleasure meeting the players, Darren and the other coaches. I was really impressed with the skill level of these youngsters. They certainly looked smart in their new kit.
“I was also pleased to hear that Darren, like me, is a big Liverpool fan. I have been trying to convert Mario, who is a big Manchester United fan but it hasn’t been going well if I’m honest!”