Northumbria Police Football Club invited to play against Grenfell Athletic in special match

Julian Watt of Grenfell Athletic with ACC Neil Hutchinson from Northumbria Police. Credit: Kelvin Shell

Players from Northumbria Police’s men’s football team were invited to take part in a special match against Grenfell Athletic Football Club this week.

Founded by local residents, Grenfell Athletic set out to be a beacon of hope in the community following the devastating events of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

Some of the players who lined up against the Force’s XI included survivors and loved ones of those who were sadly lost in the tragedy.

The match saw Grenfell run out 4-1 winners. Credit: Kelvin Shell

Chief Superintendent Barrie Joisce, Area Commander in South Tyneside and Sunderland, was among those who played for Team Northumbria and is a regular on the pitch as part of the Over 40’s squad.

He said: “It was an honour to be invited to play against Grenfell Athletic FC and meet some inspirational people and players on the day.

“Regardless of the result, occasions like this showcase how football and other sports can really bring our communities together for the better.

“I’d like to thank everyone who came together to make the day what it was – and it’s something that will certainly stay with me for a long time.”

The match – held at Washington Football Hub on Wednesday 11 August – kicked off at 4pm and saw Grenfell run out 4-1 winners.

Grenfell Athletic FC continues to go from strength-to-strength, playing teams across the country with widespread support.

The team, who are currently on tour across the UK, are managed by resident Rupert Taylor. He said: “It was a brilliant opportunity to play this match alongside key blue light workers – especially follow the amazing support our community has received from emergency services in recent years.

“We will continue to raise awareness and champion football as so often it provides solace and a safety net for local people who might be facing difficulties.”