It is often heard that football is for everyone and Bootle FC are the reason why. Merseyside used to be famous for Premier League giants like Liverpool and Everton, but Bootle FC are creating ripples in the football community in their own way.
— Bootle Bucks Inclusion FC (@InclusionBucks) October 1, 2018
All of us have grown up playing football on the streets or our local clubs and we loved every minute of it, but have you ever wondered about what kids with disabilities were going through.
Even they love football just like us but have been missing out all the sun just because they were unfortunate. Bootle FC empathizes with such young and bright kids and have built UK’s biggest Inclusion tournament featuring challenged children from all across Europe.
Here’s how Bootle Bucks have built their Inclusion tournament and have grown in prominence over the last couple of years.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
The club was started by 5 founding members namely John Doran, John Callaghan, John Rice, Keith Woodhouse and Gareth Ace who recognized the gap in the market and decided to bring this noble revolution in 2018.
The Inclusion started with only 16 members but have grown exponentially in such a short time and they now have 200 members ranging from the age of 4 and 41.
The famous 5. We started inclusion bucks in April 2018 with no idea where it would lead. Needless to say it’s been a decent success. Sad day when @woodhouse281 had to step down but he’s a part of the story no doubt. Many more years ahead with more grey hairs on our heads pic.twitter.com/Oji1WGI9f6
— Bootle Bucks Inclusion FC (@InclusionBucks) August 18, 2021
They are using Bootle FC’s official stadium and pitch by dividing the field into many 5-a-side pitches for the young kids to play over the coming weekend.
There are a total of 58 teams participating and the kids are coming from all over the UK. They started the tournament seeing the youngsters in the North West of the country but now teams from Northern Ireland, Wales, Hampshire and Yorkshire are all participating in the inclusion.
Their prominence has even given the kids ample opportunities and exposure since their team have played against the youth sides of Liverpool, Everton, Man Utd, Blackburn and many more such big teams.
They even participate in the George Best International Disability festival which is a globally recognised event. All ages and abilities are welcomed to their sessions where they have coaches and staff that are FA qualified as well as First Aid trained and have a current DBS certificate.
Great day at the @InclusionBucks football festival at Berry Street Garage Stadium. Top event for inclusion football teams. Look out for feature on Sky Sports soon. @FcMargam @GlentoranIFC pic.twitter.com/0hzqeIsxHf
— Johnny Phillips (@SkyJohnnyP) August 6, 2021
John Doran, one of their founding members, feels that even little kids have started playing professional football at big successful academies in the UK and hence disabled and challenged kids are missing out on a very important part of their childhood.
He feels they deserve an equal chance to follow their passion and this community helps the children be a part of something and is also taking away their loneliness. This is why Doran feels his Inclusion is growing a little every day.
TEAMS PARTICIPATING FROM ALL AROUND UK
Many prominent teams have joined their Inclusion tournament this year. Glentoran FC’s Inclusion from Northern Ireland have participated in the tournament and the team’s assistant manager, Ross Rubbery had only praises for Bootle’s Inclusion.
Ross lost a leg when he was a kid due to cancer which is why he empathizes with the kids and loves to get involved and support Bootle’s noble venture.
— Glentoran IFC (@GlentoranIFC) August 6, 2021
Margam Stags from South Wales are also participating and their manager John Heycock has worked hard in improving the lives of disabled children in his locality and is all in for inclusion. They have received support from Swansea City FC which has influenced the growth of the club to 50 members in the span of just 2 years. They even have Inter St Annes, a team by Luca Lanzani, who is bringing an Italian touch to the competition.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE BOOTLE BUCKS INCLUSION
Jamie Carragher, the ex-Liverpool legend and a renowned football pundit is an active well-wisher of the Bootle Bucks Inquisition since he was born and brought up in Bootle town. Jamie says that they are working on many ideas and are positive about the future.
They want to grow even bigger and increase their reach globally. As of now the tournament only happens on 1 day, but Carragher says they are planning to do a full weekend 3-day course.
— Jeni jeni (@jenimeli) August 6, 2021
Jamie added he wants Bootle’s venture to be an example for all the other teams participating to make their own tournament locally and not just participate in their inquisition. In this way, they are aiming to build a community of teams and leagues that can collaborate together in the UK and work and grow together for disabled children across the UK.