Throughout May, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Manchester ran their annual 5-a-side Championships. The winners and runners up went on to represent Greater Manchester at the National Association of Boys & Girls Clubs UK 5-a-side tournament where they played other teams from as far afield as London, Durham and London.

Our teams achieved considerable success across all age groups with two teams taking home winners medals and another team getting their hands-on runners up awards.

On Saturday 8th June 2019, around 400 young people from all over the UK descended on the 5’s Soccerdome at Trafford Park. Boys & Girls had arrived to take part in the UK Finals of the NABGC 5-a-side tournament. Teams had progressed from their local and regional tournaments to this showpiece event.

Representing Greater Manchester were – Whitemoss Clubs for Young People and Droylsden Juniors in the U12’s, West End Boys & Girls Club in the U14’s and the Father’s Unite Project in the U16’s.

It could have been overwhelming for a number of the youngsters concerned, but all acquitted themselves really well.

Unfortunately for Whitemoss CYP, despite playing some good competitive Football, they were unable to progress beyond the group stages of the U12’s. But as volunteer Jonny Biggs said, “We and the lads have had a great time.” Team manager, “Baba”, was reliving his own youth at the event. As a youngster in 1992, he had himself played for Whitemoss as a goalkeeper in the same event. He said, “I loved taking part in this tournament as a youngster, we had a great time. And the lads today have enjoyed it. Even thought they haven’t progressed, it has been a great experience.”

The rest of the Greater Manchester teams made great progress.

Droylsden, who were also in the U12s progressed beyond the group stages and eventually into the final where they beat Glenn Parent Youth Club from Northern Ireland.

Likewise, in the U14’s, it was a Greater Manchester versus Glenn Parent final, this time West End Boys & Girls Club were the Greater Manchester representatives. Glenn Parent had a very strong team in the U14’s and despite West End pulling back a late goal, they couldn’t quite pull back their Irish opposition and force them to additional time or penalties. West End were worthy runners up in the U14’s.

In the U16’s, against all the odds, Father’s Unite Project managed to make it to the final despite only having five players – no substitutes! Not only did they make it to the final, they went on to win the national finals on penalties. The final was a close event. The lads from Manchester were 3-1 down at one point, but managed to pull things back, once again, against Irish opposition from Omagh Boys Club. The penalties went to sudden death where the boys from Omagh missed their final penalty presenting the win to Greater Manchester team.

It was a great tournament and great day. Well done to everyone involved. Especially well done to our teams and volunteers from Greater Manchester.