02 May 2019
A youth football team in Hampshire that has fallen on hard times had their spirits lifted thanks to Virgin Media when they took part in a one-off match at Southampton’s training ground which saw first-team players take on the role of mascots for the special occasion.
Redbridge Wanderers Youth FC, located three miles outside Southampton, run boys and girls teams between the ages of seven and 11 but recently ran into financial difficulties. This meant that the club has been unable to invest in new kit for players and equipment for training and match days.
Upon hearing the news, Virgin Media, the main club sponsor of Southampton Football Club, wanted to help out. They invited Redbridge’s under 11 boys (Hawks) and girls (Lionesses) sides to Southampton’s Staplewood training ground to play a match…with a little twist.
Southampton Premier League stars Charlie Austin, Danny Ings and Jack Stephens are all very familiar walking out to matches with mascots by their side, but on this occasion the roles were reversed to the surprise of Redbridge’s players.
To make sure Redbridge Wanders Youth looked the part on the day, Virgin Media supplied new kits for the team and also for Redbridge’s boys and girls under 7, 8, 9 and 10 squads. Southampton also provided 60 new footballs and an array of training equipment.
Jasmine, aged 10, plays for Redbridge Wanderers Lionesses, said: “When they [Austin, Ings and Stephens] walked in, I went completely red!”
Patrick, aged 10, goalkeeper for Redbridge Wanderers Hawks, said: “It’s nice to see our badge and not just on a plain old kit.”
In addition to the match, which was organised by club sponsor Virgin Media as part of their Super Saints fans initiative, Austin, Ings and Stephens made sure the players were ready for the big game by putting them through their paces with some warm up drills before the big game.
Virgin Media’s Brand Director, Cilesta Van Doorn, said: “When Virgin Media heard about Redbridge Wanderers recent troubles, we felt we had to do something to help them out. What better way to raise their spirits than to let them grace the same turf as their idols in a brand new kit, now proudly sponsored by our amazing Super Saints fans initiative. We had great fun with them on the day and can’t wait to see them shine on the pitch.”
As part of its Super Saints initiative, Virgin Media will be recognising Saints fans for their loyal and dedicated support with a range of competitions and money-can’t-buy giveaways as well as unique fan experiences and behind the scenes content.
For more information on Super Saints, visit virginmedia.com/supersaints or Virgin Media’s Twitter or Facebook pages.