Phoenix Futures to create a football team, which represented Birmingham to play in the first ever Homeless FA Cup, which was held at the Power League in Manchester. At the tournament there were six teams, all representing different charities and agencies from across the country.
The first round in the tournament involved each team playing each other. The top four moved into a ‘second round’ play-off scenario then the winners moved on to the Grand Final. A team was awarded 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss. With up to an extra 3 points for fair play.
We had a team of 8 and, as it was 4-a-side tournament, we agreed to switch the teams every half so that everyone got fair playing time.
We had a shocking start, losing our first two games and got limited fair play point. At this point tempers where starting to get heated. We changed the team around and had a better balance within the squad. For our next two games we managed to pick up maximum points both by winning the games but also by playing fairly.
At the end of ‘round 1’ we were all waiting nervously to see if we had made it into the top four, we knew that it was going to be close ….. but when the results came through we had made it; we came forth by just one point!
The final game began at an extremely fast pace reaching 6-6 by half time. The crowd went wild in the second half as our team mates and other agencies cheered us on from the sidelines. We managed to win the game 9-7!
To cheers and celebrations, the trophy was given to our captain, we took team photos and sang “Champions” as loud as we could while receiving the award and during the majority of the journey home.
Overall it was a terrific experience, where we saw a great change in attitude and skill both on and off the pitch. It was this change that inspired us on to win the first ever Homeless FA Cup.