The golden oldies of Wrexham football club’s Legends are pulling their boots on to help kit out young footballers from West Africa.
The Dragons stars of yesteryear have answered a call from leading Welsh self-storage company Lock Stock to take on the veterans of Denbigh Wanderers in a charity match at Denbigh Town’s Central Park on Sunday, September 15 (2pm kick-off).
The Legends plan to bring ex-Racecourse heroes like Steve Watkin, scorer of the historic FA Cup winner against Arsenal, winger Karl Connolly, Stephen Thomas, Mark McGregor, Martyn Chalk, goalkeeper Dave Walsh and Jim Whitley.
The match will raise money for a football kit, balls and training equipment for a youth football club in Bakau in The Gambia after Lock Stock’s Rhyl storage park manager Craig Morris had a chance meeting with the club’s coach while on holiday in Africa earlier this year.
Craig, 36, from Henllan, who was himself on Wrexham’s books as a youngster and played for both Ruthin and Denbigh, was in The Gambia in January with his wife, Carla, and six-year-old son Cohen.
He met football coach Sam Lamin Njie and ended up helping out with coaching and he said: “It was one of the best experiences in the game I have ever had, coaching these kids.
“But what really got to me was that they had absolutely nothing, no kits, football boots, hardly any footballs, no cones, nothing but their skills were unbelievable.
“After every session Sam would sometimes have well over 50 players aged six to 18 and he’d sit give them all a good talking to about how important it is to love one another, respect people, help each other.
“Sam would not tolerate is any of his players begging or stealing and begging in Africa is very common but he would not have it in his academy.
“The welcoming and friendship the players showed me was amazing, something I will never ever forget, the high fives, fist bumps and smiles and laughter will be with me forever.”
Craig discovered that the club had lost their football kit when one of the players broke his leg and Sam carried him into a taxi, put the kit in the boot and set off for the hospital but when they got there the taxi drove off with all the kit still in the boot.
Since then they hadn’t been able to play matches but Craig spoke to Lock Stock Director Shon Powell, chairman of Denbigh Town, and they came up with a plan to help Sam’s club out.
They contacted the Wrexham Legends and organiser Jon Morris agreed to help out and said: “This is a really worthy cause and we’re delighted to help out and it is a way to repay all our supporters in the Vale of Clwyd.
“Wrexham is very much North Wales’s team and we’re very aware that we draw support from right across the area and it’s great for the fans to get a chance to see players like Steve Watkin and Karl Connolly whose names are so much a part of the history of the club.
“Steve’s winner against Arsenal and Mickey Thomas’s incredible equaliser are part of Welsh football folklore and I’m sure he’d love the chance to show he’s still got the scoring touch at Denbigh on Sunday.”
Shon Powell, who founded Lock Stock Self Storage with his brother, Nick, in 1999, is Chairman of Denbigh Town Football Club while the company also sponsor the Welsh Alliance League and a number of cup competitions.
He said: “This is a great cause and we’re delighted to back Craig through Denbigh Town FC.
“The Premier League has so many talented players from Africa now and perhaps what we’re doing will help the next Sadio Mane, Yaya Touré or Didier Drogba emerge.”
Lock Stock Self Storage has now grown to be one of the UK’s largest containerised self storage companies with 2,900 containers at 18 sites across North and Mid Wales and the Border Counties.
As well as offering units to hire on their sites they sell a range of used and new containers delivered by their specialist lorry – they also sell fireworks at Chester, Rhyl and Llandudno and on-line.
Anyone who wants to help out or donate can contact Craig on email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 07799751054
Wrexham Legends are looking for sponsors to help with their kit – anyone interested can message on Twitter @LegendsWrexham
For more information about Lock Stock go to http://www.lockstock.biz/