St. George’s Park, our National Football Centre, will play host to the first-ever NHS Challenge Trophy match, played between footballers aged 70 and above on Thursday 23 September 2021.
The NHS Challenge Trophy is cup that showcases and reflects on the links between football, physical exercise, and many elements of health in senior adults. The match will be officiated by former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher.
Players from across the country will be representing English and Welsh teams in the first-ever game of its kind. Showcasing the true nature of veteran football, one England representative player, John Shannon Jnr, aged 79, will compete in the game whilst being watched by his father, John Shannon Snr, aged 104.
Ahead of the game, England’s representative Player/Manager Ken Pollock said: “The recent pandemic has shown the importance of physical fitness, as statistically exercise has been a preventative and curative agent for older people. To mark this, we have called the cup The NHS Challenge Trophy, to reflect our gratitude for their work over the last 18 months. Attending the game, we are lucky enough to have the Shannon’s, father and son, aged 104 and 79 respectively, watching and playing. There is no finer testament to the benefits of our game than can be found in their match day attendance.”
Holly Murdoch, General Manager at St. George’s Park, commented: “Over the last 9 years, we’ve hosted many different age groups, different sports, and different forms of football at St. George’s Park – so to welcome the first ever over 70s NHS Challenge Trophy is a real honour and another moment that we are incredibly proud of. We all know the important role that football can play in people’s lives, and we hope this inspires the older generation to dust off their boots and get playing football again.”
The match will be played at one of St. George’s Park’s stunning indoor pitches at 2pm on Thursday 23 September.