Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, made a surprise visit to cheer on teams at this year’s Partnership Trophy run by The Salvation Army for residents of its homelessness centres.
Pep joined forces with Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson to give encouragement and top tips to the 300 players competing.
“Football, fun and solidarity. This is an extraordinary tournament. The Salvation Army is doing an amazing job – they are heroes.
“Congratulations to all the teams that took part. I wish everyone all the best for the future.”
Now in its ninth year, the 5-a-side football tournament brought together 25 teams from The Salvation Army’s lifehouses (hostels) and homelessness support services across the UK. For the first time victims of modern slavery who are supported by The Salvation Army also took part.
Mark Lawrenson presented the winning team, Connect Manchester, with their trophy.
“The standard today has been very good indeed. It’s been competitive but at the same time really sporting. There have been winners and losers but everyone has got a lot out of the day. Long may it continue.”
The tournament is one of the many ways The Salvation Army promotes positive and independent living to its service users.
Director of The Salvation Army’s Homelessness Services Mitch Menagh said:
“We’ve had a great day welcoming and celebrating the people who are supported by The Salvation Army. There’s been a really positive buzz around the place and the memories and experiences from today will live with these players for a long time. We look forward to celebrating the 10th anniversary of this wonderful tournament next year.”
A resident of Tŷ Gobaith Salvation Army Lifehouse in Cardiff, Mark, said:
“My self-confidence, self-esteem and self-belief were really low but since I started playing football all three are now sky high. The Salvation Army has changed my life immensely.”