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Bobby Robson (RIP) & Liberia: Football's Legacy of hope

pickledseal

cowboy
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Dec 6, 2004
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Location
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Saw this two page spread in yesterday's Sunday Mirror (can't find anything more than <this>, and found corresponding article on CAFOD website. It doesn't quite explain where all the shirts came from in this article but they were the ones left at St James' park:


Liberia: Football's Legacy of hope

Scores of young Liberian footballers are sporting Newcastle United football shirts, donated to CAFOD's partners in memory of soccer hero Sir Bobby Robson.


On the anniversary of Sir Bobby Robson’s death from cancer last year, his eldest son Paul took Newcastle United shirts to Liberia, for a project run by CAFOD's partners.

In 1999 Bobby Robson held a training session in the UK with Newcastle United and the Millennium Stars, a team of Liberian teenagers. After his death, fans left thousands of Newcastle football shirts in St James’ Park as tributes.

So this year, Paul Robson took some of the shirts to Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. There he experienced the work of our partner, Don Bosco Homes, which provides shelter and education for street children, and also organises a football programme.

Not just a game

Child soldiers were heavily involved in Liberia’s 14-year civil war. Some were forcibly removed from their families; others joined militias as a means of survival.

The Millennium Stars helped one group of boys avoid this fate. Ged Naughton, CAFOD’s Diocesan Officer for Hexham and Newcastle, first met members of the club in a poor area of Monrovia, where a Salesian priest, Fr Joe Glackin had helped set it up to build a sense of community and offer an alternative to violence.

One former Millennium Star, Teku Nahn, is now in the national squad, and was the Liberian Premiership’s top scorer last year. Several of his teammates met Paul Robson when he visited in May. Most are still involved in football, and the club has evolved into a community organisation, helping local children develop their talent in areas such as music as well as sport.

Continuing the work

Many Liberian children still need help, as Paul Robson learned when he accompanied Don Bosco workers to help street children in a Monrovia slum.

"The children were sleeping on wooden pallets in a marketplace. It had a concrete roof and no sanitation. Some of the children must have been only seven or eight years old," he said.
The aid workers visit the children several times a week and invite them to Savio Village, a centre outside Monrovia providing refuge and education for young people without homes or families.
Paul Robson will continue to support CAFOD's work in Liberia. Like Ged, he believes football has potential to transform the country's fortunes. With help from programmes like the Millenium Stars, young people are learning new skills and gaining options for the future.

Cafod's World Gifts include the Gift of Football which for £10 supports a young person through a sports programme in a country like Liberia. Buy a World Gift today >>

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I just thought it was a fantastic gesture and a really good use of all the shirts left at the stadium. I'm sure Bobby would have approved.

Further links:
http://rcdhn.org.uk/social_concerns/shirts_br.php
 
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