Representatives from across football will travel to Northern France this weekend to visit First World War battlefields and cemeteries that hold a special significance to the game.
The Great War Centenary Tour is the first piece of activity organised by football, in this case by The Football League, as part of the nation’s efforts to mark the 100th Anniversary of the First World War. Further initiatives will be announced later in the year.
The League’s guests include FA Chairman, Greg Dyke; Premier League Director of Football, Mike Foster; PFA Chief Executive, Gordon Taylor, LMA Chief Executive Richard Bevan and Major General Malcolm Wood of the Army FA.
Over the next three days they will visit a number of historic sites, including many of those associated with the Footballers’ Battalion. The Middlesex 17th and 23rd regiments consisted of players, officials, referees and fans from across domestic football who lived and died together in some of the fiercest fighting of the entire war. The Tour will also visit the site where Evelyn Lintott, then Chairman of the PFA, was killed on the first day of the Somme offensive in 1916 and the grave of Bradford Park Avenue’s Donald Bell who earned the Victoria Cross for his heroic efforts.
Football League Chairman, Greg Clarke said: “This trip is aimed at raising our collective understanding, as a game, of the sacrifices made by those connected to football during the Great War. It is important to ensure that their efforts are never forgotten and I hope that others who love our game will also visit these very special places during the forthcoming centenary period.”
The Tour is being led by Football League’s Senior Youth Regional Manager, Phil Stant and author Andrew Riddoch. Before joining The Football League, Stant served 5 Infantry Brigade and 12 League clubs, while Riddoch is the acclaimed co-author of ‘When the Whistle Blows’, the book that chronicles the story of the Footballers’ Battalion.
Thanks to the Football league website for the article.
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