David James told of his admiration for Pompey Amputees after delighting in handing over a £10,000 cheque to the club in recognition of Ray ‘Spike’ Westbrook’s Budweiser Dream Goal runner-up award.
Westbrook became an internet sensation in February when his stunning effort against Swanscombe Tigers, while on crutches, in the FA People’s Cup went viral.
And now, more than two million views later, he has been handed a unique opportunity to boost his team’s resources.
Former England and Blues goalkeeper James was impressed with the 34-year-old’s strike with the outside of his right boot and also the impact the competition could have on Pompey Amputees.
And having returned to Portsmouth to hand over Westbrook’s winnings and take a training session for the team at Park Community School in Havant, the keeper was happy to see the improving community work at grassroots level in the city.
‘The quality of the goal is why Spike won the runner-up award,’ said James.
‘It was Daniel Sturridge in reverse – outside of the foot, very cheeky!
‘What Budweiser have done with the £10,000 prize is hopefully encourage participation in grassroots football.
‘The game is open to everybody and I admire anyone who has had any kind of adversity and wants to get involved in football.
‘The Portsmouth Amputees team are a year old but they have now won £10,000 to help them out.
‘It’s great to think this might help them play more games against other amputee teams around the country.’
For James, a return to Portsmouth allowed him to see great strides made away from the glitz and glamour of the professional game.
He said: ‘I spent four years at Portsmouth and grassroots football was something that kind of went by the wayside because of the success in the Premier League.
‘But what Budweiser and Portsmouth are now doing with Pompey in the Community is re-engaging with the community at grassroots level.
‘Anything that helps people enjoy what a wonderful game this is, is great.’
Westbrook was delighted to receive his award from James, but admits he is unsure how the money will be spent.
He said: ‘This sort of thing doesn’t happen every day, does it?
‘I knew David was coming so I was really looking forward to it.
‘I am just so glad the goal was filmed!
‘The Budweiser money is greatly appreciated but it is a bit logistical.
‘They are saying we have got to spend it by improving a clubhouse or building new showers.
‘It is supposed to be for tiers one to seven but they have bent the rules for us to have it in the first place.
‘Hopefully they might come to some agreement with us on how we can spend it because we have a nice new facility at Park Community School.
‘If not, we will be looking at new tracksuits and kits so we look the piece and feel professional and special.
‘We will certainly put it to good use.’
n Pompey Amputees train at Park Community School in Havant every Tuesday night from 7.30 – 8.30pm, with new members always welcomed.