Portsmouth FC players parade Checkatrade trophy at school to inspire local youngsters
PUPILS got to relive Sunday’s Checkatrade trophy triumph as Pompey paraded their newly-acquired silverware at a school.
As well as getting to hold the victorious trophy aloft, the pupils of Horndean Technology College got to ask questions and hear from centre back, Jack Whatmough.
Chief executive Mark Catlin also visited the school as part of a motivational initiative to inspire children to replicate Sunday’s win by achieving their own dreams and aspirations.
Jack said: ‘Being from Gosport, I know how much of a community club Pompey is – unlike other cities you don’t see football shirts from other teams. It’s great to be able to bring the trophy to show the children – we didn’t just win the trophy for the football club but for the whole city.’
During the visit, Jack was asked about overcoming his recent injury, whilst Mark spoke about leading the club back from administration.
‘If my story can help to inspire other people to do the best they can then that is great. Today gives an opportunity to pass on what you know to help others,’ explained Jack.
Many of the pupils had been at Wembley on Sunday to celebrate the penalty shoot-out triumph.
Year 9 student, Martin Lloyd, 14, said: ‘I was there on Sunday and it was an amazing day. I took a photograph of the trophy from 100 metres away – to be sat so close to it just two days later is incredible. Jack is one of my favourite players and it has been really inspirational to meet him in person and hear his story.’
Year 10 pupil, Jack Blake, 15, added: ‘It was a great atmosphere on Sunday. I was looking at the trophy at Wembley and didn’t expect to see it here today. Talking to Jack was inspirational as it gives an insight as to what it takes to become a professional footballer.’
Even those pupils who were not avid football fans were motivated by what they heard.
Ellie Mugridge, 15, said: ‘Jack has managed to achieve his goals in football so there is no reason why people can’t do similar in other careers.’
The visit was organised through the football club’s partnership with the University of Portsmouth with students also attending the event.
‘Part of our affiliation with the university is to get out into schools and all the players are keen to get involved,’ said Mr Catlin. ‘Today is about giving young people the inspiration to fulfil their potential. We are in a privileged position and if we can help change the direction of even one child’s life then we have done our job.’
Headteacher Julie Summerfield added: ‘It’s a wonderful opportunity for pupils to meet one of the players and learn what it takes to get to the top of a profession. Hopefully it will help to motivate pupils to achieve their own dreams.’