‘It’s great that everyone with disabilities now gets recognised’ – Pompey skipper Ray Westbrook ahead of this weekend’s history-making national amputee cup final

Ray Westbrook is ready to seize the opportunity to showcase amputee football in front of a national audience this weekend.

By Lewis Mason
Thursday, 15th July 2021, 11:58 am
The Pompey amputee team who will be facing Peterborough in the national final this Sunday live on BT Sport (from left) Che Gray, Roger Whitehouse, Ray Westbrook, Kirk Hughes, Chris Waller and TJ Yates. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
The Pompey amputee team who will be facing Peterborough in the national final this Sunday live on BT Sport (from left) Che Gray, Roger Whitehouse, Ray Westbrook, Kirk Hughes, Chris Waller and TJ Yates. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

The Pompey Amputee team captain will lead his team out against Peterborough in the Amputee final of the FA Disability Cup on Sunday.

But this is not just any showpiece for the players involved, with BT Sport providing live coverage of an amputee match for the first time in the UK when the Blues take on Posh at St George's Park.

Cosham-based Westbrook, a full England international, has long been waiting for this moment and is relishing both Pompey and Peterborough being handed a televised platform for their seven-a-side final.

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Captain Ray Westbrook training with the Pompey amputee football team behind the Mountbatten Centre this week. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

He said: 'I’ve been playing for 16 years now and we’ve been trying to push the sport to be more well known across the country. This final is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase amputee football.

‘The Paralympics and stuff like that being on TV has helped push that (disability sport being recognised). It’s great that everyone with disabilities now gets recognised because it is hard what they’ve overcome in their lives and they push onto achieve something else which is amazing.'

The inspirational Westbrook was the man who founded the Blues' amputee team in 2016.

After contacting Pompey in the Community, he helped get a team of players together and they have gone onto reach the EAFA Premier League.

The 39-year-old, who works as a roofer and still plays Sunday League football with friends for Cosham Park Rangers by using a prosthetic leg, was pleasantly surprised how quickly the squad got up to speed with the amputee game after the Pompey team was formed.

He said: 'To be fair, when I first started it off I didn’t expect the standard of the lads who turned up to be as good as it was.

‘I still play Sunday League football with my prosthetic on. I run around normally and I played for Cosham Park Rangers with my mates last season.

‘It was football that caused it (amputation) but I didn’t find amputee football until I was about 25.

‘Back then it was even less known than what it is now, so there were only four teams nationwide.

‘I used to have to travel to Manchester to play amputee football. It was the Man United Foundation who were supporting it at the time.'

Watch Pompey Amputees take on Peterborough in the Amputee final of the FA Disability Cup on BT Sport or the channel's Facebook page from 11am on Sunday.