Most football clubs these days have a charitable arm, an organisation that works in the local community making a difference in the lives of people. The New Saints FC Foundation is the one that is run by the champions of Wales.
They do a great work in the local area – and beyond – including holiday clubs, after-school programmes, coaching sessions, healthy eating programmes, walking football and GP exercise referrals, just to name a few that cover the very young to the very old.
This is the side of professional football that many don’t see. They imagine that it’s all about taking, when in fact clubs do a lot of giving back to the local communities in which they are based.
This week I went to an event in Welshpool with the Foundation and took a couple of players, Jack Bodenham and Ben Clark. The former is a Wales U19 international, on loan from Cardiff City until the end of the season, while the latter is an England Independent Schools FA international.
The Football Association of Wales were there to film proceedings for a promotional video. As Nathan (FAW) was on his own I ended up doing the interviews while he filmed. That was a pleasant surprise and I really enjoyed it. As I was there to cover the event for TNS FC, I gave my phone to Jack Bodenham to get some footage for me.
Imagine my surprise when I got home that evening to find that Ben and Jack had taken a selfie with me in the background. I’m always doing the same with the players at The New Saints so it was really funny to find this, especially as neither had even hinted at anything on the car journey back to Park Hall.
I guess that’s also another side to professional football. Players are just human beings like everyone else and like to fool around and have fun. Working in media it’s very important to get on with the squad. The more you do, the better the output for the club.