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Grenfell Athletic FC Earn Celeb Backers For New Fundraising Kit

calendario 24.12.2020
by: Zach
  • England
Grenfell Athletic FC Earn Celeb Backers For New Fundraising Kit

While the Inquiry grinds on in the courts, the name Grenfell grabs more lighthearted headlines in the world of non-league football. Grenfell Athletic FC, a team formed in the community surrounding the tower in North Kensington, released a new kit in a bid to raise extra funds for their Sunday league team. With the proceeds from the kit launch, along with other charitable donations and money earnt competing in the Middlesex County Football League, Grenfell Athletic hope to start a Women’s team and Junior’s team to complement their impressive men’s side. 

The home kit features a deep green colourway to match other Grenfell support groups, and their insignia features a green dragon supporting an image of the infamous tower. Both home and away strips also feature the number 72, in remembrance of the 72 residents of Grenfell tower who lost their lives in June 2017. To ensure a respectful focus on the tragedy’s victims, GAFC reached out to 72 celebrities to support their cause. The high-profile personalities, including the rapper Big Zuu and Tottenham Hotspurs’ Harry Kane, show that support for the victims remains a painful yet important tenet of modern British culture.

This year marked the three year anniversary of the tragedy, and thanks to groups like Grenfell Athletic, justice for the victims is still a public priority. Locals, survivors, and well-wishers play at every level for the club, including its founder Rupert Taylor. Taylor ran a Youth Centre, the Rugby Portabello Trust, in the shadow of the tower, which was used by its residents. In fact, nine members of Taylor’s youth club lost their lives in the blaze. In order to continue his project of community cohesion in light of the tragedy, Taylor decided to found Grenfell Athletic a mere month after the fire.

Of course, Taylor wasn’t alone in harnessing the power of football for the Grenfell community. In 2017, activists organised the Game4Grenfell, in Queens Park Rangers’ nearby Loftus Road stadium. The game, played in front of a now-unthinkable 17,000 fans, raised the best part of half a million pounds for the cause. Both QPR and GAFC became football’s way of supporting the vulnerable. Both clubs displayed the inspirational leadership and humbling charity work so integral to the sport and to the community. 

As soon as Grenfell Athletic began, they received support from football’s elite institutions and individual talents. Chris Jones, Chelsea’s first-team fitness coach, helped shape the team, and they earned a fifth-place finish in their first season in the Middlesex County League. Following this impressive result, the ex-Serie B Italian team SS Virtus Luciano helped fund Grenfell Athletic’s tour of Italy. The international tour, and their worthy cause, must’ve created a powerful team spirit, as Grenfell Athletic finished their following seasons as division champions and climbing higher through the Middlesex County hierarchy.

Sadly for the club’s momentum and the Grenfell cause, coronavirus halted their third season when they were joint-second in the division. As it interferes with every aspect of life in 2020, the pandemic delayed Grenfell Athletic’s season in non-league football as it continues to delay the Grenfell Inquiry. 

In the face of this adversity, Taylor’s team have clear goals, and a means to achieve them. Apart from expanding their team roster, the new shirt drive hopes to finance the construction of new football pitches beneath the tower. As Taylor says, “in the shadows of the tower, this team was forged,” and there it should play. If Grenfell Athletic achieve this aim, every home fixture will bring eyes and attention to the legacy of the incident, forcing unaffected minds to consider the still-unhoused residents and still-unpunished injustices.

In January 2021, the Inquiry will resume, moving to phase 2, and prosecutions are expected. Spring may also offer a return to pitches for grassroots football clubs like Grenfell Athletic. Pay attention to both as they resume, because, as community endeavours, they deserve our support. 

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