Big Win For Football in Kent!
Big Win For Football in Kent
While Kent FA faced a 2-0 defeat by Charlton Invicta, the bigger picture is a positive one as we make important steps towards increasing the inclusivity of football across Kent. 6.30pm on Friday 22nd February found Kent FA and Charlton Invicta standing together in a charity match in aid of Football v Homophobia
The Kent FA Staff team made their first outing in around 18 months when they took on Charlton Invicta at K Sports in the Football vs Homophobia match.
The Kent team featured a mix of players, some still involved in football while others living on past glories and carrying a few extra pounds in weight but the enthusiasm was still evident. An intensive pre-match warm up from Guru Nanak’s Parm Gill set the Kent side up nicely for the match as they lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
On a chilly evening, the match started at a frenetic pace with both teams looking to make an early impression. Kent were utilising the midfield engines of Paul Dolan & Harrison Grant whilst also seeking out the younger legs upfront of Jack Jacobs & Jonny Ricketts. Charlton Invicta passed the ball around well and it was evident they play together on a regular basis, this showed with the opening goal of the match. A slick passing move saw the ball played through the heart of the Kent defence and with the ball was toe-poked past the Kent keeper, confusion arose as to who got the last touch and the goal was credited to the Charlton striker.
Kent Manager Philip Smith was busy on the touchline making the substitutions and offering tactical advice as the hosts searched for an equaliser. Kent thought they’d drawn level on the half hour mark, Jonny Ricketts was played in and produced an exquisite finish over the keeper only to be denied by the Assistant Referee’s flag. The Kent central defensive pairing of Natalie Curtis & Luke Baker were winning everything at the back and Charlton were limited to long range efforts as the half drew to a close.
The halftime score was Kent FA 0 Charlton Invicta 1.
The second half began with Kent still searching for the equaliser and pushing players further forward in an attempt to draw level which allowed spaces at the back for Charlton to expose. It was a very tight second half with Charlton having the majority of possession with Kent players beginning to tire as the match went on. Charlton had a number of chances to double their lead and as Kent couldn’t capitalise on the missed opportunities, eventually Charlton doubled their lead with a matter of minutes remaining. Kent tried everything to get a consolation goal but it wasn’t to be as the Referee blew the final whistle and Charlton were deserved winners.
Fulltime score was Kent FA 0 Charlton Invicta 2.
A great evening’s entertainment and a game played in the right spirit from the first minute to the last, hopefully a rematch can be arranged in the future and Kent can gain revenge. Hear from Charlton Invicta’s Club Captain Daniel Crumpet, who not only enjoyed the match but saw pride in the message it represented:
“Being captain and leading out this very special bunch of players for a campaign that is very close to my heart made me so proud! Everyone gave 110% and we came away with a win! We showed that no matter what sexuality you are - you can still play the sport that you love!”
This highlights why Football v Homophobia is such an important campaign. With as many as 72% of football fans having heard homophobic abuse at football matches it is important to raise awareness that using anti-LGBT language towards someone because you don’t like the way they play football, manage a team, or make a refereeing decision is wrong. It’s against the Laws of the Game and can be a criminal offence, but most importantly, it can make football an intimidating and unpleasant place for fellow players, managers, match officials and spectators. Something must be done to stop this behaviour and as the governing body for football in Kent it is our responsibility to stand against this kind of behaviour. Darryl Haden, CEO of Kent FA said:
“It is important for us, as the governing body for football in Kent, to serve all communities across Kent. The match later this month with Charlton Invicta is an excellent way to showcase our commitment to LGBT individuals and drive for eliminating discrimination from football in Kent.”
With the game standing for Inclusion, Equality and Diversity, it was incredible to see the diversity of those present and the atmosphere created which supported the ‘For All’ ethos. There were managers, players, referees and spectators with varying genders, sexualities, ethnicities, abilities, faith and age coming together to make a truly inclusive game.
“It was fantastic to see so many different people on the night - from players, officials and supporters. We had a real mix of straight and gay players, female players and BAME background players - with the youngest being 17 and the oldest being 62. It showcased that football truly is for everyone.“
-Gary Ginnaw (Player manager at Charlton Invicta)
Adding to this, Charlton Invicta player Alex Hill stated:
“The game vs Kent FA was played in good spirits and really showed the step forward FvH has made so far. Every player & official was respected in a way that all matches should be played with. Alongside this, with the inclusion of some female players, this match really showed that football really is a game for everyone.”
What is Football v Homophobia?
FvH is a campaign uniting football in opposing homophobia and prejudice against lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in football. Year round, FvH enables people to take action against prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in football, and to celebrate and welcome diversity in the game. This culminates in an international show of support in February to raise awareness of the issue and to join together in making a visible stand against prejudice and for inclusion.
Charlton Invicta’s Club Secretary Samuel Timms spoke highly of Football v Homophobia and the important involvement of Football Clubs and County FAs:
“Friday night was a fantastic occasion because it marked the mutual support of Kent FA and Charlton Invicta for the FootballvHomophobia month of action. Campaigns such as FvH are so important - with all professional clubs, grassroots clubs and County FAs supporting the cause. Kent is the largest county so we are able to send out the message or inclusion to a wider audience. We need to continue to fight the cause all year long to ensure that football truly is for everyone.”
Get more information about the Football v Homophobia
It was so much more than just a game
We should not underestimate the importance of the match, not only for showcasing Kent FAs commitment to making football in Kent more inclusive towards the LGBT+ community, but also enabled us to celebrate the great work by Charlton Invicta in this space. Jess Jones, Kent FA’s Equality and Diversity Officer, stated:
“It is so important for us to put teams like Charlton Invicta on a podium for all to see. The work done by teams like Charlton Invicta, as well as the numerous LGBT+ Football supporters groups, towards making football more inclusive is an inspiration to the rest of football, grassroots and professional alike. Thank you Charlton Invicta (formally Bexley Invicta) for past and present contributions made to our national game.”
Whilst the match on the 22nd February was certainly a competitive one it was brilliant to hear that, despite playing for different teams, Charlton Invicta felt the level of respect and support demonstrated by Kent FA staff during the match.
“What a great match it was on Friday with the Kent FA staff. A special thank you to Kent FA for asking our team to take part in the match for the FvH campaign. We were made to feel so welcome for the evening and what a great game it was. Even at 62 - I played for 25 minutes and I loved every minute.” – Colin Ginnaw (Charlton Invicta Club Chairman)
Further to this, Charlton Invicta Player Maxwell Anderson stated:
“It was a huge pleasure to be part of this game on such a beautiful misty evening. Thanks to Kent FA for making it a fantastic event and for continually supporting ethics of equality in football, in particular the FootballvsHomophobia cause. It was great to see so many people come down to watch and take part in getting across a really important message. Bit of decent football too!”
Kent FA would like to extend a massive thank you to all those who attended the game to cheer along one or both teams. We were so proud to see #TeamKent taking up this opportunity to get behind the campaign and help showcase that football is no place for hate or bigotry. Whilst the match was a great display of support all round, it is important we do not stop until football is inclusive regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, ability or disability, faith or age. We look forward to continuing our support and providing opportunities for members of the LGBT+ community to enjoy our national sport.
For more information about the Equality and Diversity work at Kent FA, please contact Jess Jones (Equality & Diversity Officer) on Jess.Jones@KentFA.com or call us on 01622 792140.