FOOTBALL involving the disabled is flourishing at Stalybridge Celtic who field two teams in the Cheshire East Abilities Counts League.
Stalybridge Celtic Whites are currently second in the six-team league, with Stalybridge Celtic Blues fourth.
It is seven-a-side with Celtic having 21 players in their two squads with matches played once a month at Aquinas College, Stockport, once a month. They train on Tuesday evenings at Ashton Sixth Form College between 6pm-7pm.
PAN-disability football encompasses a mix of disabilities and Celtic include cerebral palsy, mental health issues, learning difficulties and physical disabilities.
Celtic’s PAN-disability teams are in their third season and was introduced by community officer Mike Smith who ran them when he was at Stockport County.
Two of the team – Sam Jackson and Gavin Dunham – also volunteer with Celtic’s community programme a couple of days each week.
Sam, 25, who has learning difficulties and Gavin, 29, who has cerebral palsy, are strikers and both are from Glossop.
They help Mike with after-school football sessions while also do jobs at Bower Fold on matchdays.
“It is good fun working with Mike and helping him coach in schools. It keeps us out of trouble with G4S,” he joked.
And Sam says it is great to be involved on matchdays, helping to put out balls, bibs and cones when there are small sides schools’ games at first-team matches.