Champions League trophy visits Welwyn Garden City from Wembley

PUBLISHED: 17:26 25 May 2011

Panshanger FC chairman Mike Banissy with the Champions League trophy

Panshanger FC chairman Mike Banissy with the Champions League trophy

Archant

BARCELONA and Manchester United will battle for the UEFA Champions League trophy at Wembley on Saturday, but earlier this month the cup paid a special visit to Welwyn Garden City.

Panshanger FC became the first English club to get their hands on the UEFA Champions League Trophy this season!

That was following success in a national competition, held in the Metro newspaper, to host both the prestigious UEFA Men’s and Women’s trophies as part of their London tour.

Club chairman Mike Banissy said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for our football players, managers and coaches to see the Champions League trophy that close and to have a photo with it.

“One day we hope one of the players will be fortunate enough to get to play for it.

“As a club we are delighted and would like to thank the organisers of the competition for giving us the opportunity to host the cups.”

Both trophies were escorted from Wembley by a body of minders, and met at Moneyhole Lane by hundreds of excited boy and girl football fans.

Julian Read, Panshanger FC Under-7s’ manager, was ecstatic when notified of winning the prize, which required clubs to be nominated by UEFA, to give the reasons why they felt they should be selected to participate in the Trophy Tour of London.

Julian put together a compelling case for the club stating that Panshanger FC had been providing youth football in the district for over 40 years and consistently has among the lowest subscription fees of any club in the area; this is to ensure broad social inclusion and to ensure no player is barred from playing football purely on financial grounds.

The club is also renowned for accepting players where a pre-determined level of footballing ability is not an entry criterion, as the ethos of the club is to develop players from a very young age and over the long term, such that they nurture a life-long love of the game and are able to do so with a sense of humour, sportsmanship and fair play.

The club is supported by a large number of FA qualified voluntary coaches.

They freely give up their time to produce a fun, learning environment, coupled with some of the best facilities that provide plenty of opportunities to practice and play, and is a preferred venue of choice for hosting Herts FA courses and league cup finals.

Just this season the club has found its own success in the Mid Herts Rural Minors League.

Its’ Under-12 boys were declared Division Three winners and, alongside the Under-14 boys, MHRML Divisional Cup finalists, with the finals to be held at the club on this weekend, along with the Under-13 girls coming first in their Division.

The FA Representatives were particularly pleased with the fortunate coincidence of the UEFA Women’s Champions League Trophy on display at Panshanger on the same day as the Herts Girls Football Partnership League Festival and Trophy Presentation.

This was an ideal opportunity to promote the UEFA Women’s final, featuring FFC Turbine Potsdam and Olympique Lyonnais, to be held at Fulham FC’s Craven Cottage on May 26.

Here, in addition to the Under-8/Under-9 HGFPL youth football festival, girls teams from across the county were involved in the remaining end-of-season Under-12 divisional play-offs, as well as the Under-15 County match which was narrowly won by Hertfordshire against Bedfordshire.

Presiding over the trophy presentations for all league winners and runners up was England and Arsenal Ladies Super League player Jordan Nobbs who presented Panshanger FC Under-13 Girls with their HGFPL Division 2 Champions Trophy.

With so many photo-opportunities abound, this was truly a day to remember for players and parents alike.

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