Tuesday 11 December 2012
Ahead of the re-opening of the Premier League Players' Kit Scheme this week, premierleague.com looks at the positive impact the inaugural year of the scheme had.
By the start of the 2012/13 season, 1,500 U16 teams had received free Nike kit and equipment from the £500,000 fund donated to by the first-team players of all 20 Premier League teams last season through the scheme.
The squads of all 20 Barclays Premier League Clubs contributed £25,000 each to provide clubs, schools and youth organisations in England and Wales with free football kit and equipment. The scheme targets those who come from areas in most need of assistance.
As part of the scheme every Premier League player was able to nominate a team of U16 or under to receive a free Nike kit.
Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor chose his former boys club Cramlington Juniors, and presented the kit to their U10s side on the pitch at Sports Direct Arena last season.
The Cramlington U10s manager Graeme Slater tells of how much the kit and the experience meant to his team:
“For our boys, wearing a kit from Steven Taylor is an honour, especially with Cramlington Juniors being from the North-East and Steven being the captain for Newcastle United. Because he formerly played for Cramlington Juniors, Steven is a role model for the boys at the club who dream of playing in the Premier League.
"For our boys, wearing a kit from Steven Taylor is an honour"
“It has definitely provided motivation for the team. When we play other teams, the players and parents ask why we have a Premier League player’s strip, so we are able to tell the story. I think the kids are really proud of the fact that Steven not only chose Cramlington Juniors, but that his name is on the kit.
“Steven invited us to a Newcastle United match as his guest. We met him and took a tour around the changing rooms, and then went on the pitch to have our photo taken with him. He signed kits, footballs, trainers. It was obvious that he wasn’t just turning up to have his photo taken, he was quite happy to spend time chatting to the kids and that absolutely made their day.
“We went on the pitch just before kick-off so by then the ground was getting full. The team was presented the strips by Steven and each of the boys’ names was called out by the stadium announcer. All of their parents were in the crowd so it was a great day for them. We were thrilled that Steven decided to choose us, and receiving the kit on the pitch was undoubtedly the highlight of the season for the club.”
VIDEO: Jamie Carragher returns to his former school where he awarded his kit >>