Football so often attracts negative headlines but every now and again something will happen to remind you exactly why you fell in love with the beautiful game.
One such moment for me came last year when I agreed to play in the Doncaster Business Cup, a charity football fundraiser that has got bigger and bigger since its inception in 2011.
Admittedly, it’s a bit of a hard sell if you’re not directly involved or have friends or family playing. It’s not easy flogging tickets to watch two teams of business bodies do battle. But, believe me, this match is a very serious business and it is all for a seriously worthwhile cause.
The joy of it all was not so much the match itself (my team, Team Van Steen, ended up losing 2-1 to Team Plant thanks to a crazy own goal), although the experience of actually turning out at the Keepmoat Stadium rather than being sat in the press box, with none other than Howard Webb refereeing matters, is one I won’t forget in a hurry.
It was more about the camaraderie forged among our group during the two-month long preparations on the training ground, a bond which has remained ahead of next month’s re-match with the newly-named Team Sharp. And that’s not to mention the £13,000 raised for various Doncaster charities, which is ultimately what this event is all about.
TVS had their first friendly run-out of 2016 up at Rossington Main the other week and it went quite well on the pitch and even better off it. We only lost 3-0, which I think was a decent result against a semi-pro team. It was a tough work-out, attack versus defence for a lot of the time, but it’ll stand us in good stead for the big day on May 21.
Aside from the 90 minutes (of which I lasted an hour at left back) it was another stark reminder of the power of football. I was absolutely staggered to see a crowd of almost 200 turn out to watch us lot, and also help raise £500 for St John’s Hospice on behalf of Marie Caygill, the mother of Rossington manager Lee Holmes who sadly died of cancer earlier this year. Lee played alongside younger brother Sam for part of the match - Marie would have been so proud. That’s the real beauty of this game.
Paul Goodwin’s Doncaster Business Cup Blog is in association with Nuffield Health, kind sponsors of Team Van Steen.
For more information about this year’s event visit www.doncasterbusinesscup.co.uk.