FA award Westfields with “66 for 66” grant
Thursday, February 16, 2017
The FA has awarded one of its ‘66 for 66’ grants to Westfields FC, the Midland Football League club formed in the summer of 1966 by a group of schoolboys inspired by England’s World Cup win at Wembley Stadium.
Westfields FC was formed by current Chief Executive and Secretary Andy Morris, after he and a group of friends watched their national side lift the Jules Rimet trophy at Wembley in July 1966. Fifty years on, the Hereford based team famously enjoyed their best ever run in this season’s Emirates FA Cup competition. Embodying the ‘magic of the cup,’ they won six rounds against a number of sides several tiers higher than them to make it through to the first round proper of the historic competition for the first time. They were eventually knocked out by Vanarama North side Curzon Ashton, after holding them to a draw in the first leg to force a replay.
Over the course of the year, The FA has commemorated the 50th anniversary of England’s ultimate footballing accomplishment by making 66 awards of £1,966 to football projects across the country. These have been made either via County FAs to grassroots football clubs, or centrally by The FA to causes such as charities which the players of 1966 are associated or support.
Chief Executive and Secretary Andy Morris, Chairman John Morgan, and Vice-Chairman Chris Williams were presented with their award at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Thursday 16 February by Andy Ambler, Head of Professional Game at The FA.
Andy Morris said: “It’s been an amazing 50th anniversary season so far and despite all the arrangements by the club committee to celebrate the historic occasion, we could not have imagined our 8 match Emirates FA Cup run and the surrounding media opportunities and public attention. For the club to be awarded the ’66 for 66’ grant is yet another element to an amazing season. The funds will be put to good use by helping us construct a new covered spectator stand, which will be known as The Anniversary Stand. On behalf of everyone at Westfields FC I thank the Football Association for this wonderful award. It is much appreciated.”
Andy Ambler said: “Westfields FC’s historic run into the first round proper of The Emirates FA Cup was extraordinary and really embodied the magic of the competition. Andy has been describing the impact the prize money has had on the club and I’m delighted to now to present them with this ‘66 for 66’ grant – particularly fitting given the club was founded in the summer of 1966. I hope the grant will help to provide a fitting legacy for Westfields in their memorable 50th anniversary season.”
The overall ’66 for 66’ fund was generated from income from the 2015 Community Shield between Arsenal and Chelsea – with many of the 1966 players and/or relatives in attendance at last year’s clash between Leicester City and Manchester United at Wembley in August.
Other recipients have included Fulham FC, who used the money to help fund the sculpting of a statue of George Cohen MBE, Fulham legend and England’s right-back in the World Cup win, and the Moore Foundation, run by Bobby Moore’s daughter Roberta. The Army FA received a grant, which they put towards increasing female participation by organising a series of small-sided games and offering training sessions and football kits. Elsewhere, the Westmorland County FA in Cumbria were given £1,966 which they used to repair some of the damage done to their clubhouse by Storm Desmond in 2015, and Brent Council put their grant towards running an educational project with a 1966 theme from the classrooms at Wembley Stadium.
Overall, the ’66 for 66’ initiative ensures there is an FA legacy from the series of activities and events that took place last year. These kicked off in April with ‘Football Shirt Friday’ to raise funds for the Bobby Moore Fund into bowel cancer research. May saw a first for Wembley Stadium – hosting the world premiere of ‘Bobby,’ a poignant film about the life and untimely death of England’s World Cup-winning skipper.
Further 1966 activities and events culminated on the actual anniversary of England’s World Cup win, Saturday 30 July 2016. The day featured ‘World Cup 66 Live’ at the SSE Arena Wembley – a show re-living the afternoon when England won the World Cup.
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