Thanks for all the registrations and entries for Host Your Kit so far – they’ve been flooding in to our inbox. Just a few days to go now until our judges start looking at them in detail and pick the first 10 teams to win an adidas kit via our retail partners Greaves Sports. You need to get your entries in by midnight on Friday April 20 to be eligible for this first round.
In advance of the judging we’ve been having a quick look through to see the sorts of stories you’ve got to tell about why you think your team deserves a new kit.
Sadly, the tale we’re hearing is not unexpected – that lots of you are struggling for decent kit this year because the local businesses you’ve relied on for sponsorship in the past aren’t able to give financial support this year.
For instance, we’ve heard from one team in the North West of England that needs a new kit because the team have grown out of their old one. The players are from families where money is tight and the team has lost its usual sponsor, so there’s no way of buying the new kit they need. Another team spend all their subs on their travel so don’t have enough left to buy a decent kit.
This quote from one entry probably resounds with quite a few of you, “Unfortunately the problem we have is that due to the financial climate we are now faced with no sponsor and no kit to play in as most of the team have grown out of their original equipment.”
One coach contacted us from a team which gives young boys and girls with either a physical disability or mental health issues the chance to play competitive football. We’re sure she speaks for many teams when she says of her players, “It’s a bit disheartening when they do play matches to be the only team having to wear their own tracksuit bottoms and shirts that are 5 sizes too big!” We understand how frustrating and incredibly demoralising this can be, particularly for the young players.
Many of us at UK web hosting company iomart Hosting have sons and daughters who play football for teams in similar situations. There are other competitions around to win new kits but the problem with most of them is that you either have to collect hundreds of coupons over several months or you have to exchange scores of CDs and DVDs. Also, the quality of the kit you end up isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
That’s why we decided to come up with a fun and easy way to help teams win kit of the highest quality. In the managed hosting and cloud computing world in which we operate, iomart Hosting only works with quality suppliers. We wanted our Host Your Kit competition to mirror that and that is why we teamed up with Greaves Sports, one of the UK’s leading sporting retailers, to get our hands on a fantastic range of adidas kits.
By telling us your stories we hope we can help to highlight the problem many youth teams are facing in these difficult economic times. It seems sad that in a year when £billions are being ploughed into the Olympics in London and the European Football Championships across the water, children who turn out to play football each week through wind, rain and even snow, are struggling even to have a decent kit to play in.
Having a smart, well-fitting team strip makes the children wearing it feel confident even before they step onto the pitch. Playing sport highlights to children the importance of teamwork, respect and enthusiasm – skills that will help them through life. We hope our competition helps inspire all the teams that get involved.
Our Host Your Kit ambassadors Scotland internationals Charlie Mulgrew and Emma Fernon have both spoken of how proud they were to pull on the jersey of their very first teams and how they still get the same buzz today even as seasoned professionals. We hope they act as an inspiration too.
Both of them have had a busy few weeks since the launch of Host Your Kit. Charlie has helped Celtic win the Scottish Premier League title – scoring two goals in the match that secured it – while Emma and Glasgow City have made it to the semi -finals of the League Cup. We wish them all the best as their seasons near their end.
To all the teams who have registered for Host Your Kit don’t forget you now need to send us your entry and to those already entered the best of luck.
Our first 10 winners will be announced on Facebook and Twitter on Friday 27 April.
We can’t wait!
The HYK Gaffer