Davanti Tyres, Everton FC help grassroots football club after devastating arson attack
Davanti Tyres has presented MSB Woolton FC, one of Europe’s largest grassroots football clubs, with a donation of £3,000 after its storage units packed with sporting and fitness equipment were burned down in an arson attack. The tyre brand acted in partnership with Everton FC to assist; Davanti is the Premier League club’s global official tyre partner. Davanti is a long-term supporter of grassroots sport in the North-West of England where it is headquartered.
MSB Woolton FC hosts 151 teams at its Camp Hill base in south Liverpool. Volunteers began to raise funds immediately after the club’s supply of goalposts, balls, cones, boots and bibs, was set ablaze last month. While volunteers and parents source equipment for training sessions, youngsters from a couple of MSB Woolton’s junior teams were invited for a special coaching experience at Finch Farm courtesy of Everton’s Academy. The sessions gave youngsters access to elite coaching and some of the best facilities available in the game. Davanti used the opportunity to surprise the club manager and volunteers with its financial boost.
Colin Windrow, club manager at MSB Woolton, said: “We didn’t know about this donation and I’m blown away by the generosity… Our next step is to spend this money on the children and get the club back to a level where we can build again going forwards. It’s been an incredible response to what happened. Everyone has come together and the grassroots community of football has convinced me to say ‘let’s go again’.”
Windrow recalls his emotional reaction to the bad news. “When I went to Camp Hill and saw the devastation, I had a little cry. All the balls, the goals and even the boots, which we have an exchange for, because children can’t afford them, had all melted. From being so down, to where we are now is just amazing and the community spirit has been just unbelievable.”
One of Europe’s largest grassroots clubs
MSB Woolton can lay claim to being the largest grassroots club in Europe, with teams ranging from U4s to U17s, multiple girls and women’s, disabled and veterans’ teams, and 284 volunteers helping to ensure things run smoothly.
Chris Saunders, UK brand manager for Davanti Tyres, revealed a personal interest in helping to get the football club back on track: “I live locally and as a kid I played football for Woolton at Camp Hill, where the incident occurred. When the news came through it was very shocking, so it means a lot more to help out. We are a big, global brand but our roots are local, so any opportunity we get to give back to the local community, we take.
“Through our partnership with Everton, we’ve been very lucky to do that now on a few occasions over the years. It’s very difficult to keep clubs running and buy equipment and it’s absolutely devastating what happened, but we look after each other in Liverpool and we are very happy to be able to give something back.”
Around 30 young players attended the hour-long coaching session at Finch Farm with Ian Lavery, academy recruitment trialist manager at Everton.
He explained: “Everyone starts out at a grassroots football team and Woolton is a good place to start…. We like what they do. They fit our family values by being a really family-orientated club and we have had good connections in that time. They have supplied us with players, as I’m sure they have with most clubs in the North-West. We just buy into their ethos and you couldn’t imagine their feelings when they turned up on that morning and there was no hut, equipment or anything.
“Their life’s work went up in smoke, so to see the boys’ faces here and, through our contacts, to be able to add to their funding is unbelievable. Davanti has been brilliant. They were the first to say they wanted to help – as did we – and it was a pleasure to be able to do so.”