VMFC organises third annual Pride Cup
20 August 2016
Village Manchester Football Club, Manchester’s gay and inclusive club, celebrated its 20th anniversary with help from Manchester FA's Fund4Football scheme.
On Saturday 20 August the Club celebrated the forthcoming Manchester Pride with the now annual Pride Cup. What started out as a simple friendly three years ago, has grown this year into a mini tournament with six teams. Each team played five 25-minute games to find the winner on points.
VMFC put out both its First and Second teams – being one of the rare occasions where the two squads played each other. They were joined by the Village Elders, the first time the club has put together a team of veterans and a fitting mark of its 20th anniversary.
Yorkshire Terriers and Mersey Marauders, the Leeds and Liverpool gay and inclusive teams, made the journey along the M62, Mersey earning the achievement of having played in all three Cups.
In addition to this, to mark VMFC’s entry into the 108 year-old Lancashire & Cheshire League for the first time in September, Deans FC, a team from their new division, was invited to participate.
Originally formed to give gay and bisexual men a safe and welcoming place to play the sport they love, much has changed in the world of football. Homophobia is less prevalent and is now frowned upon in all walks of life, including football pitches and stands. It does, however, still exist and VMFC believes it plays its part in the campaign against football homophobia by playing in a regular league every weekend, as it has done since it was formed in 1996.
VMFC’s Communications Officer Steve Joyce, who organised the tournament, said; "There are 5,000 professional football players in England. Statistically, many, possibly hundreds, are gay. The fact that not one has been comfortable in coming out tells us there is a long way to go. We like to call VMFC ‘gay and inclusive’ as, whilst predominantly gay players, we welcome straight guys too. The fact that there was a ‘straight team’ in ‘gay tournament’ was testament to how inclusive football can be."
The afternoon’s appalling weather failed to dampen spirits though, as Deans FC went on to be deserved winners with Yorkshire Terriers a close runner up.
VMFC would like to thank all the players and teams who took part in the tournament and look forward to hosting the fourth Pride Cup in August next year.
VMFC train every Thursday evening at Albert Park in Salford. Its first team will be playing on Saturday afternoons in venues around Manchester, and its second team has a number of fixtures lined up for the coming months all over the UK.
Manchester County FA were proud to support this event through their Fund4Football scheme, as the successful grant application had a huge benefit. Steve echoed this; "A grant from Fund4Football enabled the tournament organisers to purchase vital equipment to be used at the tournament and into the new season. Support from Manchester County FA was very much appreciated by all."
Words & pictures: Steve Joyce