Bill Shankly was a tough talking Scot famously credited for taking Liverpool FC from being a second rate football team to being a major force in English and European football in the 1960’s and early 70’s. Famous for his straight talking and witty one-liners, Shankly’s most famous quote and the one which probably reflected his own approach is one that I would seriously take him to task over. Often misquoted, Mr Shankly stated that
‘Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.’
Granted, Mr Shankly’s quote may have been slightly tongue in cheek. As with many football managers of his type Shankly was gifted in making comments to gain a reaction from others, whether that be opposing managers, his own players or fans. The essence of his most famous quote however does not ring true with our experience here at Street Soccer Academy, with our brand of football all about life and death.
At Street Soccer Academy we offer to all service users who engage with us a package of support, run by a team of dedicated volunteers, available around the clock and indefinitely. For those that fully engage with this support we are privileged to see some outstanding transformation in individual’s lives. We have people right across our region who can testify to how, with the support of Street Soccer Academy, they have ‘turned their life around’ and without trying to be overly dramatic, often confessing that the support received has ‘saved their life’. Obviously, following a successful outcome it is difficult to prove what would have been the outcome without our intervention, but occasionally, we are reminded about the fine line some of beneficiaries walk. We recently received the devastating news that one of our service users took his own life, coincidentally at a time we had chosen to launch our new LifeFit campaign video, which highlights the need for all of us to be open and honest about the state of our mental health and to look out for those around us who may be suffering because of poor mental health.
Our aim through the LifeFit campaign is to promote hope and to encourage people to seek help. Further details about the campaign can be found by clicking the following link: LifeFit Website
or you can watch the promo video below
In conclusion, I do agree with Mr Shankly that ‘If Everton FC were playing at the bottom of my garden that I would draw the curtains’ but on his most famous stance I must disagree. Sometimes football can be all about life and death….. and there is nothing more important than that.