Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Sands United FC expansion sees new teams form across UK

Posted on 1 June 2019 by Benjamin Lang

The full extent of Sands United FC’s exponential growth has now been revealed, following the success of the original project in Northampton last season.

Sands United is a project run by Sands – the stillbirth and neonatal charity – geared towards bereaved fathers, who form a unique support network through football.

The project was launched in Northampton for the 2018/19 season and the team has experienced a consistent rate of growth ever since.

Sands have now provided details on the project’s expansion, with 18 teams set to launch in areas such as Derry, Bristol, Edinburgh, Grimsby and London.

Credit – Sands United

All 18 of these teams are aiming to play friendly matches over the summer, before playing competitive football as early as September.

Robert Allen formed the original team in Northampton when he and his partner Charlotte lost their daughter Niamh in October 2017.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” Robert said. “We only started the team in September and it’s been crazy ever since.”

“It’s very surreal because we meant it as a local thing, but it’s now very much become a national story and we really want to get the word there.”

Robert says he has been surprised at the rate of expansion, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down as there have been many other enquiries about new teams launching.

“The growth has been massive so far but our goal is to have a team in every town to help give men to opportunity to access this unique support,” he commented.

More information can be found about the project on the Sands website, where you can also register your interest in setting up a team: www.sands.org.uk/get-involved/sands-united-fc.

Featured photograph/Sands United