Rivals join forces to help homeless

PUBLISHED: 14:26 10 March 2014 | UPDATED: 14:26 10 March 2014

Ajibola Olatunboson of Tower Hamlets (pic: George Phillipou/TGS)

Ajibola Olatunboson of Tower Hamlets (pic: George Phillipou/TGS)

George Phillipou/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Tower Hamlets and Clapton combine to raise funds for charity

East end rivals Tower Hamlets and Clapton joined forces at the weekend to raise money for charity as their Essex Senior League match was played in front of a bumper crowd of 195 at the Mile End Stadium.

It was without doubt the biggest attendance of the season for Hamlets and an agreement between all parties involved helped raise £400 for Clapton midfielder Billy Wise to donate to a local homeless charity.

The match ended in a goalless draw but Hamlets manager Ajibola Olatunbosun said: “195, obviously we have never had that at Mile End, well not for a few years!

“I think the most we have had recently is about 100 so it was incredible to see it like that and it was great experience for some of my youngsters.

“£400 all together and it is a really good cause. As soon as Clapton and everyone else came to us we were more than happy to help.”

The fundraiser was arranged by former Tons assistant manager Neil Day who has been inspired by Wise.

The Clapton midfielder knows all about the problems of being homeless and has represented England in the Homeless World Cup in Mexico.

Day told the Friends of Clapton website about why he helped set up the event, saying: “Billy Wise is a player I have personally loved coaching and I think we can all relate to his story.

“This is a great opportunity to keep the issue of homelessness to the fore through football and having previously coached at Tower Hamlets, I knew they were a team that would also embrace this ideas.

“Many thanks to AJ, Adam and Nural at Tower Hamlets for helping to make this a possibility and for their very positive comments towards the Clapton fans and team.”

Tower Hamlets chairman Mohammed Nurul Hoque was also proud to be a part of the event and was complimentary of Saturday’s opponents.

He told Peter Dudley’s Unofficial Essex Senior League page: “(Saturday’s) event shows that football can be united with people in all walks of life and we hope the money that we raised can make a difference to people who may need somewhere to go or support during these tough financial times.

“Since we have been in the Essex Senior League Clapton have been finishing in the second half of the table. Taking into consideration the history of the club Clapton have been underachieving.

“However this season with the turn around of supporters, players and management, I see Clapton having a bright future in the coming seasons.”

Tower Hamlets are back in action tonight as they host Barking at the Mile End Stadium, while Clapton face Basildon United tomorrow.

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