Thousands turned up for a family day out and to celebrate their love of football at the Football Unites, Racism Divides (FURD) Community Day on Sunday 22 May 2005. The event, hosted every year at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane football ground, attracted people from all across the region’s diverse communities.
Hundreds of young people revelled in the chance to play in a series of football tournaments held on the famous Bramall lane pitch, watched eagerly by the crowds of onlookers in the sidelines and seated in the stands. Local schools supplied girls and boys teams for the tournaments and sides from the Sharrow, Darnall, Firth Park, Batemoor and Pitsmoor areas of Sheffield were among those taking part.
Those children not involved in the tournaments, had the chance to play a match in Streetkick - FURD’s revolutionary portable football pitch. Younger tots enjoyed themselves on the bouncy castle and inflatable slide whilst the children’s clown was kept busy making an assortment of balloon animals. A group of cheerleaders entertained the crowds with their impressive choreographed acrobatic display.
Inside the stands, families were entertained with live performances featuring Djing, rap crews and dancing workshops. Local community groups set up stalls and exhibitions whilst some specially chosen food stalls provided a taste of something different. The henna painting, hair braiding, beauty therapy, face painting, nail art and Indian head massage all proved extremely popular.
The biggest success of the day was the sheer diversity of the people attending. Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground sits in the heart of one of Sheffield’s most ethnically mixed neighbourhoods. Whilst many football clubs are finding it very difficult to engage themselves with local communities, attendees of the Community Day featured high proportions of female and ethnic minority groups.
Howard Holmes, co-coordinator of FURD said, “The event seems to grow and get better every year and it has become something of a celebration for the way football can break down barriers and bring people together. It seems every community in this city has people with a passion for football and that is underlined by the tremendous number of entries we have had for Sunday.”
The day’s finale was the annual full-pitch final for the Community Cup. This year, Surud United, a side drawn from the Somali community, beat Sharrow Athletic, a mainly Bangladeshi team, 5 – 4 on penalties after drawing 1 -1.