Date:Wednesday May 2 2007
Tuesday evening saw the launch of the Jason Roberts Foundation, Ex Ewood Resident was lucky enough to be at the event. Here is what it is all about, and here is what he had to say.
Many football players have recently been maligned and accused of not doing enough to help the more needed. The much-publicised "Day's Pay for Nurses" has been used to cast a bad light on the over-paid playboys that are our heroes. However, Jason Roberts has found a way to do more than just throw money at a problem. By getting actively involved in not only promoting and providing for the Jason Roberts Foundation, he is also giving back his time (when the fixtures list allows), energy and commitment.
Having identified a "gap in the market" in areas where the professional clubs "community programmes" do not reach, he hopes to emulate the success the Foundation had last summer in Harlesden, by providing the opportunity, through Sport, for young lads to see that they too can achieve, even if they don't become professional football players then at least valued members of society. Inspired by the support and commitment shown to him in his formative years by his Mentor and Uncle, Cyrille Regis, Jason wants to "give-back" in a more positive and direct manner. In the summer, a team will go out to Grenada to deliver a similar coaching programme.
Last night, was Jason's opportunity to launch his Foundation, with huge support from Rovers, his team mates and the Grenada High Commissioner, and showing that he is better at letting his feet do the talking, Jason did just that. Teased and heckled (playfully) by his strike partner, Benni McCarthy, and other first team players including Steven Reid, David Dunn and Paul Gallagher, as well as his friends including Andy Cole. Supported by Cyrille, Rovers FD Martin Goodman and his boss, Mark Hughes, Jason delivered.
In an interview with Jason, he went on to demonstrate just how passionate he his, he has had to make his way to the top league through the long route and the lessons he learnt about drive and commitment is part of the social and life skills that he wants to pass on to youngsters, using football as the hook. A quick chat with Mark Hughes also showed that we should look past the negative press image and realise that most players give a lot back to their chosen causes and when that is time and effort rather than money then it should be supported and applauded.
The event was a success, the opportunity to chat with Jason and Mark and meet some of the players was a great experience, they all showed that they aren't the big prima donnas portrayed by the media, but honest, down to earth lads, just trying to do the best with the talents given to them.
Jason appeals to all Rovers and football fans to support in anyway they can… visit www.jasonrobertsfoundation.com/ to find out more and how you can contribute, even if it is spreading the word.
On a football note, Jason described his goals on Saturday, with a cheeky grin, as "screamers", "I don't care how they go in, it all helps aid confidence, it's been a long route back from injury and the support from the fans has been a big help, a big thank you to them all". He also told me, with some conviction, that the team still believe that Rovers will be playing UEFA football next season.
And as a footnote, Steven Reid assures me that he'll be back of pre-season, his back is well-rested and his freak hamstring injury is getting better, he is looking forward to competing to get back into the first team.
THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN AND SUBMITTED BY EX EWOOD RESIDENT.
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Date:Wednesday May 2 2007
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