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Notts Hosts 2018 Games of Remembrance

11 November 18 words: Isaac Seelochan
photos: @GofR2018

Many of you will know the story of the Christmas truce, where both British and German soldiers temporarily cease-fired to play a football match during World War One. Perhaps it’s fitting that with 2018 marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, that a football match between British and German soldiers took place.

 

Since 2014, the Games of Remembrance has been an event between the British Army Football Association and the German Budheswher (Armed Forces). This year’s event took place in Nottingham on Thursday 8th November with women’s and men’s matches being played at Meadow Lane and The City Ground.

Over 2000 professional footballers from fifty professional clubs joined up to fight in WW1, with nearly three hundred of them losing their lives; for these reasons men’s professional football was almost non-existent during WW1 and women would often be the ones keeping the game alive, as well as raising money to help those caught up in the war.

“I’m in the British army, and I’ve been playing football since I was seven years of age,” says CPL Hayley Sloan, one of the British players involved in the women’s match, “I’ve played for different clubs including overseas in Greece and America and I also went out to Ghana to promote women’s football. I’ve been with the army football team now for four consecutive seasons.

“I was interested in working in the army” Hayley tells me, “because I was already a qualified nurse and I just wanted a different experience. I wanted to travel and be able to get involved with sports and mainly football”.

 

Football is one of the most popular sports in the army. The Army FA has Men’s, Women’s, Under 23 Development and Officer team’s, but how do you get involved in playing in such a unique fixture as the Games of Remembrance? “I got involved when I was helping a friend out at core level and we were playing against one of the British coaches. That’s where they saw me and asked me to come along for trials” says Hayley. “I went to the trials and then I came out of basic training. Within a couple of months, I was with the army squad and I went from there.”

Both fixtures had dedicated fan zones showcasing some of the equipment that is being used in the army today and with over 6000 people attending both matches, it was clear that this was a big event.

“It’s a big fixture for us, something that we all want to be part of, something that we look forward to every season. I’ve been part of it for the previous two seasons now. It’s quite a big game, with it being 100 years, to remember those who lost their lives.”

The money raised from the games will be given to several charities including the Royal British Legion who help veterans integrate into civilian life and the For Club and Country charity who will use the funds to plant more trees at the Langley Vale WW1 Centenary Wood to remember those who died in the war.

“It (WW1) has a massive impact on us” Hayley continues, “We want to show our respects not just to the people who lost their lives but to the families that were affected as well. It’s something that everyone does in the army regardless and it’s important when looking at people who did lose their lives, to try and follow in their footsteps.”

Both matches were won by the German Budheswher, but on this rare occasion everyone leaving both Meadow Lane and the City Ground had little interest in the result. That in itself made the Games of Remembrance a resounding success.  

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