Last Friday in Manchester, a blind football showcase was held at the the National Football Museum with 1,700 people in attendance. England’s vice-captain Dan English and teammate Roy Turnham gave a demonstration of their football skills. English national team coach Jon Pugh also gave former England defender Danny Mills and BT Sport presenter Des Kelly a bit of a training session on stage. People had the chance to try to kick a football through Robbie Savage’s Big Mouth while blind folded.
Pugh was quoted as saying during the event, “I am amazed by the skill involved in playing blind football. I tried it a number of years ago when I first visited RNC [Royal National College for the Blind], and I got blown away by the pace with which these players play. It is a fast game and great to watch, so I hope people get behind their home team and watch the Blind Euros in Hereford this summer. […] To win the Euros means automatic qualification to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. […] So the tournament means a lot to the boys. They have the advantage of being the home team, and we hope there will be a good crowd cheering them on, but they will have some stiff competition against the likes of Spain, France and Germany. We have only been a professional squad for a year, unlike many other teams in Europe, but the difference this has made to the lads’ training has been phenomenal. I am really proud of my players and I want their efforts to be rewarded.”
The event was part of activities organized around the celebration of the IBSA Blind Football European Championships in August in Hereford. For this year’s IBSA European Championships, England has been drawn in Group A with Germany, Turkey, Italy and Poland. The winner of the ten team deep competition qualifies for the 2016 Summer Paralympics. England is currently ranked eleventh in the world, with the German side ranked twelfth.
It was organized by the Royal National College for the Blind and supported by The FA.