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Bootlegger among the stars at one of Wrexham’s major sporting events this month

Karl “Bootlegger” Phillips will co-manage the All Stars at the Wrexham Community Cup. Pic: Bootlegger’s Twitter account

With Twitter legend Bootlegger being one of the star attractions, it’s a game you cannot afford to miss!

The Wrexham Community Cup returns to Bellevue Park on Sunday, March 15 (kick-off 1 pm), in what looks set to be the biggest event yet.

Wrexham Disabled Supporters Association and Bellevue FC, working alongside AVOW and L&J Events, have pulled out all of the stops to make this year’s game a showcase of unity and togetherness in some of the most vulnerable corners of society.

The Community Cup sees Bellevue FC play against a mixed age, mixed gender, mixed ability team billed as the Wrexham DSA All Stars.

Guest managers for the All Stars are Dr Sophie Cook FRSA, who is the first transgender woman to work in the English Premier League and Wrexham AFC superfan Karl “Bootlegger” Phillips.

The team includes players such as Red 6 Sport Management’s Iain Wood, Rich McNeil, son of Wrexham legend Dixie and former Brighton and Hove Albion player Christopher Leaney, who all featured in last year’s game.

They will be joined this year by the likes of former Brighton player Owen Hill, professional boxer Keeley Howell, Graham Webb, formerly of Tranmere Rovers, Helen Hardy of alternative podcast Two Girls, World Cup and ‘The Beast’ of Wrexham AFC, former defender Mark Creighton.

Each year the organisers choose organisations to work alongside at the Community Cup.

Previous matches have been supported by Fans for Diversity, Level Playing Field and Football v Homophobia, all of whom will be attending in 2020 to support the event again.

This year’s partner organisations are Wrexham Foodbank and North East Wales MIND, with both looking forward to their first experience of the Wrexham Community Cup.

The match is scheduled to kick off at 1 pm and is free to attend. Before kick off the teams will take to the field to the Welsh national anthem played by the Cambria Band.

The teams and supporters line up at last year’s Wrexham Community Cup final, won by Belle Vue

Refreshments will be provided on site by King Street Coffee Company which will include drinks and some homemade cakes for sale.

The event usually brings a large crowd to the park and everyone is pulling out all the stops to make this year’s cup the biggest and best yet.

Offa Community Council and Travis Perkins are working closely to give the game a fully professional look this year, with temporary barriers surrounding the pitch and the Bellevue Community Centre becoming the players lounge following the game where players and special guests will be treated to a meal from Brockley Bean, usually based on Charles Street in Wrexham.

Delwyn Derrick (right) receives his BBC Wales Volunteer of the Year award from Wales, Wrexham and Manchester United legend Mickey Thomas this year

Match co-ordinator Delwyn Derrick looked ahead to the match, reflecting on what has been a busy year.

The last 12 months have been insane for our little club. Obviously it’s a privilege to be nominated for awards and an absolute honour to actually be where we are right now, but at our core, we are still a community football club and we will always be more comfortable on the pitch than in a suit.

“The Community Cup is the best of both worlds for us. It’s a football match supporting the foodbank and the North East Wales branch of MIND, which are both hugely important to us given the current social issues we all face and the stigma around poverty and mental health.

“At the same time, it’s a match against former professionals and celebrities that players like ours wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to play. Forget the trophy, win or lose this club has always been about more than what happens on the pitch and as always we will all be proud to be out there doing the thing we’re known for, which is promoting equality, diversity, inclusion and integrity in football, but most of all, for showing unity and togetherness in the most divided times our generation has seen. What could ever be more important than that?”

Event co-ordinator Chris Leaney worked on last year’s Community Cup and has only recently moved to Wrexham.

Talking about his involvement, he highlighted the uniqueness of the cup.

“I am privileged to be involved with this event for a second year in a row. Events of this size, and this diverse are rare.

“I really hope, that all attending are able to enjoy the day and see the hard work organisers have put in, to make this event so unique, especially in this area. The players that have given up their time, and driven in from all over the UK, show how important this event is in the local calendar.”

Community Cup director Steve Gilbert added: “With the event now in its third year, it has far exceeded all of my hopes for it and that just underlines how committed the good people of Wrexham are to fighting against discrimination and for social inclusion.

“This year’s event is particularly poignant for the DSA, as the trophy is dedicated to the memory our great friend and committee member Neil Dobie, who sadly passed away last year.”

This incredible community engagement machine has grown from a simple football match, and become a call to arms for everyone who believes in a fair and equal society, boasting guests from across the UK, national organisations and growing support both locally and nationally.

There may even come a time in the future when the Community Cup outgrows the natural amphitheatre of Bellevue Park, but for now, Bellevue remains the home of community football in Wrexham.

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