Accrington Stanley’s players have taken a step down a new career path after being drafted in as referees for the Football League Girls Cup competition this afternoon.

Six local schools battled it out at Accrington Academy despite awful weather and Stanley first teamers including captain Luke Joyce, Nicky Hunt and Andy Procter got involved by picking up the whistle and taking charge of a game.

061114 coley hollins feature“It was nice to see the players on the other side of the equation with the referees and have to make the decisions that they like to complain about!” said Stanley boss John Coleman.

“It’s good to get the lads out and about and involved in projects like this in the community and I think it’s important to get them out as a whole squad.

“As a former teacher I know how much the children appreciate it. I remember Everton visiting our school when I was 14 and that’s still strong in my memory and my old headteacher remembers too.

“I think it is something that the youngsters will remember and could inspire them in the future.”

061114 player q and a featureAfter the matches, which saw Hollins, Bacup & Rawtenstall, St Christophers and Accrington Academy make it through to finals day at the first team game against Cambridge United later this month, the Stanley players held a question and answer session with the girls.

“Despite the horrendous weather, the girls have been absolutely fantastic and the teachers thoroughly encouraging to all participants,” said Stanley Community Trust Sport Development Officer Chris Mullen. “The added bonus of having John & the lads come down to help referee and hold a bit of a Q & A adds that extra special something and I’m sure some of the girls will be talking about it for a while to come!”

“It was fantastic event for all the girls,” explained Accrington Academy girls manager Miss Lawson. “It was great to have it on our ‘home turf’ so speak and extremely well run by the Stanley Trust. A good number of schools attended and the competition was extremely fierce. The Futsal lads were extremely positive and consistent referees and having the first team players making an appearance to help out and interact with the girls was fantastic; a real treat!”

The Girls cup is one of the big annual events on the calendars of the Accrington Stanley Community Trust and the Football League. It allows Under 13 girls (Year 7 & 8) to compete in a fun, enjoyable local tournament with the winner having the chance to represent Accrington Stanley at the Regional and National Finals at Wembley. The winners will be decided during the half time break in the Cambridge United game on Saturday 22nd November.