This coming Friday marks the centenary of the Battle of Somme; one of the First World War’s most iconic and bloody battles. Events to mark this centenary are being held up and down the country, as well as in France where the battlefield has become a site of pilgrimage for many.
As part of the organised events to mark the day Guildford City FC has been invited to partake in a football tournament entitled “Over the Top”, organised by the Army and hosted by Surrey Sports Park. Why a football event? On 1 July 1916 young men from Surrey, and of the age of those taking part in this event, rose from their trenches to advance towards the enemy lines. To take their minds off of the horror of war the East Surrey’s famously kicked footballs ahead of them. Until the recent fire at Clandon Park one of those footballs was proudly displayed in the Surrey Infantry Museum. At the end of that first day on the Somme nearly 20,000 British soldiers lay dead, including many from our surrounding towns and villages. This event therefore commemorates the sacrifice of a generation of young men, and we as a club are honoured to have been invited to take part.
The event starts at 10am and will conclude by 4pm. Spectators are welcome and entry is free. There will be a charity collection and also a souvenir programme. Additionally a number of military charities will have stands at the event. The Guildford City community team will also be present with our “famous” red and white gazebo. Refreshments will be on sale throughout the day.
Teams taking part include Aldershot Town FC XI, Guildford City FC, Portsmouth & Southampton Reserve Forces, Surrey Fire & Rescue, Army Training Regiment Pirbright, 1 Welsh Guards, 27 Royal Logistic Corps, 2 Princess of Wales Regiment, 3 Princess of Wales Regiment, Defence Medical Centre Headley Court, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Guildford & Waverley Revolution.
The competition will be in the form of group matches which will be 10 minutes each way. Group winners and runners-up then progress to the knockout stages. Every participating player will receive a commemorative medal which will be presented at the closing ceremony. This is a unique event which will be attended by a number of special guests who will be present for the presentations.
Your support for the event on the day would be appreciated.