Eastwood footie legend to play in charity match for teammate's wife with cancer

A retired Eastwood footballer is set to return to the beautiful game to help raise funds and awareness for a former teammate’s wife who has cancer.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 3:59 pm
Pictured from left are former footballers Garry Birtles, Tony Woodcock and Viv Anderson speaking at a press conference this week.
Pictured from left are former footballers Garry Birtles, Tony Woodcock and Viv Anderson speaking at a press conference this week.

Former international footballer Tony Woodcock, who was born in Eastwood and played professionally as a striker for Nottingham Forest, is dusting off his boots to take part in a special charity match to honour Reds legend Garry Birtles’ wife, who is battling terminal cancer.

Dozens of all-time greats, including Martin O'Neill, Nigel Clough, Viv Anderson, Steve Chettle and Andy Reid have signed up to be a part of the Samantha Birtles Trophy match, which will be played at Basford United's Greenwich Avenue stadium, on Sunday, June 27.

Funds raised on the day will go to Treetops Hospice at the request of Samantha, who has suffered with terminal pancreatic cancer for the last two years and is being supported by the hospice.

To raise further funds for the end-of-life charity, Tony has also launched his new ‘Nottingham’s Very Own’ project and has created personalised plaques featuring local celebrities born in the area for people to purchase at the game or online.

The footballer said: “It started when Garry rang me up and asked if I wanted to go on a sponsored walk.

“I just thought about what else we could do and the connections that we have.

"We thought that we would create a little keepsake and put well-known people who were born and bred in Nottingham on plaques.

“The trigger for the idea was Samantha, but when you start to think about it, it’s also doing something indirect for the public.

"I’d really like residents to get behind it. It’s a donation like anything else – a few cups of coffee.

“Everyone born and bred here is pulling together for a great cause.”

Tony, who won the European Cup with Notts Forest in 1979, said the hospice deserves all the support it can get.

He said: “I’ve spoken to Garry over the last couple of years and it’s been a long haul for him.

“I’ve been to Treetops and they do a fantastic job. It’s a beautiful place, but you don’t really want to be going there.

"However, if you’re in this situation then you will see how much help they really give you.”

Former teammate Garry Birtles said he has been left overwhelmed by the support of his friends and family in raising funds to honour his wife.

“Everybody who has come together has been absolutely fantastic. What they have achieved has been absolutely phenomenal. I can’t thank them enough,” he said.

“You don’t realise the football family exists until you are in this situation. You don’t realise until you need help, how good everybody is.”

Tickets for the match, which kicks off at 3pm on Sunday, June 27, are £10 for adults, £7 concessions and family tickets are £25.

They are available from www.bufcclubshop.com.

To purchase your ‘Nottingham’s Very Own’ plaque and find out more about the project, visit www.mytribalpassion.com/treetops.