Colls Christmas Video Release
Fri 16th December 2016 | Atherton Collieries | By Joe Gibbons
Tomorrow night, Atherton Collieries will release their charity Christmas video, called 'Stay Another Game'.
The video, which will raise money for local charity Ben's Wish, will follow manager Michael Clegg as he storms out of the dressing room at half time and threatens to leave the club. Taking inspiration from the 1994 classic 'Stay Another Day', first team players, fans and those who run the club have all been involved in this project. We have caught up with first team member, and brains behind the project, Rob Sadler.
“The idea of such a production originated as a tongue in cheek reference to the ‘rumours and hearsay’ circling that Michael Clegg had quit the club during the interval of a match. The ‘Stay Now – East 17’ number is to portray the lads reaction when Cleggy supposedly announced his resignation during a half-time rant.
"This as we all know is obviously complete rubbish but none the less we thought it was a great opportunity to give the Christmas classic some air time – which I personally believe it has been massively deprived of over the years.
“With his work in the local area, our coach Andy Heald became aware of Ben’s Wish, a fundraising mission that is helping to support the dreams of 10 year old Ben Robinson who suffers from cerebral palsy and was recently diagnosed with leukaemia. His dream is to one day chill out on a beach in Jamaica and when hearing Ben’s story, everyone involved at the club believed it would be a great opportunity to raise awareness and more importantly some contributions to Ben’s Wish.”
Ben, of Ben’s Wish, turned up for his first Colls match dressed in full Leigh Centurions gear and left in full Colls attire. He looked resplendent in the famous black and white colours as he led the two teams out in his wheelchair. He was worried that he may get stuck in the mud but there were no such issues and he went on to watch the Colls see off Hanley Town with a 3-0 victory.
Filming the project has been quite difficult for the two man production team, but we they now have all material filmed and edited so as long as everything goes to plan the project should be released on Saturday evening. Sadler explained, “The filming has taken a lot more time and effort than Lewis and I first anticipated.
“Initially we had hoped it would be released on the 10th of December but it wasn't quite ready in time. There was a video there but we didn't want to put it out there and not do it justice. I think once the club made the decision the video was going to be in support of Ben’s Wish, we were both very conscious it had to be something that would appeal to everyone in order to receive donations.”
“The remarkable thing is that in and amongst the production, Lewis still found enough time to study and gain a distinction at University and I’ve held onto my job and narrowly avoided divorce!”
One concern for the production team was whether or not everybody at the club would get behind the project. However, as Sadler explains, there needn’t have been any worries, “Everyone at the club has been brilliant, it was obviously a lot of fun doing the filming and I think that's evident when you watch it. Players, fans and supporters have all got behind it and posed for filming whenever they’ve been asked!”
“The volunteers, players, staff and the committee all commit a lot of time to the club. Usually having to deal with two games a week and training some of the lads even came down to the club in their own time to help out and film extra bits we needed. With that in mind I think it’s safe to say everyone has put a lot of effort in and I wouldn't expect anything less from someone associated with Colls.”
With so much effort put in, Sadler hopes that the video will prove to be a success, “We wanted to release something that would appeal to people on all levels. There will be people who find it funny, some who thinks it’s cringey and some who don't have a clue what's going on but want any excuse to listen to East 17 again; either way it should receive a good amount of exposure.”
“I think anybody who watches the video will see how much time and effort has gone into making it and will hopefully make a donation on the back of that. A donation of any value, whether that be £2, £5 or £20 whatever it is it will be greatly appreciated by Ben and his family.”
The players and supporters have got further behind the video since meeting Ben and his father at the Hanley match. Many who were present at the club were surprised at how positive Ben’s outlook is on life despite currently undergoing treatment for leukaemia.
Sadler echoed these thoughts, saying: “The most pleasing thing for me will be to watch the donation on the JustGiving page grow. Having met Ben and his Dad Paul at the Hanley game on Saturday it really hit home what a special cause this is and has made Lewis and I so determined to get the video finished and ready to release this week.”
“I spent time before the game and watched the first half with Ben and it really struck me how positive his outlook on life is considering his condition. I couldn't get a word in, he was so full of energy and enthusiasm.
“His knowledge on football was so impressive I even offered him a coaching role at Colls, although he said he isn't quite ready for management yet as he is hoping to get back playing for the Bolton Bullets (his wheelchair football club)”
Ben’s father, Paul also offered his thoughts on the day saying, “Ben and I both enjoyed coming along to the match very much. We liked the close knit feeling of the club how and how friendly everyone was. It was also really refreshing watching a game of football where the players were down to earth and in it purely for the love of their club and community.”
“Leigh Centurions player Dayne Weston has been wonderful to our family especially to Ben. He is such a role model and Ben looks up to the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch which is fantastic. He set the foundation up to help Ben through troubled times and for future support if and when needed.
“The bigger picture of the foundation is to carry Ben’s Wish on in the future to help other people and families in whatever way we can.
“Ben has had it tough from the day he was born. He was given a 50/50 chance of making it through. He was born 12 weeks premature and despite being wheelchair bound he accepted it and has lived his life positively.
“Then to get told of the leukaemia was a massive blow to us all. However, yet again he faces it head on like he does and 8 months in its going really well with the doctors telling us they will cure him, which of course is amazing news. There’s still a long way to go but a journey full of positives.”
Ben hopes to be back at The Kensite Stadium on Boxing Day when Collieries take on New Mills in the league. There will be a donation box in the clubhouse for those unable to donate online when the video goes live on Facebook and Twitter on Saturday evening.
You can donate to Ben's Wish by visiting the JustGiving page.
You can also keep up to date with Ben’s Wish by following them on Twitter – @Bens_Wish
Ben is pictured with Colls players Liam Wood and Brad Cooke before the Hanley Town game.