THE publicity generated by the hugely emotional first birthday for Angels United, the Mossley-based football team made up of dads who have all suffered the heartbreak and devastation of losing a child, went global.
After there was television, radio and newspaper coverage of the anniversary match against Sands United, a still birth and neo-natal death charity with whom they are closely linked, the story went viral.
“We have been invited to take part in a podcast in Australia and also received a massage from somebody in Japan,” explained co-founder Olly Monk.
“It was hard trying to keep up with all the messages we received on our Facebook page and through email, Twitter and Instagram.
“And closer to home, we have already attracted five new players, dads who have also lost a child.”
Olly added: “We couldn’t be any happier with the response as it has raised awareness and got people talking.
“People have already reached out to us and we are there to help them as we have all shared the same experience.
“We will be looking to build on this, though the next match will be difficult to follow from this one, rather like David Moyes following Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager.
The match was featured on BBC Breakfast, North West Tonight, Granada Reports, 5-Live, North Wales Live and in The Sun.
Angels United are based at Emmaus Mossley Seel Park, where the visitors emerged 4-2 victors on Sunday, October 10 in front of a crowd of 140.
Such is the close bond between Angels United and Sands United that it is going to be an annual match with a trophy. They have already booked a date for 2022 which will again be during Baby Loss Awareness Week.
Angels United was set up in October 2020 by a group of dads who have all suffered the loss of a child.
Olly said: “We are more than a football club but also a support group to help families who have gone through baby loss, whether it be miscarriage, still birth, neo-natal or up to the age of 18.
“We have a mums’ group and any family member who has suffered a loss can get involved and have a chat.
“You don’t have to be a brilliant footballer. It is a chance to get to know someone who had a similar experience to yourself which can be a huge help mentally and physically.”
They train at Great Academy, Ashton, and play friendlies against other charities.
Olly believes their message would possibly be lost if were they to join a competitive league.
Olly, whose twin daughters Dottie and Poppy were ‘born sleeping’ aged 23 weeks two years ago, said: “Our message is come to us at your darkest time, and we will help you come through it.
“We are one big family, and we can help anyone who has suffered a loss by chatting and sharing our experiences.”
Angels United can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and further information can be found at www.angelsunited.co.uk