Andy Palmer on BBC Cambridgeshire talking about deaf football and sunday’s legends v celebs match

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Our volunteer co-coordinator Andy Palmer was welcomed on the BBC Cambridgeshire Breakfast Show this morning with presenters Steve Jackson and Chris Mann to talk about this weekend’s charity match between Posh Legends and Arsenal Celebrities and about deaf football in general. See the link to the show here. (2:35 mins in) Transcript is below.

Steve Jackson (Sports presenter): There’s more Football than you can shake a stick at this weekend. Peterborough manager Dave Robertson and assistant Grant McCann, after this game this weekend’s game against The U’s, are going to be preparing to face Arsenal’s Charity Team as Posh Legends facing Arsenal celebrities. The day also involves some of the world’s best disability footballers. Great Britain’s deaf European bronze medallists will be taking on a Peterborough Northern Star and Peterborough’s new amputee team, with three international players in it, will be taking on Peterborough United’s Deaf team.

Joining us in the studio is Andy Palmer, Managing Director of the Cambridgeshire deaf Association.

Morning Andy, what is this occasion all about because it’s a really big day.

Andy: It is a huge day and the whole idea behind it is to raise money for Peterborough United deaf football project. For the last couple of years we’ve worked on a scheme to make football accessible for Deaf players because so often it’s not. And this year we’ve coached 50 players and launch 3 teams and this is to raise money to get the first team into the league.

Steve: Any sport with differently abled people presents it issues in terms of its management. I watched England deaf rugby team play Cambridgeshire a couple of weeks ago and ran the line for part of the game. There didn’t seem to be any differences at all.

Chris Mann (Presenter) You ran the line?

Steve: I did yes

Chris, Did you walk the line

Steve: No, I didn’t, I ran it. There didn’t seem to be any differences in approaching or officiating. Is that the same in football?

Andy: Well I can only speak for our deaf football but any onlooker would notice the difference. One of the main differences the referee has a flag to alert the players to stop play.

Chris: I was trying to think of all the things you would have to put into consideration. Of course, the ref!

Andy: Yeah. Of course. The referee has to wave a flag and the players – you’ll see many of the players use sign language to communicate, and shouts on the pitch won’t get heard so these players have to have almost another intuition where they have to be very visually aware to understand where they are on the pitch and to play the game.

Steve: What’s the hearing loss qualification?

Andy: To play Deaf football the level is to have a 50 decibel loss in your best ear and that’s a moderate to severe hearing loss.

Chris: The same pretty good footballers presumably, I mean why wouldn’t I be, if that’s the only disability.It doesn’t stop them being good with a football. I mean you were at the England rugby weren’t you.

Andy: Yes, I was there

Steve: That was full on and there was no difference in quality in that!

Andy: The differences is with deaf football, because of the way coaching is structured in this country, for all sports really – mainstream sports, is that deaf footballers or footballers with hearing impairments or hearing loss won’t get access to the same coaching. They might have a drop in confidence and therefore not attend. This is why Deaf football coaching is really important – so the sport is accessible to everybody

Steve: So that’s three games this weekend; talk me through the program of the day.

Andy: Right, OK so it starts off with a Peterborough Deaf football team against the amputee team who have just joined Peterborough United and have got some of the world’s best players in there who play for GB.

And then we’re going to have Posh Legends vs Celebrities, which is going to be a great game. We’re going to have celebrities there and of course Robbo and McCann. And then after that Great Britain’s European bronze medallist team are going to play Peterborough Northern Star.

Steve: Couple of other things involved – the traditional bouncy castle. The speed gun goal! I think that’s going to be fun.

Andy: We’re going to try and find who’s got Peterborough’s hardest shot. Who’s got the best foot in Peterborough. I’m going to try and find that out.

Steve: What speed do they get up to?

Andy I’ve got no idea but you ..

Steve: I had a go a few years back and I got I got 38 miles an hour.

Chris: In a 40 limit?

Steve: Actually was in a 30 limit!

It’s just a terrific way of raising awareness of the situation that you’re in.

Andy: Absolutely right, thank you.

Steve: Thank you very much for joining us this afternoon .. even morning! I don’t know what day it is!

Chris: Andy, when can people see it?

Andy: On Sunday. It’s on Sunday, gates open at 11 o’clock at Peterborough Northern Star FC or the Mick George Arena as it’s known.

Chris: Thank you so much and good luck with that. Andy Palmer, of the Cambridgeshire Deaf Association and Steve Jackson from the Cambridge trying to run the line association.

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