Every month we catch up with Anwar Uddin to hear the latest from Fans For Diversity which we run with Kick It Out. Anwar leads the campaign and he’s always on the lookout for fans who’d like to get involved. Fans For Diversity’s work is driven by the grassroots and we have a small budget for club-specific activities - find out more via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas might seem like a distant memory now but we’re going to relive the festive season thanks to some of Fans For Diversity’s work. While we all know Christmas is a time for eating, drinking, and buying presents that may or may not be wanted, not everyone is so lucky, and it was with that in mind that Anwar and Fans For Diversity teamed up with The Choir With No Name to serenade match-going fans with some Yuletide specials
The Choir With No Name is made up of homeless people and others “from the very edges of our society”. They describe themselves as “a diverse bunch of people; male and female, black and white, big and small, young and er, not quite as young” and sing pop, rock, soul, gospel, reggae, musicals and more (although they’re yet to try thrash metal or grime).
“With choirs in London, Birmingham and Liverpool, we thought it’d be nice to get them along to a game. We spoke to Everton who liked the idea too and brought some of that Christmas spirit ahead of their game against Leicester City,” says Anwar.
“Social problems come in all shapes and sizes and we have a Fans For Diversity fund which helped cover some of the costs while Everton were also great. They said thanks to the choir for performing in the Fanzone by giving them some match tickets which really made their Christmas as there are some massive Everton fans in attendance. There were also a few Liverpool fans too, although they didn’t wear the blue and white Santa hats! Overall it was a great day with a real festive feel.”
Anwar didn’t spend the entire month singing Christmas carols though.
Back on Monday 7th December he was at the FSF Awards where Alexis Sanchez won Player of the Year (“A worthy winner”, says ex-pro Anwar). Another winner that night was Sunderland’s Supporter Liaison Officer Chris Waters and Fans For Diversity also teamed up with the Black Cats to bring SAFC’s disabled supporters’ group down south for a fans’ friendly against rival disabled fans at the Arsenal Hub.
A few days later Anwar visited the University of East London to speak with students enrolled on sport-related courses about the FSF’s work. Many already understood the issues relating to ticket prices, safe standing, and so on, but also had questions about the role of fans’ groups and why clubs should engage with supporters.
“Although it’s a London university, students come from all over the country so I had questions from a York City fan on their new ground and the lack of a standing area, and a Yeovil Town fan with concerns over his club’s finances. It was a really good day and something I think we should try and do more of - they’re the next generation of fans after all,” says Anwar.