For the third successive season, the players’ activities in and around the local community have continued to improve and in recognition of his sustained association with St. Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, David Mooney was presented with an ‘Outstanding Contribution in the Community’ award alongside Leon McSweeney who received the Community Player of the Year shield at the clubs end of season celebration event back in May.
Mooney said: “The work we do in the community is really important and I love my visits to St. Joseph’s. It’s a very humbling experience and always reminds me not to take things for granted.”
At the end of the 2009 season, the O’s were pretty much bottom of the league when it came to player’s involvement within their local community but with the introduction of a dedicated Liaison Officer and the players being reminded and made aware of their importance off the field as well as on it, things have improved dramatically since.
Matt Porter, Orient Chief Executive said: “We pride ourselves on the Club’s award-winning role in the community and take the work extremely seriously. It is seen as a beacon of best practice by the football authorities and the players are ultimately our ambassadors. The improvement in our community involvement over the past couple of seasons has been particularly noticeable and we will continue to strive to develop new links and partnerships as the club moves forward.”
The players are asked to attend a variety of events including: charity fundraisers, schools and other educational institutions, hospitals and hospices, care homes, tournaments and competition events, award ceremonies, supporters club presentations and match-day activities as well as being on hand at the training ground to answer questions to inquisitive school children who may be visiting.
Liaison Officer Howard Gould said, “The variety of requests is quite prodigious and sometimes a little ridiculous! I’ve been asked for players to appear at events on a Saturday afternoon during the season. Of course, I reply with courtesy and a reminder that the boys will actually be playing at that time! However, they are a great bunch and never hesitate to fulfil their commitments.
“My target is to try and increase the players involvement in the community year upon year which obviously gets more difficult as there is only a small squad and so much they can do but it’s a vitally important that we get the name of the club out to as many people as possible in an effort to attract new supporters and the players attending schools for example is a very effective way of appealing to those who may not have considered supporting us.”
If you haven’t done so already, why not check out the community highlights board, situated adjacent to the ticket office in Oliver Road, that shows a selection of some of the diverse engagements made by the players during last season.