While the great and good of the football world were strutting their stuff at the World Cup draw in South Africa on Friday (4 December) another ‘World Cup Draw' was taking place much closer to home with the help of Charlton legend Bob Bolder.
Bob, who made 249 appearances in goal for the Addicks between 1986-1993, was guest of honour at Trust Thamesmead's World Cup Draw, which paired all 14 local primary schools with a country taking part in next year's World Cup Finals.
Helping Bob do the draw was Thamesmead Town FC's vice-chair Mark Lee who explained:
“Every June Trust Thamesmead and Thamesmead Town FC organise a junior football tournament for local primary schools and as it's a World Cup year next year we decided to enter into the spirit and to give our tournament a World Cup theme too.
“All the schools now have an adopted country which they will study in the run up to the finals. We've even given them a flag and a book about their country to help them on their way.
“Then on 10 June, the day before the opening match in the World Cup Finals in South Africa, we will be holding our own World Cup tournament in Crossway Park in Thamesmead, which is now part of the exciting new Sporting Club Thamesmead development - the home of Thamesmead Town Football Club.”
The Trust Thamesmead-Thamesmead Town FC Matthew Clarke Memorial Shield annual seven-a-side tournament is held in memory of former St John Fisher Primary School pupil and Thamesmead Town Football Club under 10's player, Matthew Clarke who lost his fight against cancer 10 years ago.
It is one of the very few events which brings together all 14 local primary schools and the current holders, Business Academy Bexley Primary have vowed to fight to keep the title for a second year running.
Boxgrove pupil Muiz who will be representing Argentina said: “I don't mind we got Argentina but I would've preferred Brazil because they have so many good players; Robinho is my favourite player.
Whilst co-pupil Basit said: “I don't know much about Argentina other than it has good beaches.”
Linton Mead pupil Renelle who will be representing Denmark said: “Business Academy Bexley might be the Matthew Clarke shield holders but watch out, ‘cause we're here!”
Bob Bolder said: “The Matthew Clarke Football Memorial Shield school's tournament is fantastic, not only to keep Matthew's memory alive but for the schools to come together. It will benefit not only the pupils but the coaching staff too.
“What is really fantastic about the tournament is that it is open to both boys and girls and it's a great way to promote health living and occupies young people's time, to keep them off the streets.
“Charlton is working hard to diminish street crime by getting kids into football. One of our full time coaches joined us to change the direction his life was going in and he's been with us for 2-3 years now. The other good thing is that he had the respect of a lot of young people who followed him into football too.”