MAJOR General Mitch Mitchell has praised Burton Albion for their willingness to be a part of the local community, calling the town his new “spiritual home”.
Mitchell, Chairman of the Army FA, spoke before the Game of Remembrance, which saw British and German soldiers take to the football pitch in commemoration of the Battle of the Somme. Mitchell said that he was ‘absolutely delighted’ for the Army team to be playing at the Pirelli Stadium and praised the community aspect of the club.
“I’m delighted, but it is not just about the stadium and what makes it up,” Mitchell said.
“It is the community aspect, when I spoke to the Chairman, Ben Robinson, he was absolutely clear about his vision was about this club being at the heart of the community, the military are in the community and that it where we need to be part of the community.
“It is fabulous to come to a place like this, with all its connections, but it is not about the Championship or League One or League Two, or the Premier League, it is about communities coming together over football.
“I think that this club is trying to do that, and at the heart of every community there are soldiers, sailors and airmen in them, let’s make sure that we are absolutely known amongst them.”
Aldershot Town played host to the first Game of Remembrance in 2014 and Mitchell said that, while Aldershot will always be the spiritual home for the game, Burton will forever mean a great deal to him.
“That first one was the start of what we hope will be a constant Game of Remembrance every two years. In 2014 we set that around the famous Christmas game of truce in 1914, this one is more about the Game of Remembrance attached to the Somme, and in 2018 we will look to play another game to remember the end of the First World War.
“We are very much linked with the Royal British Legion and their ‘Sport Remembers’ campaign, we did the first one at Aldershot Town, we are moving on to Burton, Aldershot Town is the spiritual home of the British Army, Burton is going to become my spiritual home, given what the club has done for us.”
The Army FA aim to take the event across the country and get as many clubs involved as possible. All money has raised from the 2016 event will go to both British and German charities as well as the Burton Albion Community Trust.