By John Lyons
Let’s be honest, we’ve probably all taken our emergency service staff in this country for granted at times.
If there can be a positive from the horrible Coronavirus pandemic that has caused so much sorrow up and down the land, it’s perhaps that it’s made us realise how important they really are.
That’s particularly true in the case of those NHS workers on the frontline, looking after those in need and putting themselves at risk in the process.
Whether it’s the police, fire or prison service, too, they all have a crucial role to play in helping society to function.
But none of them are easy jobs, there is plenty of pressure and strain on those involved.
That’s partly the reason why two colleagues in West Yorkshire Police have decided it’s time to bring service people together and give them the chance to release that stress in the best way possible – by creating the Motor Source Emergency Services Football League.
Teams from the police, fire, NHS and prison services are embracing the opportunity to join up, with 37 teams registering and more than 100 getting in touch with the organisers.
DC Pete Overton, who has set up the ESFL along with DC Andy Smurthwaite, said: “The league’s main aim is to increase the wellbeing amongst the hard-working emergency service workers in the UK.
“We played against Yorkshire Ambulance Service last year and afterwards Andy said ‘Why don’t we set up a league on a national scale?’ Although we had the police details, the hard part was getting the contact details for the others.
“We’re hoping to have 48 teams, so we can have eight leagues with the top two from each league qualifying for the knockout stages.
“Teams from across the emergency services have ex pros/semi-professional players who can no longer commit to regular football.
“The league is flexible so will attract such players. For that reason we expect the league to be a high standard.”
The league was due to begin this July, with the final in June next year, but the coronavirus crisis may well put things on hold.
“We made the competition over 11 months to give us a bit of leeway,” he said. “We thought we might have problems with the weather, but we didn’t expect the coronavirus to come along. We just can’t wait to get going now.”