On Friday, Behind the White Lines held their first football tournament and they made Together As One (Aik Saath) and Young Minds the first beneficiaries of their efforts.

The tournament was organised by Sachin Ghedia and Steven Caulker. The former, a leader in the fields of banking, creativity and sports and a supporter of Aik Saath over many years and the latter, a football player with an illustrious career, including Liverpool, Spurs and England.

The tournament was held at the home of Barnet FC and attracted some huge names from the world of football, including Clarke Carlisle, Danny Rose and Yannick Bolasie.

The Need for Greater Awareness about Mental Health in Football

The main impetus behind Sachin and Steven’s initiative is the welfare and mental health of football players. Steven shared with guests how many young players are recruited into clubs as young as 6 years old, and then released in their late teens, their dreams in pieces and without any idea of their next steps.

Maxine Langton, mother of Matthew Langton, shared her experiences with attendees in the club house after the game. Many were in tears as she outlined Matthew’s love of football and how a series of challenges resulted in his release from Mansfield and the descent into poor mental health. Tragically, he took his own life in February 2021. You can find out more about the circumstances of Matthew’s passing in this excellent article from The Athletic.

Just double-checking these facts – a quick Google search – underlined how Matthew’s case is not an isolated one. It’s clear that Sachin and Steven’s work is vital and will help a great many young people find a life after football.

Our CEO, Rob, expressed our thanks to Behind the White Lines, provided an overview of our work, and in recognition of Steven’s captaincy of the Sierra Leone national team shared a saying in Krio: “Welbodi nor dae, wae dae mind nor wel.” “There is no health without mental health.”

Heartfelt thanks to Behind the White Lines – we look forward to seeing their work go from strength to strength.