As Scunthorpe United go into battle in the second leg of their playoff semi-final away at Rotherham tonight, the team have already ‘proved they are winners’ according to local charity founder Paul Verrico.
Paul Verrico said: "Team Verrico has an ongoing relationship with Scunthorpe United. We as a family are season ticket holders and my late wife Anna walked the team out just 3 days before her sad passing in November 2013. My little lad has been a season ticket holder since he was 2.
"Since the charity was formed, we’ve been given the opportunity most seasons to meet Iron fans and rattle buckets to collect funds for the charity. This year, we were allocated the last game of the regular season and our team of volunteers shared the warm May sunshine with fans at the game with Bradford City and raised a staggering £859.20 from generous fans and directors. That’s enough to pay for counselling for 4 bereaved children or to send a poorly parent to Harley Street for a second opinion on a hard to treat cancer. It’s a fantastic sum raised."
Paul added: "Scunthorpe isn’t a prosperous town, but the sheer decency of the fan base shines through whenever we are involved in an event around the club. One chap came up to the bucket I was holding, stuck a twenty in it, patted me on the shoulder and simply said ‘Scunthorpe is proud of you, Paul’. It’s things like this that remind me why we do what we do and why we are so proud of our local roots."
Last week, on May 9, a group of Iron Legends came together in a Team Verrico v Prostate Cancer UK game staged at Bottesford Town FC. The match was organised by club mascot Glyn Sparks and Scunthorpe Club Secretary Adam Grice. Shirt sponsors were Holme Steel and Fortis Therapy. Another £1,000 was raised which will be split between both charities. Former Scunthorpe United manager Russ Wilcox, winger Gary McSheffrey and goalkeeper Sam Slocombe all donned shirts for the evening.
Scunny Bunny Glyn Sparks told us: "Every year I say, 'never again' because organising the event takes a lot of hard work – but then I look at the amazing amount raised and get on with it."
Speaking about tonight’s game, Paul added: "We will be at the New York stadium, urging the lads on. I think it will be a tight game but I’m confident that the team have the necessary quality to get through to the Wembley final."
To read more about the charity go to www.teamverrico.org; on Facebook : teamverrico; Twitter @teamverrico