Hosted by the Crystal Palace Foundation, Palace players Joe Ledley and Julian Speroni took part in a game of powerchair football on Wednesday night against disabled fans from the local area.
The game, which is played by competitors in wheelchairs on an indoor pitch, is fast-moving, with players needing to adopt the same co-ordination, speed, and ball control as football.
Also in attendance were were Jason Puncheon and Zeki Fryers who cheered on from the sidelines, but the Palace players on the pitch were no match for their young counterparts who registered a resounding 3-0 victory.
Speaking after the game, Ledley said: “It’s a sociable and fantastic sport. It gets the youngsters out and about and it was an honour to play with them. It was very hard though, the chairs are very nippy!”
Speroni also admitted to finding the experience physically challenging, but was pleased to support such a worthy cause.
“We want to help these youngsters with the challenges they face. They see us playing football every week on TV and they can do the same here which is fantastic.”
Speroni has donated two specially-designed powerchairs, which can cost £6,000 – £8,000 each, to the Crystal Palace FC Foundation from his testimonial last year.
The evening at Waddon Leisure Centre in Purley Way was one of the regular weekly powerchair football sessions hosted by the Crystal Palace FC Foundation, which delivers a comprehensive sports and educational programme throughout a number of London boroughs.
Foundation chairman David Groves said: “It was absolutely brilliant, we’ve had disabled children playing against Premier League superstars which is the chance of a lifetime. You only have to look at the children’s faces, they’re all Palace fans, they’re from the local community. We’re here to help and support, this is an opportunity for everyone – sport is for all.”