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West Brom's Jake Livermore and Kieran Gibbs surprise disabled children

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Jake Livermore and Kieran Gibbs surprised children with disabilities at Oldbury Academy this week.

Jake Livermore and Kieran Gibbs with nine-year-old Baggies fan Sam. Photo: Carl Burkitt

The two Albion players joined in with a five-a-side game set up by club charity The Albion Foundation.

And one father who sits in the Birmingham Road End with his nine-year-old son Sam, who suffers from Poland's Syndrome, said the gesture had changed his opinion of the players.

Carl Burkitt told the Express & Star: “It was a surprise for the kids, us adults knew in advance but were sworn to secrecy!

“There were 12 kids in Sam’s group and then about the same for the next session, which Jake and Kieran stayed for as well.

“We live in West Brom about 10 minutes from The Hawthorns, hence our Baggies obsession!

“Me and Sam sit in the Birmingham Road End every home game and we go to at least half the away games too.

“Sam’s reaction – well his face was a picture. As Jake and Kieran were walking towards the kids who had their backs to the players, I saw Sam’s face as Jake was standing right next to him, and I wish I had my phone out at that stage.

"My opinion of the players, has mostly been supportive, I do have the odd rant but in the main I try to stay behind them.

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“Following Saturday’s display (against Leicester) my opinion of some of them is not printable but I have to say for them to come along and see the kids on a Monday night, when they don’t really need to, did change my opinion of ‘they don’t care’.

“When Jake and Kieran said they would play, one on each side, the kids enjoyed it even more than normal and Sam now says ‘I have played a game alongside Jake Livermore and Kieran Gibbs’.”

Livermore and Gibbs weren’t the only players to head out into the local community this week.

Claudio Yacob and Salomon Rondon attended a Future Baggies session for three and four year olds at the Halfords Lane community hall,

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Chris Brunt went to a player development centre at Boldmere St Michael’s. Gareth Barry and Oliver Burke visited Portway Lifestyle Centre.

Ahmed Hegazi and Ali Gabr are opening a new soccer centre in Dudley, Allan Nyom is attending a girls regional talent club at Sandwell Academy, and Jay Rodriguez is visiting a Powerchair training session.

Craig Dawson, Alex Palmer, Sam Field, and Boaz Myhill will also be visiting player development centres in Walsall and Birmingham.

Albion organise community appearances from their players once a month.

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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