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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 April 2007, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Chelsea's positive role models

Ashley Cole and Geremi line up with the Postitive Futures group
Cole and Geremi meet the potential stars of the future

Chelsea footballers Ashley Cole and Geremi made a special guest appearance in Battersea, south-west London, to help provide inspiration to a group of young adults.

Their visit was part of a Positive Futures programme which uses football to engage with socially disadvantaged and marginalised groups.

And the pair took time out to speak about Your Game, the BBC's forthcoming unique festival of football, music and street culture for 16-25-year-olds.


YG: There are many problems with crime and young people in the community, can football play a role in addressing this and does it have a responsibility?

AC: It's not just with football, but with a lot of jobs in high-profile situations we can help.

We can talk to young lads and try to give them inspiration.

It's not all about violence - kids can come to things like this and enjoy being with each other even though they're all from different areas.

Ashley Cole
I wasn't the cleverest in school so I just tried extra hard on the football pitch

Ashley Cole

Do you feel you have a responsibility, knowing the impact you can have as a role model?

I think it's hard because at the end of the day it's down to the individual as to how they want to live their life.

It's about them getting together with other guys from other parts of the area that may be rival gangs or whatever, getting them here so they can enjoy each other's company.

One of the things Your Game is looking to do is engage communities who may not traditionally have been part of the football family.

When you were growing up in Bow you played with a lot of young Asian players - do you think there is a lot of untapped talent out there?

It's always hard to get spotted but you come to things like this, getting people together, it can give a lot of people confidence.

There are some very talented Asian players and if they can get a chance and not be scared of what might happen, then hopefully they can shine.

You can see the inspirational effect you are having on the kids here today - who or what was your greatest inspiration growing up?

To be honest it was my family.

There wasn't one footballer or star that made me want to get into a certain job. It was just my belief and my family that stuck by me and I just tried my hardest.

I wasn't the cleverest in school so I just tried extra hard on the football pitch.


YG: You know how important football is back in Cameroon in terms of aspirations for young people, can you see the same here?

Football can change the life of one person

G: It's a great thing, especially when professional footballers can play in front of these kids. It can enable them to become normal people, maybe even a professional footballers one day, you never know.

And even if they don't make it, what impact can it have just to meet top players like you and Ashley?

It's a big effect because most of them don't have the opportunity to meet us face-to-face, they just see us on TV.

It might change their lives, that's why we're here.

With so much money in football these days, and footballers so famous, do you think the game has a responsibility?

Yes. Many footballers didn't have good lives when they were young.

But when you see the lives they have since becoming footballers, they have become good people. I can take my example, I know where I have come from and where I am today, the difference is huge.

Football can change the life of one person.

Interviews by Mike Geddes

Positive Futures is a national social inclusion programme using sport and leisure activities to engage with disadvantaged and socially marginalised young adults.


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