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Last Updated: Monday, 28 May 2007, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
It's all about Unity at Your Game
Graham Lupepe
Graham Lupepe
Rookie Reporter, BBC News and Sport On Tour

Mr Silky Skillz in action in Nottingham
Mr Silky Skillz does his best seal impression

How do you do grab the attention of today's youth? Start with the two things they love most; football and music.

Throw in a few football celebrities and DJs and you're on to a sure-fire recipe for success, which is exactly what Nottingham's Your Game street football event was.

I won a BBC News and Sport On Tour competition to report on the unique tournament - but at times I wished I was taking part in the action on the pitch myself.

The soundtrack of today's inner-city streets could be heard long before you actually arrived at Southglade Leisure Centre in Bestwood.

While 1Xtra DJ L-Double got busy on the decks, Morris Samuels, the coach of Positive Futures Unity, was busy barking orders to his three teams from the touchline.

When I arrived, he temporarily forgot his motivational duties and began to dance in front of the camera - much to the delight of his players and officials watching.

There are easier jobs in Nottingham but Samuels seems to take the task of coaching his players, some from very underprivileged backgrounds, completely in his stride.

The Unity project uses football to bring together young people from different areas of Nottingham including Radford, St Ann's and the Meadows.

There is mutual respect between Samuels and his players which brings out the best in both of them.

His spirit encapsulates the atmosphere at Your Game 2007. While it is a competition at heart, the emphasis is firmly on fun, fair play and bringing communities together.

David Johnson is interviewed
Former Forest favourite David Johnson handed out the winner's trophy

For example Fake Madrid had been knocked out of the morning's qualifying stages , but their star player 'Bonehead' remained upbeat despite defeat.

Although they are not going to the finals they have a DVD of their commentary skills over some of England's most successful matches as a souvenir of their day.

What would they be doing if they weren't here? "Probably sleeping," was the reply from the Lincoln-based team.

Back on the main stage, some serious showboating was taking place from football trickster Mr Skilly Skillz, who invited the players to outdo each other with better tricks and more elaborate skills.

And the crowd were absolutely loving every minute.

The arrival of former Nottingham Forest striker David Johnson created an extra buzz as the former City Ground favourite went around signing footballs and chatting with the crowd.

After the entertainment came the main event - the final of Your Game Nottingham, Unity 1 v Unity 3.

Morris, as you can probably imagine, was "over the moon".

Whatever happens one of his teams will have made the finals in July. And he could barely contain his excitement.

PF Unity 1 celebrate another victory
Handshakes all round after Unity's final victory

In one of the tightest games of football you will ever see, Unity 1 clinched a 1-0 victory thanks to Aswad Allen's winner.

No matter what happened on the pitch, everyone got something out of the day.

I had an amazing time and so did pretty much everyone I spoke to.

Now there's just one thing to say - roll on the finals in July!

We want to hear about your Your Game experiences, use your own personal web pages or email yourgame@bbc.co.uk and let us know.

Your Game is a partnership between the BBC and the Football Foundation, with support from Barclays Spaces for Sports.



SEE ALSO
PF Unity dominate in Nottingham
28 May 07 |  Your Game


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