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Gem

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John Terry Single Handily Saves Senrab

England and Chelsea captain John Terry's cash donation saves childhood club Senrab

John Terry has stepped in to save Senrab, the boys' football club where he began his playing career.

Moved by Sportsmail's exclusive story highlighting the club's desperate financial position, the England captain has donated a significant - but undisclosed - amount of money to keep it going for the foreseeable future.

Terry is also in negotiations with suppliers to cut the cost of kits for nearly 300 youngsters who play for the club.

The Chelsea captain told Sportsmail: 'When the seriousness of the situation was brought to my attention through reading the Daily Mail, I immediately wanted to help. 'Having made contact with Tony Carroll (Senrab club secretary) I've made a donation that I've been told should keep the club in a healthy position for the next few years.'

Senrab, which is based in east London and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has produced a string of England internationals including Tottenham's Ledley King and Fulham's Bobby Zamora.

Terry said: 'If some of the ex-players could also follow suit I'm sure this would help secure the long-term future of the club.'

Carroll, who has been involved with the club for 20 years, was thrilled by Terry's donation. He said: 'Thanks to John, the weight of the world's been lifted of our shoulders. We can look forward to next season knowing we don't have to beg and borrow to survive any more.

'I want to say thanks to the Daily Mail for highlighting the problem and helping us on our way.'

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John Terry Saves Senrab

John Terry saves Senrab: Seeing the faces of the children will be brilliant, says club secretary

Sharon Carroll has held Senrab football club together for years. The club's treasurer has scrimped and saved - finding money to pay one bill while waiting for the next to arrive - in an attempt to keep the fabric of the famous boys' club intact.

The pressure on Sharon and her husband, club secretary Tony Carroll, has been ratcheted up by cuts in council grants and the rise in the price of hiring training pitches. So, when news came yesterday that Chelsea captain John Terry, one of the club's famous boys, had come to the rescue, Sharon gave in to emotion.

'When I spoke to Sharon she just burst into tears,' Tony, 55, said. 'She's been worried about it like I have. The club is dear to her heart.

'People don't see her but she deserves a lot of praise. I couldn't do what she does. I'm the bricks and she's the mortar.

'We've put so much work in over the years. That's just why we can't walk away from it. The news is like a shot in the arm.'

For a youth team which has produced so many stars in its 50-year history, Senrab's future had seemed dark indeed. Its roll call of graduates reads like a Fantasy Football team sheet - nine England internationals, Turkey and Nigeria national players, a former Premier League manager - but the cost of maintaining such standards is a high one. It was always difficult given the impoverished area of east London the club calls home but recent circumstances had put Senrab on the brink of going bust. Teams played in pick 'n' mix kits, could not afford to train - other than for free in various London parks - and presentation evenings often left the Carrolls lighter in the wallet.

The importance of the England captain's generous gift cannot be understated. The money will be used wisely and where necessary. In places it affords Senrab to buy things they could not before have contemplated. 'It's going to make so much difference,' Tony said. 'There are teams without kit - so we'll furnish them with kits. Some of the balls are really worn out and dirty so they will be replaced. 'Seeing all the faces on the children will be brilliant. They'll all come running over, especially the little 'uns. It's the kit that they live for - it makes it special. You see them wearing it to school.

'We can send coaches on courses, we've got some really enthusiastic young ones and they must get their badges, and we can start training twice a week. We've got to send off CRB checks and we're applying to be Charter Standard - that all costs money. I would have paid for that myself. 'What it gives us now is a foundation but it gives us so much scope. If you spend wisely it can help you make money.' If it arrives in time, Terry's cash injection will also help three of Senrab's teams play their final games of the season at Hackney Marshes. Postponements over the winter meant the matches couldn't be played at the usual location, Wanstead Flats, and the pitches there will be re-laid before the end of Senrab's season, forcing them to look elsewhere. It costs £70 in pitch hire and referees to stage each match.

To help further, Terry's long-term boot sponsors Umbro have agreed to donate a squad's worth of equipment to Senrab. Tony has been involved with the game since he was 10, when he regularly played matches against a young Ray Wilkins, who turned out for Senrab. His knowledge of the game has helped keep alive Senrab's glittering tradition for turning out professionals. Sanchez Watt, the Arsenal youngster on loan at Leeds United, is the latest Senrab graduate to make a name for himself. He will attend the club's presentation evening in May, along with Cardiff's Darren Purse. The link from grassroots amateurs to professionals is still strong. Tony was the manager of the Under 13s A side until the team was disbanded earlier this season because professional clubs took the boys into their academies. Five left for Dagenham and Redbridge, one went to Fulham, one to Crystal Palace and one to Southend.

Darrell Queva, 37, whose son 13-year-old DeNeiro was signed by Crystal Palace on a two-year contract, had nothing but praise for Senrab and Tony.

'I couldn't have made a better choice than putting him through the Senrab experience. It gave him so much. Tony's been there every step of the way and I've got nothing but respect for him,' said Queva. 'He was very much like a father figure to a lot of the boys - they come from the East End and some don't have much of a home life. He puts his arm around their shoulders gives them the confidence to enjoy their football. 'He brings in coaches who teach the right technique and that's very important. For a boy at the age of 13 to get into an academy is a rarity.' The future now looks brighter for Senrab, and the conveyor belt of professional footballers that has emerged from east London is set to continue.

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So, basically John Terry has single handily saved his roots in football. What a top, top, TOP guy. Yes yes he has the money - but a lot of them do. I don't believe he's trying to get positive press (unlike Rooney with his on camera kiss to the sick child) - that's not his style. Really proud he's our captain, he's done something that will hopefully help the next generation of youngsters.

PS- The banner may be too small to add that at the end...

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Now, this is doing his bit for grassroots level football! I had nothing to do with it, but still I feel a tinge of pride :)

Oh and Gem: don't put disgusting images of Rooney kissing sick kids in my head :angry: I can only tolerate such a thing if Rooney catches something incurable and hopefully deadly from that child.

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Good on him, there are a lot of top pro's that came from Senrab but as far as I'm aware JT is the only one that thought to bail them out.

I used to play in the same league as Senrab and for my age they weren't a very nice bunch and could never get near Lampards Heath Park (I think that's who he played for) at the top of the league.

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I wonder if, while perusing the Daily Mail, he came across the article where they tried to link him to a young man's suicide through his brother, who had been proven to have nothing to do with it...

Either way, nice one JT. We all know you're the sh*t.

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