On Sunday October 27, rival fans will, interestingly, unite for a common cause before their favourite clubs get down to work in search of victory.
Crystal Palace fans will be joined by their Arsenal counterparts at Selhurst Park in a long walk for mental health awareness before match’s kick-off in Emirates.
With suicide being the biggest killer of men under 45, Palace for Life Foundation proprietor Paul Price wants to make a difference for football fans: a demographic often overlooked psychologically.
“The aim of the whole thing is to encourage people to make that little jump and for some people just seeking help is massive,” he said as quoted on Palace official website.
“You don’t want to be seen as that bloke that had to go and speak to so-and-so about getting some help so the aim of it is to encourage people to talk, to encourage people to find help, to encourage people that don’t necessarily know anybody that they feel they can talk to. People can feel incredibly alone.”
“Loads of people have come that I don’t know. People are chatting to each other on the actual walk. People were so open on it as well and that’s empowering.
“Football is your initial icebreaker to any situation, if there’s a bloke in the pub or something it’s your initial icebreaker.
“For some people, taking it from that to something else is a huge jump. What we noticed was that there were loads of people walking along saying: ‘In this year, I suffered this,’ and that makes it sound like a really negative experience but it was so positive and that’s what it’s about.
“There were a lot of positives just generally and I think it was a feel-good event. Everyone came out of it and they were buzzing.”
For this event, Paul has teamed up with Samaritans, who have picked up on the walk and are supporting it by bringing volunteers along to speak with attendees before the walk begins. The Samaritans’ representatives will then join the trip and provide t-shirts.
Anyone else can join the walk, which follows a 12-mile trail, starting at 9:00 at Selhurst Park and finishing at 16:00 pm at the Emirates Stadium via several pubs for people to rest their feet and join or depart where appropriate.