North Middlesex University Hospital (North Mid) and Whittington Hospital were invited by Tottenham Hotspur and its Global Principal Partner, AIA to participate in a friendly match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The end of the 70 minute game saw North Mid triumph with a 4-3 win.
The donation of the pitch was the Club and AIA’s way of thanking local NHS heroes that have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.
Mixed teams representing North Middlesex University Hospital and Whittington Hospital took to the pitch wearing Tottenham Hotspur shirts for a thrilling match. More than 50 people at North Mid put themselves forward to be part of the North Mid team of which 22 were put forward to win.
The teams were managed by Club legends Gary Mabbutt and Ossie Ardiles, and players received warm-up drills led by members of the Club’s Global Football Development Coaches that work across a Player Development Programme delivered in partnership with AIA in Asia.
North Middlesex took the honours in a seven-goal thriller. Neil Suttie put the ‘home’ team 1-0 up after eight minutes but Whittington responded well to level through Callum French and were then denied from the penalty spot by Kevin Graham.
North Middlesex surged into a 4-1 lead by the early stages of the second half with goals from Tarum Dawkins, Andrew Nunn and Serhan Ertol, but momentum swung back to Whittington as Eamon Keane and Tyrese Reynolds pulled goals back for 4-3 with 25 minutes left. Both teams had chances, but North Middlesex held on for a 4-3 victory.
Sonny Driver, Team Captain for North Middlesex University Hospital, said: “The past year has no doubt been a challenge but having the opportunity to step away and play on an iconic pitch which is home to football legends was an incredible experience – one that we will never forget.
"From hearing our names being announced as we walked onto the pitch, warm-up drills led by the Club’s Global Coaching team as well as Gary Mabbutt as our team manager - encouraging and supporting us throughout the game – it’s safe to say the day could not have been any better. Thank you Spurs for hosting a fantastic day.”
Kevin Curnow, Team Captain for Team Whittington, said: “It was a great game and whilst the result didn’t go our way, I am so proud of all my players. On behalf of everyone on #TeamWhittington I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone at Tottenham Hotspur and AIA who made it possible for us to take part. Congratulations to the North Mid team on their win.”
Gary Mabbutt, Team coach for North Middlesex Hospital, said: “I was delighted to have been part of this special occasion to thank our local NHS heroes who have gone beyond the call of duty during the pandemic to look after our community. There was a great atmosphere between the two teams and there was some brilliant individual and team performances.”
Ossie Ardiles, Team coach of Whittington Hospital, said: “Today was a fantastic event and it was lovely to be able to celebrate what the NHS staff have done for us all. Congratulations to both teams on an excellent game – you are all winners.”
Both hospitals have received support from the Club and its partners during the pandemic, with North Mid hosting vital services at the stadium throughout.
In April last year, the hospital moved its Women’s Outpatient Services to the stadium to support the redirection of pregnant women away from the hospital during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Over 41,500 appointments were delivered at the stadium up until the end of July that year, with drive-through COVID-19 testing taking place in the stadium’s basement car park for hospital staff and their families until February, 2021.
The Club also donated £100,000 of ring-fenced player fine monies to support the hospital’s ‘Thank You’ initiative for staff, as well as hosting its Virtual Staff Awards at the stadium in March.
Throughout the pandemic, heroic staff at both hospitals have received gifts and products from Club partners and suppliers including Cadbury, Monster Energy, Smartfish and HP to support their work and keep spirits high.