Memorial match for Neale

A FOOTBALL match has been staged in memory of “Longwell Green legend” Neale Saunders.

Neale, who was 60, died suddenly and unexpectedly last November. The Neale Saunders Memorial Cup has been established as a tribute to him, and the first match in what it is hoped will be an annual competition, took place on June 15.

Neale’s 11 was made up of his daughter Caitlin (captain), his sons Brad and Mitch, members of their team Seymour United, and a number of guests including Bristol City legends. Neale was a lifelong Bristol City supporter and season ticket holder at Ashton Gate. 

They played against a team from Longwell Green Sports FC Seniors, who won the game 4-2.

Neale was a trustee and deputy chairman of Longwell Green Community Centre and chairman of Longwell Green Sports Junior FC. 

Neale was one of a team of volunteers involved with Longwell Green Sports JFC who built the junior football club to be one of the largest in the South West, providing opportunities for young people to play and enjoy football. Neale gained the respect of other clubs, Gloucestershire and Somerset County FA, the Football Association and many parents as the team won awards for all their hard work. 

A community centre spokesman said: “Some 10 years ago, Neale took on the role and responsibility of trustee and deputy chairman of the centre with great enthusiasm, professionalism and commitment. He played a key role in organising and developing the Centre. His strong business acumen, experience, professionalism, and integrity shone through, and it was recogonised by everyone he met. 

“Neale played a significant role in the development of ‘Longwell Green Community Sports’ new 3G Football Facility; that would not have been achieved if it were not for Neale’s hard work, diligence, and commitment. 

“The main stand within the 3G Facility has been named The Neale Saunders Stand.  Neale was one of the truly good guys and is greatly missed.”

All money raised from donations, raffles and BBQ are to be shared between the British Heart Foundation and Longwell Green Community Centre.