The Clarets will be encouraging fans of the game to talk more freely about their feelings when life gets tough by hosting an awareness-raising day for the Samaritans at Turf Moor tomorrow when they play Reading.
Burnley players will warm up for the game against Reading in bright green Samaritans T-shirts, while screens inside the stadium’s public and corporate areas will promote the charity’s free helpline number. Hospitality guests in the 1882 Lounge will bid for a specially signed team shirt and fans will be asked to donate to a collection in the ground.
The event is the idea of Samaritans volunteer Ian Hartley, Director of Samaritans’ Pendle, Burnley, Craven and Rossendale branch, which is based at Nelson.
He said: “There’s nothing like the atmosphere at Turf Moor when it comes to friendship and togetherness. But what about those times when the odds are against you and no one else is around? Perhaps your other half’s shown you the red card, or the boss has given you the hairdryer treatment.
“We want fans to know the Samaritans are on their side. Win, lose or draw, if something’s bothering you, we’re here to listen, in confidence, round the clock, every single day of the year. “
Burnley man Wilson, 29, called Samaritans when he was struggling after the death of a friend.
We are delighted and proud to support the Samaritans, who are there for everyone at any timeBurnley FC chief exec David Baldwin
He said: “I wasn’t in a particularly deep, dark place, but I just kept thinking about my friend and felt I could really do with someone to talk to. My wife had gone to bed and it was about two or three o’clock in the morning. I rang the Samaritans just to talk about my friend and to say that I was missing him – it had come so suddenly, I felt it was a bit unfair and I was angry.
“I didn’t know this person, I’m never going to meet this person there on the end of a phone, but the fact that I could tell them as much or as little as I wanted. And there was no judgement, they were just there to listen. I was absolutely blown away with the effects that just talking to somebody can have, and it made me feel a million times better.”
Burnley FC chief executive David Baldwin said the club was proud to be promoting the Samaritans’ message – that it is a strength not a weakness to talk. He commented: “The support our fans give our team is second to none. But everyone goes through times when they could do with some support themselves. We are delighted and proud to support the Samaritans, who are there for everyone at any time. “