EXCITED youngsters came face-to-face with Stoke City’s Erik Pieters after the star visited their school to meet the next generation of fans.
Original story from the Sentinel – read more: http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Silverdale-pupils-come-face-face-Stoke-City-star/story-26090725-detail/story.html#ixzz3XCb0T8SS
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And the 26-year-old admitted heading out into the community was a great way of repaying the support the red and white side of the city give to the Potters.
Full-back Erik, who signed for Stoke from PSV Eindhoven in 2013, visited Silverdale Primary Academy for a presentation to young Potters.
Developer Barratt Homes – who were behind the 300-property scheme at the nearby Heritage Park – paid for 23 year two pupils to join up for the club’s City 7s initiative.
The programme sees youngsters given a Stoke home shirt and two tickets for a game at the Britannia Stadium.
Holland international Erik was delighted to be on hand to welcome new supporters.
He said: “It’s wonderful to be here. Every weekend you get the full backing of our supporters, if it’s at the Britannia Stadium or away from home.
“You get 100 per cent from them and a little thing we can do in return is really good.”
Barratt Homes’ managing director Neil Goodwin, who is also a Stoke City fan, said it was important the business didn’t roll out a development and leave the area.
He added: “We, as a business, believe we have a responsibility to connect with the local infrastructure and not just turn up, build houses and disappear.
“We’ve developed relationships with this school and NewCollege and for us, it’s important people are comfortable with residents coming into the sites and the way in which we develop the sites.
“We’re at these sites for a long time, so we want to get along as well as we can with the community.
“As a local man from Stoke-on-Trent and a Stoke City season ticket holder, it’s an open door when I’m asked to do something of this nature.”
Thrilled pupils gathered in the school hall for a presentation, where Pieters handed out goodies to the City 7s recipients.
Children whose seventh birthday is between September 1, 2014 and August 31, this year, are invited to join the City 7s scheme as the Potters look to attract more young fans.
Headteacher of Silverdale Primary Academy, Lindi Nejrup, who hosted the presentation, said Pieters’ visit left students ‘buzzing’.
She added: “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the children to be presented with tickets and taken to a match.
“The children were so excited about meeting a Stoke City player and we’re really grateful the club came in for the presentation.
“The whole school was buzzing about it, so much so that we asked the club if the whole school could be involved and watch the presentation.”
Businesses interested in sponsoring a school for City 7s should call Claire Blundred on 01782 592252.