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Haringey Borough set to kick off the World Cup

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 May 2018

Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou looks on from the touchline against Leyton Orient (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou looks on from the touchline against Leyton Orient (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

We’re no strangers to hosting international football here in Haringey – but next week the borough welcomes a competition with a difference, the World Football Cup.

Coles Park Stadium in Tottenham – home to Haringey Borough FC – is hosting the CONIFA competition, made up of non-FIFA teams from all over the world.

Five games will be played there from May 31 to June 3. A

nd the man tasked with getting the stadium and 3G pitch ready is Borough men’s manager Tom Loizou.

“I’m the Borough manager but I’m also the groundsman.

“So I’ll be brushing the pitch, checking the floodlights, cleaning the stands – even making sure we’ve got the burgers in.”

Tom has been Borough manager for nine years, and has helped them soar up the leagues.

They’ve just been promoted again, and next season they’ll play in the Bostik Premier. But that doesn’t stop him pitching in.

“I brush the pitch twice a week, I do the weeding around the club grounds.

“After every game I sweep the terraces. I have to unblock the toilets, I put up the nets, I do all the maintenance and painting.”

Tom, who has years of coaching and managing experience and did a stint as Leyton Orient’s caretaker-manager, works tirelessly on the stadium all year round.

The dugouts were welded together by a local mechanic and one of the stands used to be a driving range.

He says: “I had to hand-dig the fences around the edge of the ground.

“I started in April last year and finished in August.

“There were too many pipes and wires to use machinery.

“It had to be done for the start of last season and I managed to get it done the day before kick-off.”

But he says the 110m x 70m artificial 3G pitch is a blessing.

“When it was grass I had to cut it, seed it, get new soil. Now the pitch is made of shredded lorry tyres – black rubber. So you get a nice bounce.

“It’s much better to manage, but I have put on two stone since I stopped having to cut the grass.”

Tom is the only full-time member of staff at the club, but has a strong team of volunteers around him – including his son and daughter.

“It’s like a big family here,” says Tom. “We’re trying to create a nice atmosphere so that everyone feels welcome.

The fans have been unbelievable – they push us on and you end up working for them. When we went up the chairman, Aki Achillea, was acting just like a fan.

The players had huge smiles and brought their kids on the pitch, players were mingling with the fans – that’s what I want for the club.

“My personal mission is for everyone to know Haringey Borough. Three years ago no one wanted to play on our pitch or come through the gates.

“Aki put his money where his mouth is and now we’re here. I’m a Gunner and he’s a Spurs fan, so we’re also proof that the two can live in harmony…

“The World Football Cup will be the first time the teams and players have come to Haringey Borough and this will put us on the map – I’ll also be keeping my eye out for some new players.”

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