Roberto Martinez met representatives from the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy on Tuesday ahead of Everton’s dedicated Remembrance fixture at Goodison Park.
The visit of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday is the Blues’ final home game ahead of Remembrance Sunday and to mark the occasion the Club will demonstrate its continued support and appreciation for those serving in the Armed Forces.
Ahead of Sunday’s kick-off, RAF Officer Cadet Oliver Rankin, Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer Margaret Hill and British Army Sergeant Stephen Clarke will lay poppy wreaths in the centre circle and lead a minute’s silence with the Goodison faithful.
The group, along with Royal British Legion Military Veteran Lieutenant Jim O’Neill, are all lifelong Evertonians and were delighted to pay a visit to Finch Farm to meet Blues boss Martinez and goalscoring legend Graeme Sharp, who took them on their very own guided tour of the facilities.
Martinez said: “We’re all very keen to pay respect to the work of the Armed Forces and the tribute at Goodison on Sunday will be a great moment for everyone to spare a thought on their efforts and the work that they do many, many miles away from home."
During the tribute, the representatives of the Armed Forces will be joined by Standard Bearers from the Royal British Legion and former servicemen who are currently taking part in Everton in the Community’s groundbreaking health and wellbeing project Inside Right.
The programme is designed to support veterans who are at risk of becoming isolated once they have returned to civilian life, and is backed by leading military charities including the Royal British Legion, Ministry of Defence, the RAF Benevolent Fund, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and Combat Stress, as well as the Football Foundation and Comic Relief.
The programme not only promotes physical activity but also the chance to gain football coaching qualifications and other training courses.
Inside Right, which picked up the Health Improvement and Promotion award at this summer’s Military and Civilian Partnership Awards, also aims to harness the feel-good factor of playing football by creating opportunities to volunteer and compete in leagues and competitions.
A significant number of Armed Forces personnel will also be supporting Martinez’s men as they take on Tottenham after the Club donated tickets via the Tickets for Troops initiative. The allocation has been snapped up by keen military personnel following an online ballot.
Tickets for Troops helps to provide free tickets for big events and Everton have pledged tickets to the scheme for the last four years. An allocation of tickets have also been donated for three other home games this season, including the recent victory over Newcastle United and forthcoming fixtures against Norwich City and West Ham United.
Meanwhile, Toffees-supporting servicemen and servicewomen have been invited to send in photos of themselves proudly displaying their royal blue colours while serving overseas.
The photos will be shown on the big screens and around the concourses of Goodison Park on Sunday, as well as in galleries on evertonfc.com, Facebook and Instagram.
Photos can be shared on social media using #EFCTHFC or sent by email to email@example.com.
Tickets for Sunday's game are still available. To buy, click here or call 0871 663 1878.
Alternatively, visit the Park End box office at Goodison Park, Everton Two in Liverpool One or TicketQuarter in Queen Square.